With two minutes left in the game, trailing the Carolina Hurricanes, 3-2, and Marc Staal out for much of the third with a knee injury, it looked as if the New York Rangers would be ready to officially hit the panic button on their season. Then, Wojtek Wolski came to the rescue with a timely goal that deflected off of a Carolina defender after some nifty skating and patience. After a scoreless overtime, Wolski was then the only shooter to find twine in the shootout, as he netted a top-corner wrist shot, to give the Rangers a relieving 4-3 victory. Marty Biron deserves the assist as he was seen discussing strategy with Wolski prior to the shootout beginning.
While the 'Canes still earned a point, the most important thing for the Rangers is that they earned two, to put them three points ahead of eighth-place Carolina, which has one game in hand.
The Rangers got on the board early, one of the very few times they've done that lately , on a goal off of a wraparound attempt by Sean Avery that slid through the crease and was tapped in by Brandon Prust at 2:08. Fourteen minutes later, Carolina's Jay Harrison would pick Matt Gilroy's pocket just outside the defensive zone, and convert the turnover for a goal -- and the high-flying first period would come to an end with the game tied and the Rangers leading in shots, 18-12.
After neither team could score for most of the second period, Ryan Callahan redirected a Mats Zuccarello point pass on the power play to put the Rangers up, 2-1, with only 14 seconds left in the period.
However, two goals from Jussi Jokinen early in the third period turned a solid Rangers effort sour real fast and they pushed the envelope offensively from then on, as they sought the equalizer, which they were only able to get with 1:50 left on Wolski's goal.
Both goalies were terrific, as Henrik Lundqvist made 30 saves -- but Cam Ward was just a touch better, making 43 stops in the game and frustrating the Rangers offense for most of the night.
Staal suffered a twisted knee in the first period, yet stayed in for most of the game and didn't play much in the third. It's unclear what his status is for Friday's game against the Capitals.
Wolski, the Rangers No. 1 star of the night, played his best game as a Ranger. His was flying on the ice, he was active on offense (four shots) and he showed the promise that so many had spoken of from his Colorado days. The Blueshirts need consistent showings like this from him because he has the potential to be a difference maker.