Menu

HOCKEY

Stepan nets OT winner to lift New York over Columbus

Derek Stepan scored just 22 seconds into 2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets at Madison Square Garden.

Starting the rush from behind their own net, Michael Del Zotto started up the ice and dished to Marion Gaborik on the left wing. Gaborik gained the zone and fired it back to Del Zotto, who quickly fed a pass to a wide-open Stepan and he one-timed it into an empty net for the winner.

Brad Richards and Artem Anisimov scored in regulation, Del Zotto added two assists and Henrik Lundqvist made 21 saves for the Rangers, who have won five of their last six and increased their lead in the Atlantic Division to nine points over the New Jersey Devils.

"I thought we got underneath the hash marks and forechecked, kept the puck and developed some scoring chances," Rangers head coach John Tortorella said. "We played better territorially than we have the past couple of games and hopefully we can build off of it."

Derick Brassard and Rick Nash lit the lamp, while Steve Mason gave up three goals on 35 shots for the Blue Jackets, who have lost two straight and three of four.

New York opened the scoring at 17:49 of the first period when Richards led a 3-on-2 rush up the ice and dished to Carl Hagelin on the left wing. Hagelin took a couple strides and dropped it back to Richards, who fired a quick wrister past Mason.

The Blue Jackets answered with a power-play tally 5:26 into the second frame when Antoine Vermette won an offensive zone draw to the left of Lundqvist back to Brassard, who fired a slap shot from the point through traffic and past the Swedish netminder.

The Rangers responded and retook the lead at 13:13 of the second period when Dan Girardi fired a slap shot from the right point that sailed over the net, clanged off the glass and landed next to the net. Anisimov was there to pop it past a startled Mason.

Trailing 2-1 late, the Jackets pulled Mason for the extra attacker with just over a minute left and the move paid off. R.J. Umberger won a key offensive zone faceoff to Jeff Carter, who sent it over to Nash, and the big forward let a wicked wrist shot go from the right circle that just snuck under the right arm of Lundqvist.

"I really like the way we battled," Blue Jackets head coach Todd Richards said. "We fought and clawed for everything and got the game to overtime, but I think at times we make things to difficult on ourselves by turning the puck over."

Game Notes

The Rangers improved to 28-1-2 when scoring first this season...New York failed to convert on two power-play chances, while the Blue Jackets went 1- for-4 with the man advantage...New York is 2-2-0 against the Central Division, while Columbus is 0-1-2 against the Atlantic Division...The Blue Jackets will host the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday, while the Rangers will visit the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday...Tortorella now has 132 wins in his Rangers coaching career, good for sixth place on the team's all-time wins list.