Chris Kreider scores the last two goals to propel the Rangers past the Kings

Chris Kreider scores the last two goals to propel the Rangers past the Kings

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The question after 40 minutes against the Kings on Tuesday night was which Rangers team would take the ice in the third?

Would it be the first-period Rangers, who played like they had cinder blocks in their skates in all three zones, or the second-period Rangers, who played a cohesive game to climb out of a two-goal hole? Ultimately, it was the last, and the Blueshirts finished with a 5-3 win to improve to 2-0-1 on this trip to the West Coast.

To say it was a game full of ups and downs would be an understatement. Not only did it seem like two different teams wearing the white Rangers road jerseys in the first and second periods, but the third period was a rollercoaster in itself. But the Rangers hung on and held strong.

The Blueshirts, working to protect a 3-2 lead early in the final 20 minutes, had the Kid Line effectively hold the offensive zone as they peppered Kings goaltender Cal Peterson with shots. They even took him out of the net completely at one point, leaving a wide-open net for Kaapo Kakko before Peterson made a save for the Finnish winger’s second goal of the night.

Chris Kreider scores the game-winning goal, the first of his two third-period tallies, to lead the Rangers to a 5-3 victory over the Kings.

What seemed like seconds later, the Kings went down the other end and Sean Walker scored.

It might have been deflated, but then Chris Kreider made the kind of rushing play that any team can pull off in a game as tumultuous as this one. Coming down the ice to meet a puck by Mika Zibanejad that bounced off the wall, Kreider connected one home to regain the lead for the Rangers. He also added an empty netter in the final minute to seal the win.

“Yeah, it was crazy,” Ryan Lindgren said of Kakko’s near-goal sequence. “I couldn’t really say how it stayed out. But obviously then we kept it in the zone a little bit longer and they come the other way and get a goal. But, you know, we just got back into our game and there we scored soon after. It says a lot about our team.”

It was a story of two periods from the first frame to the second. After going down 2-0 in one of their worst periods of the season, the Rangers flipped the script and scored three unanswered to take a one-goal lead into the final period. They played faster, skated with purpose and managed to rebound convincingly.

In the locker room between opposing periods, the consensus was that they played better in the second half of the first. The Rangers chose to focus on building on it, instead of dwelling on their early struggles.

Chris Kreider scores the last two goals to propel the Rangers past the Kings
Chris Kreider celebrates after scoring one of his two third-period goals in the Rangers’ win.

Until Tuesday night’s second period, the Rangers’ five-on-five scoring list in the previous four games did not include a member of the top six. That was a problem in itself, but one that the Rangers took a step to rectify against the Kings, as three of their top six skaters scored in the win.

The Rangers haven’t had many rebounds come their way either, but they were fortunate to get a few in this one. Defenseman Braden Schneider scored his first goal of the season, firing the puck from the top of the zone through traffic to put the Rangers on the board. Also, Vincent Trocheck fired the puck, inadvertently or not, over Peterson to tie the game at two-all in the second as well.

“I think there were opportunities,” captain Jacob Trouba said. “Trocheck’s goal was quite opportunistic. Good rebound. I think we’re going to have to get a good bounce or two and get back into games. Make us feel good. You come back and you feel better and you’re rolling. Things happen to you a little.”

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