Rangers display resiliency in comeback win over Wild

Two game-tying goals, a three-on-three overtime and a shootout later, the Rangers made their rally count.

Kaapo Kakko and Artemi Panarin each scored in the shootout to secure two points and a 4-3 win over the Wild on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden, where the Rangers erased a two-goal deficit in the first and a one-goal margin early in the third to reignite their resilient DNA.

The goals didn’t come easily for the Blueshirts, which seems to be a trend this season, but their team effort allowed them to prevail.

“Sometimes you have to work for the luck,” said Filip Chytil, who tied the game at three-all with just under 6 ½ minutes left in regulation. “Maybe it’s not luck, it’s just working. Sometimes it’s coming easier, sometimes you have to work a little harder, but today we play good consistently the whole game and I think we deserved the two points.”

There was no disputing that the Rangers earned every bit of this victory, which kicked off the second half of the season on a high note. After the Rangers scored twice in a dominant second period, Igor Shesterkin gave up a soft go-ahead goal to former Blueshirt Mats Zuccarello early in the third that the Rangers star goalie surely wants back. Every time the Rangers needed an equalizer, however, they were able to deliver.

New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox #23 celebrates with New York Rangers left wing Artemi Panarin
Rangers defenseman Adam Fox celebrates Artemi Panarin.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post
New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider #20 tries to jump out of the way of the puck as Minnesota Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury #29 defends the net
Rangers left wing Chris Kreider tries to jump out of the way of the puck as Minnesota Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury defends the net.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Adam Fox, who knotted the game at two-all in the second, made a slick move around Wild goalie Marc-Andre Fleury before slipping the puck into the crease, where Chytil swooped in and poked it home to make it a 3-3 game at 13:35 of the third period.

Shesterkin is usually the player giving the Rangers a chance to win, but the goalie’s rare off-night made it more of a difficult task Tuesday. Two of the three goals the Rangers relinquished to the Wild, who had a fully healthy lineup for the first time this season, Shesterkin stops nine times out of 10 most nights this season, and probably 10 times out of 10 last season.

But the 26-year-old netminder was solid in the shootout, stopping Kirill Kaprizov and Frederick Gaudreau.

The Rangers, whose lines were jumbled after losing Julien Gauthier and Chris Kreider to upper-body injuries in the first and third periods, respectively, only had to maintain their level of play from the first period to dig themselves out of a 2-0 hole — and that’s exactly what they did. In addition to outshooting the Wild 20-10 in the middle frame, the Blueshirts patiently stood by as the visitors committed an abundance of turnovers that often turned into odd-man rushes.

New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin #31 makes a save on a shot by Minnesota Wild right wing Mats Zuccarello.
Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin makes a save on a shot by Wild right wing Mats Zuccarello.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

K’Andre Miller may have already scored the Rangers’ best goal of the year in Philadelphia on Dec. 17, when the 22-year-old defenseman converted on a breakaway on which he went from his knees to skates all while maintaining possession of the puck. The one he scored Tuesday night is probably a close No. 2.

After Jimmy Vesey knocked the puck away from Matt Boldy just below the blue line, Miller bodied the Wild winger out of the way and then had to fend off fellow defenseman Jon Merrill’s stick before he buried the puck stick side on Fleury.

The goal represented Miller’s career-high 21st point and cut the Wild’s lead in half less than three minutes into the second period.

“Jimmy made a great play getting a stick on that puck,” Miller said. “I was luckily just following my forward and got a lucky bounce and off to the races.”

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