New York Rangers center Barclay Goodrow (21) celebrates with New...

New York Rangers center Barclay Goodrow (21) celebrates with New York Rangers left wing Alexis Lafrenière (13) after scoring the game-winning goal against the Florida Panthers in overtime of Game 2 during the Eastern Conference finals of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs, Friday, May 24, 2024, in New York. Credit: AP/Julia Nikhinson

The Rangers have bigger names with bigger games, but inside the organization, no one looks at Barclay Goodrow as anything but an essential ingredient.

Often that goes unnoticed by outsiders, who look at data such as this: He played in 80 regular-season games and scored four goals, only one a game-winner.

Then he does stuff like he has in these playoffs, and it reminds us to ask around the dressing room about him and open the faucet of gushing from teammates.

So it went on Friday night, when in his 12th playoff game this season, he scored his fourth goal, matching his regular-season total. It was his second game-winner.

This one was a doozy. He ripped a shot from the slot past Sergei Bobrovsky 14:01 into overtime to secure a 2-1 victory in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference final.

It inspired a cacophonous celebration at Madison Square Garden and evened the series at 1-1 as it moves to Sunshine, Florida, for Game 3 on Sunday.

And it allowed players and coach Peter Laviolette to tell inquiring journalists just how much the veteran jack-of-all-trades means to the operation.

When a reporter referenced Goodrow’s “up-and-down season,” Igor Shesterkin would have none of it.

“Maybe for you he up and down,” the goalie said. “For me, he always on the top.”

Goodrow, 31, is the only Ranger currently playing who has won a Stanley Cup — two with the Lightning in 2020 and ’21. (Backup goalie Jonathan Quick has three.)

That resume, combined with his style, has earned him tremendous respect among his peers.

Some samples from a very late night at the Garden:

Adam Fox: “He’s scored some big goals in his career. He’s a guy who is kind of a do-it-all, relied on so much on the ice and off the ice, what he brings to the locker room. We’re definitely happy to see that go in.”

Captain Jacob Trouba: “He’s a massive part of our team, especially behind the scenes, in the locker room, the leadership group. He’s been a winner everywhere he’s been. I think he does a lot of things that drive our team that probably go unnoticed, but it’s great to see him get some goals, especially that big a goal.”

Vincent Trocheck: “Everybody knows what he brings to the team . . . He’s a guy that you can count on defensively. You know he’s going to bring his best effort.”

Laviolette: “When you get a player that can do everything where a coach can rely on that person, that’s a pretty useful tool in the toolbox. Takes faceoffs, plays all three forward positions. You want him out there at the end of a game if you’re winning a hockey game. You match him up against top lines.

“He brings physicality, brings leadership, brings a lot of qualities inside our locker room. Great teammate . . . To see him score a goal like that is awesome, because his role doesn’t always consist of that.”

Goodrow helped set up the game-winner himself, knocking down the puck with what nearly was a high stick before getting it to Trocheck, who fed it back to him for the winner.

How did he feel after that? “Um, very happy, I guess,” he said.

Then he went into hockey-player mode by crediting Trocheck with the pass and Will Cuylle for driving toward the net to distract Bobrovsky.

What about that disparity between his regular-season goals and playoff goals?

“I don’t know,” Goodrow said. “Just kind of bring the same game every night and do whatever I can to help the team win games.”

That he does. His line on the stats sheet: two shots, five hits, four blocked shots, 10 faceoff wins out of 13 attempts.

Now the Rangers are back even after  producing a dud in Game 1, a 3-0 loss.

They had some rough patches on Friday, too, but they played with much more spirit and precision.

It was the kind of grinding, detail-oriented effort that is required in the playoffs, especially against an opponent as multi-talented as the Panthers.

Goodrow has appeared in 93 playoff games. On Sunday, he will do it again and, as he said plainly, do whatever he can to help the team win the game.


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