As long as there is time on the clock, you always have a chance. Even when it’s less than a second.
Adam Fox scored 1:16 into overtime to cap off an incredible comeback as the Rangers stunned the Dallas Stars with a 2-1 win.
Fox put a backhander past Stars goalie Jake Oettinger for his ninth goal and the Rangers most thrilling win of the season, but the former Norris Trophy winner would never have had the chance to score the game winner, were it not for fellow defenseman K’Andre Miller, who needed nearly every second of regulation to score the tying goal.
“K’Andre’s been good for us all year,” Coach Gerard Gallant said after a most satisfying victory. Great young player, you know he makes a good move, shot gets blocked, he follows the play up and scores real late. Huge for him, huge for our team.”
Oettinger and the Stars could not have played a better road game for the first 59 minutes, 59.8 seconds, but Miller’s goal with 0.2 seconds left in regulation tied the game before Fox ended it in the extra five minute session. “We always talk about playing a full 60 and it took every bit of that 60, so we’ll take the two points and obviously a big one for us,” Fox said.
With Igor Shesterkin on the bench for the extra skater, the Rangers kept the puck in the Stars’ zone for nearly all of the final 2:25 and it paid off.
As the clock was winding down and the Garden was roaring, Artemi Panarin fired a shot from the left face off circle and there was a scramble in front. “It’s awesome when the Garden gets on their feet and gets that loud,” Miller said. “I knew the time was winding down within the last minute there.”
The puck was loose and it came to Miller who fired the initial shot and then got his own rebound and put it through the legs of Oettinger for his 5th of the season. “I was coming down Main Street and just tried to get a puck on net,” Miller said.
Miller extended his point scoring streak to five games (3 goals, 4 assists in last five) as the Rangers’ defense corps continues to make a strong contribution offensively. After a slow start to his season, Miller has picked up his game and the Rangers have benefitted. “I know I can produce and shut down at the same time so it’s just a matter of believing that and bringing that same attitude every game,” Miller said.
Tyler Seguin had given the Stars a 1-0 lead with a power play goal with 2:07 remaining in the second period. With Ryan Lindgren in the box for roughing, Dallas took advantage as Seguin blasted a loose puck past Igor Shesterkin.
The Rangers were fortunate to get one past Oettinger because he was fabulous in making 29 saves, but Shesterkin was equal to the task stopping 24 of 25 shots, including some huge saves in the third period.
In overtime, Gallant went with a trio of Mika Zibanejad, Panarin and Fox. Panarin took the puck and fired it on net. The loose puck was picked up by Zibanejad but it was sticked away by Oettinger. Panarin passed the puck to Fox who skated in deep. Fox got Stars defenseman Miro Heiskanen, who was without a stick, to go down and he was able to move to the slot and lift it over Oettinger.
The marvelous Ranger defenseman always seems to make just the right play.
“I looked up, I know ‘Ottie’s’ a pretty big goalie, didn’t see much there so just took it to the backhand and tried to put it on the far side,” Fox said.
The Rangers have made a habit of coming from behind lately, but they never cut it this close before.
“We’re never gonna quit, it’s a one goal game. You battle hard, you know you’re gonna get a couple of looks late in it,” Gallant said. “Fortunately for us, we got lucky at the blue line a couple of times. I can’t remember who kept the puck in, but it should’ve been out and we kept it in and it led up to K’Andre’s goal.”
Over their last 17 games, the Rangers are 13-2-2. The win left them tied with the Devils for second place in the Metropolitan Division with 55 points, although New Jersey has two games in hand, and they’re four points behind first place Carolina.
The Rangers were able to secure the extra point in the past two games and Fox knows they’ll need all they can get in a bunched up and competitive division. “The difference could be a point or two here or there, so to get the extra points in these last two games have been pretty big,” he said.