The Rangers and their coaches were not pleased after the second period Sunday night, when the Blueshirts were tied 2-2 with the Coyotes after an emotional win in Washington and a quick turnaround.
“We kind of felt like we would be wasting one there after that great effort Saturday, to go into that building and win a game and to let this one get away from us,’’ J.T. Miller said after the Rangers’ 3-2 victory. “We understood that we had to take a little better care of the puck [in the third]. We got a big shot from ‘G’ [Dan Girardi] and we did a good job protecting the lead after that.”
“It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t about style, but we found a way to win,” coach Alain Vig neault said. “We played our best period in the third when the game was on the line.”
With Chris Kreider sidelined by neck spasms and Pavel Buchnevich not recovered from back spasms, center Oscar Lindberg, 24, who has been out since hip surgery in May, was pressed into service.
“Chris came in at noon and [the spasms] weren’t getting better,” Vigneault said, leaving the Rangers with 11 forwards. So Lindberg started between Brandon Pirri and Josh Jooris on the fourth line. He played only 10:37 but won seven of nine faceoffs, the best mark on the team, after not practicing at center for the past 2 1⁄2 weeks.
The team had estimated that Lindberg, 24, who had 13 goals and 28 points in 68 games last season, would return in November and was “on schedule.”
Adam Clendening, who had played in all five games, sat for Girardi’s return.
“Adam had a good game [in Washington],” Vigneault said, “but there were a couple touches with the puck that weren’t as efficient as he had been.”