VANCOUVER — The new guys are making a great first impression for the Rangers.
Ryan Spooner, acquired in Sunday’s Rick Nash trade with Boston, had three assists, including setting up John Gilmour’s game-winner in overtime, and Vladislav Namestnikov, acquired at Monday’s trade deadline from Tampa Bay in the Ryan McDonagh-J.T. Miller deal, had a goal and an assist in his Rangers debut as the Rangers beat the Vancouver Canucks, 6-5, in overtime to snap a seven-game losing streak.
Gilmour scored with 3:38 left in the five-minute sudden death overtime to give the Rangers a win in a game where they led, 3-0, 4-3, and 5-4.
“It was a roller coaster,’’ said Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who stopped 50 of 55 shots. “It feels good to win a game. We didn’t smile for months. I was just tired of losing. I didn’t care how we win.’’
The Rangers owned a three-goal lead and had chased starting Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom by the 12:29 mark of the first period. And the new guys were heavily involved, with Spooner assisting on each of Kevin Hayes’ two goals and Namestnikov, who arrived late Tuesday and hadn’t practiced or skated with the team before the game, assisting on a goal by Jimmy Vesey.
But the Canucks got two goals back before the period was over — the second on a power play with 48 seconds left in the period when Bo Horvat scored just seconds after new Canucks goalie Anders Nilsson foiled Hayes’ attempt at a hat trick when he poked the puck off Hayes’ stick on a clean, shorthanded breakaway. Then, Daniel Sedin tied it at 3 for Vancouver on a big slapshot from the blue line that got between Lundqvist’s pads at 11:01 and made the Ranger goalie hang his head in frustration.
The Canucks, though, have a worse record than the Rangers do. Giving the puck away and setting up clean breakaways against your goalie will lead to that sort of thing. Namestnikov stripped Henrik Sedin of the puck inside the Rangers’ zone and was off on a breakaway that ended when he slipped a shot between Nilsson’s pads to put the Rangers back up 4-3 at 14:58.
“I just wanted to come in and help right away and show my game,’’ Namestnikov said when asked if he felt the need to prove himself to his new team.
The lead wouldn’t last, though. Penalties to Mika Zibanejad and Paul Carey, which Vigneault said were “two questionable calls,’’ gave the Canucks a five-on-three advantage midway through the third period. The Rangers did kill both penalties, but just four seconds after Carey’s penalty expired, Nikolai Goldobin scored for Vancouver to tie it at 4. Zibanejad scored for the Rangers at 14:47, but Vancouver scored with the extra skater with 45.9 seconds remaining to force the overtime.
Earlier in the day, McDonagh said goodbye to New York in a Player’s Tribune article.
“My wife and I loved every second of our time in New York City. Our daughter, Falan, was born here in 2016, so the city will always be a huge part of our family’s story. Unfortunately, it’s time to say goodbye. I knew that a trade was a strong possibility, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less to leave. The feeling of standing in the locker room at MSG right before warmups, with all my gear on, and pulling my blue sweater off the hanger . . . it was an indescribable honor,’’ he said.