By Katie Strang (ESPN.com)
What it means: Derek Stepan scored the winner to give the New York Rangers a 2-1 edge in a six-round shootout over the Phoenix Coyotes at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday. With the dramatic finish, the Rangers recorded their fifth straight win and 10th victory in the past 11 games.
Penalty shot: Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith made a spectacular stick save to rob Marian Gaborik on a penalty shot awarded with less than two minutes to play in overtime. Gaborik was impeded on a breakaway by Phoenix’s Adrian Aucoin with 1:50 remaining in the overtime period.
Radim-ption: Coyotes winger Radim Vrbata ripped a quick shot from the right circle to tie the game 1-1 at 11:37 in the third. Ex-Ranger Michal Rozsival, a consistent target for MSG fans during his tenure in New York, recorded an assist on the equalizer.
Listen up: Before the game, coach John Tortorella said he wanted to see some contributions from Brian Boyle‘s line and hours later he got his wish. Ruslan Fedotenko’s swivel-shot from the high slot gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead 2:27 into play. Both Boyle, who halted a 12-game scoreless skid, and Carl Hagelin picked up assists.
Captains clash: The Coyotes’ Shane Doan had a hard hit on Rangers captain Ryan Callahaninto the boards — Callahan managed to stiff-arm him before the hit — sparking a scrum late in the third. Both Brandon Dubinsky and Daymond Langkow received roughing minors.
Don’t count Dubinsky out: Crunched into the boards by Taylor Pyatt, Brandon Dubinskyleft the ice before the end of the first period with a sore right shoulder. Dubinsky was not on the bench for the beginning of the second — he missed his first turn with linemates Brad Richardsand Ryan Callahan – but returned to the ice for his second shift.
Early throw-down: Mike Rupp and Paul Bissonnette dropped the gloves 1:57 into play in a scrap that was indicative of a feisty and physical first period between the two teams.
AHL stint looming?: Wojtek Wolski and Erik Christensen, both of whom where scratched Tuesday, may be heading to Hartford. Tortorella confirmed in his pregame news conference that the possibility of asking the two players to accept AHL conditioning stints is “being discussed.” Wolski has not played since undergoing sport hernia surgery in November. Christensen has been scratched nine straight and has appeared in only four games since Nov. 23 against Florida.