Goodrow NYR team celebration OT goal

NEW YORK -- It's not a coincidence that the only Stanley Cup winner on the ice for the New York Rangers scored the overtime goal in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Barclay Goodrow is not new to being in big moments and scoring huge goals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"He's one of those guys that gets teams to win," Rangers captain Jacob Trouba said.

Goodrow did just that 14:01 into overtime to give the Rangers a 2-1 win against the Florida Panthers at Madison Square Garden on Friday, evening the best-of-7 series 1-1.

It was Goodrow's fourth goal in 12 playoff games this season, including his second game-winner.

By comparison, he scored four goals in 80 games in the regular season, only one game-winner.

Why is he so much more productive in the playoffs?

Goodrow didn't have an answer to that question, saying he brings the same game every night. That's true. He's a do-all-the-little-things-well kind of player; defensively strong, kills penalties, gets pucks out, gets pucks in, wins face-offs.

But in the playoffs those little things add up.

"Those things are really important, especially in overtime where one play, one face-off can make or break a game," defenseman Adam Fox said. "He's relied on in all situations. What he does for us is really critical, but he's able to put the puck in the net too. You can see that. Great shot."

FLA@NYR ECF, Gm2: Goodrow fires it in for Rangers overtime win

It was Goodrow's second career playoff overtime goal in 93 games. His other one came in 2019, when he was with the San Jose Sharks, and it won the series in Game 7 against the Vegas Golden Knights.

Goodrow has not scored an overtime goal in 572 regular-season games.

"He's been a winner everywhere he's been," Trouba said. "He does a lot of things that drive our team that probably go more unnoticed, but it's great to see him get some goals, especially that's a big goal."

Goodrow won the Stanley Cup twice with the Tampa Bay Lightning, in 2020 and again in 2021. He had six points in each run, a total of 12 points in 43 games. He scored one game-winning goal.

But ask Lightning coach Jon Cooper about Goodrow and he'll talk your ear off about how impactful he was on those championship teams and how important he was to everything Tampa Bay was able to accomplish -- as important as Nikita Kucherov, Victor Hedman, Brayden Point and Steven Stamkos.

"You can't have all Ferraris," Cooper said during the Lightning’s run in 2021. "Sometimes you need a good old-fashioned four-wheel-drive Jeep to get you through the mud, and that's what Barclay Goodrow can do for you."

Rangers coach Peter Laviolette is finding that out this spring.

"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," Laviolette said. "He takes face-offs, plays all three forward positions. You want him out there at the end of the game if you're winning the hockey game.

“You can match him up against top lines. Brings physicality. Brings leadership. Brings a lot of qualities inside of our room. Great teammate. So, when you get a player like that, you appreciate it as a coach all the things he brings to the table."

That includes the occasional huge goal.

"His role doesn't always consist of that," Laviolette said. "It's not always in the offensive zone. It's not on the power play. But when you see somebody who does so many other things that helps the team be successful, you're really happy for a guy like that when he can make a huge impact on the game offensively."

Everything about Goodrow's goal and what led up to it defines who he is for the Rangers.

Igor Shesterkin froze the puck at 13:35, setting up a defensive-zone face-off. Goodrow went on the ice to take the draw. He had already won nine of 12 in the game, including six of nine in the defensive zone. He won this one, too, against Panthers center Kevin Stenlund.

Florida eventually played the puck back into the zone, behind the goal line, where Shesterkin moved it to Trouba in the near corner.

Trouba lifted the puck out. Goodrow knocked the puck down legally and played it to himself, creating a rush opportunity with Vincent Trocheck on his right closest to the wall and Will Cuylle between them driving toward the net.

Goodrow passed the puck to Trocheck. He got the return pass right away. From between the circles, he whipped a wrist shot high and past Sergei Bobrovsky's blocker from 38 feet away.

"I don't really remember exactly how it went in," Goodrow said. "I just remember 'Troch' made a great pass to me and 'Cools' was driving the net, opening up the lane. It was a great play by those two."

It's just like Goodrow to deflect credit away from himself and give it to teammates even in a moment that belonged to him.

That's part of being an unsung X-factor, the player whose role requires him to do things that go unnoticed and underappreciated until he's at the center of the biggest moment.

It's not a coincidence that he found himself there again Friday.

"He's a big-time player," Trouba said. "He shows up in big-time games."