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game recap

Rangers hold on for victory against Coyotes

Defenseman Dan Girardi scores game-winner in return to lineup

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- Defenseman Dan Girardi contributed in his return to the New York Rangers lineup by scoring the game-winning goal in a 3-2 victory against the Arizona Coyotes at Madison Square Garden on Sunday.

Girardi, who missed the previous three games with a groin injury, scored his first of the season on a one-timer from the right point at 1:55 of the third period. Goalie Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves to lift the Rangers (4-2-0) to their second win in as many nights.

Lundqvist also made 26 saves in a 4-2 win against the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center on Saturday.

"I'm so happy for him," Lundqvist said of Girardi. "He's been working really hard, getting ready for camp, getting ready for the season, and then right away he has to sit out for a few games. That's never easy, but I just love the way he competes out there."

Forwards J.T. Miller and Josh Jooris also scored for New York. Right wing Radim Vrbata scored twice and goalie Louis Domingue made 23 saves, but the Coyotes (1-4-0) lost their fourth consecutive game in regulation.

"We are learning the hard way that every play counts and every mistake that we make will cost us," Vrbata said. "It's costing us games now. It looks good for some part of the game, but not good enough. We are learning that it's tough to win in this League."

Video: ARI@NYR: Jooris slips the puck under Domingue's pad

Girardi's goal came during a Coyotes' line change. Defenseman Brady Skjei took the puck low and put a pass through the crease and off the right-wing boards. It banked up to Girardi at the point for a one-timer.

Domingue might have been partially screened by forward Jordan Martinook, but he was beat cleanly underneath his glove on the far side.

"I'm really just burying my head and trying to shoot as hard as I can at the net," Girardi said. "You don't want to hit that first guy with the screen, but if you get it by him there's a good chance the goalie is not going to see it, and it's rolling too."

Vrbata's second goal tied the game 2-2 at 16:18 of the second period.

Miller scored a power-play goal on a deflection of defenseman Ryan McDonagh's shot-pass to give New York a 2-1 lead at 5:45 of the second. Jooris' goal at 12:13 of the first period tied the game 1-1.

Vrbata's first goal came on the first shot of the game 33 seconds into the first.

Video: ARI@NYR: Vrbata scores his second goal of the game


Goal of the game

Miller's power-play goal was a result of a smart decision by McDonagh. He saw Miller cutting toward the net from the right side and shot for a deflection from the point. Miller got a stick on the puck from in front of the right post to deflect it past Domingue.

Video: ARI@NYR: Miller redirects a shot past Domingue


Save of the game

Lundqvist preserved the 3-2 lead at 13:46 of the third period by kicking out his left leg as he fell into a split to stop rookie defenseman Jakob Chychrun's slap shot from the left circle.


Highlight of the game

Girardi earned the Rangers' "Broadway hat," signifying the player of the game in a win, for his game-winning goal. Prior to conducting his postgame media availability, Girardi took a picture with the hat for the Rangers' official Twitter account. "Save that one, it might not happen again this season," he said, laughing.

Video: ARI@NYR: Girardi smashes slap shot past Domingue


Unsung moment of the game

Skjei stopped Chychrun from getting a scoring chance from in between the circles by lifting his stick from behind before he could get off a shot with 6:01 remaining in the third period. Chychrun thought he caught the Rangers in a line change to get the chance with a burst of speed into the zone, but Skjei came over the boards and darted to the middle to catch him with the stick lift.


They said it

"It wasn't pretty, it wasn't about style, but we found a way to win. We played our best period in the third when the game was on the line. You have to find ways in this league. In an 82-game schedule, it's not going to be pretty every night, but you have to find ways to win." -- Rangers coach Alain Vigneault


"Lots of try in our group. Lots of try, but we are giving up three goals a game now. We've got to find a way to be better defensively. We gave up some chances after we got down. For the most part there were some real good parts to our game, but good parts to your game doesn't get you a win. We need to find ways to win." -- Coyotes coach Dave Tippett


Video: ARI@NYR: Domingue's great glove save stones Nash


Need to know

Girardi hadn't scored since Nov. 12, 2015. … McDonagh has at least one assist in four straight games, tying his career high for consecutive games with an assist. … Domingue has allowed 13 goals on 84 shots during the Coyotes' four-game losing streak.


Video: ARI@NYR: Lundqvist gloves Crouse's wrister


What's next

Coyotes: At the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; MSG+, FS-A, NHL.TV).

Rangers: Home against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports, NHL.TV).


Video: Miller, Girardi lift Rangers in 3-2 victory

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