By Jonathan Raber
PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
LOS ANGELES (Ticker) — In recent weeks, defenseman Michal
Rozsival was said to have been mired in a mini-slump, struggling
He officially got back on track on Wednesday.
Rozsival scored a pair of goals – including the game-winner with
79 seconds remaining in overtime – as the New York Rangers
recorded a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings.
“There’s an individual example of resiliency and resolve and the
ability to persevere,” Rangers coach Tom Renney said of
Rozsival. “It’s not easy, everyone has tough times during a
hockey season and you’ve got to suck it up and push forward.
And Michal has done that with the help of his teammates and
Blue-liner Marc Staal picked up the puck near the right-wing
boards and pushed a pass to Rozsival, who fired a slap shot from
just above the right faceoff circle past goaltender Jason
LaBarbera for the game-winner.
“I was wide open in the slot,” Rozsival said. “Staal passed the
puck exactly where it needed to be, there was a little bit of a
screen in front of me, and I basically took a one-timer shot and
hit the top corner.”
Captain Chris Drury had a goal and an assist and Stephen
Valiquette made 39 saves for the Rangers, who captured their
third straight win in their first appearance at the Staples
Center since October 30, 2006.
Patrick O’Sullivan extended his points streak to six games with
a power-play goal and captain Dustin Brown added a tally for the
Kings, who suffered the loss despite outshooting the opposition,
“I think the effort was there,” Kings center Anze Kopitar said.
“We had a lot of shots and we had some good chances to put the
game away, but they managed to come out on top.”
Rozsival’s goal on a penalty shot with 7:37 remaining in the
second period broke a 1-1 deadlock.
The Rangers were awarded the try after Kings defenseman Sean
O’Donnell shot a broken stick across the ice, making contact
with Rozsival. New York’s blue-liner used the opportunity to
convert a backhander that gave his team a 2-1 lead.
“It happened so quick. I’m not used to (penalty shots),”
Rozsival said. “I knew I was going to go backhand, I made up my
mind at the red line. I was just happy I was able to score
there. It doesn’t happen every day, especially for defensemen.
I was nervous too. I got lucky.”
Brown deflected a rebound out of midair following shots by Kyle
Calder and O’Donnell 2:27 into the third period, knotting the
game at 2-2 on his 12th goal of the season.
“It was great to see the effort in the third period, to come
back and tie the game,” Kings coach Terry Murray said. “That’s
digging. That’s a young team doing things the right way.”
After defenseman Dmitri Kalinin was whistled for hooking,
O’Sullivan opened the scoring 44 seconds into the power play
when Kopitar sent a pass through the mouth of the goal, which
the Kings’ center converted for a backdoor finish to make it 1-0
with 5:36 left in the opening session.
Drury got the goal back 4:52 later, picking up a loose puck in
the slot and unleashing a wrist shot that hit LaBarbera’s glove
and bounced into the net.
“We kept finding a way to push the puck up the ice, getting it
in deep and kept our resolve,” Renney said.
LaBarbera made 27 saves in the losing effort.