After missing a week due to injury, Dan Girardi made an impact in his return, scoring the game-winning goal in the Rangers 3-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes at Madison Square Garden.
Girardi, who missed three games with a groin strain, fired a slap shot low stick side on Arizona goaltender Louis Domingue 1:55 into the third period to put the Rangers ahead for good. It was his first goal of the season.
Brady Skjei carried the puck in on the rush and fired a shot low and wide that caromed off the boards and out to the point. Girardi fired it on net and it found twine to put the Rangers ahead for good.
"Brady kind of just throws it through the crease and I see that it comes out to me, so I just bury my head and try to get it past the screen and it kind of dipped on him a little bit I think," said Girardi, who was awarded the Broadway Hat. "Obviously I'm trying to score but I am just trying to get it to the net and get a rebound or something and it just happened to go in."
Josh Jooris scored his first goal as a Ranger and J.T. Miller added his second of the young campaign.
Like Saturday, the Rangers fell behind quickly, this time just 33 seconds into the contest. Radim Vrbata deflected a Connor Murphy shot from the point over Henrik Lundqvist's shoulder and into the net.
New York would tie the game on Jooris' goal at 12:13 of the opening period. The forward received a Michael Grabner pass in front of the net and out-waited Domingue and tucked the puck under the netminder's pads.
Video: ARI@NYR: Jooris slips the puck under Domingue's pad
"It felt really good," Jooris said. "To be able to contribute like that - I know I'm playing a role for this team and any time you can chip in offensively, it's a huge boost for the team and myself and our line."
The Rangers would grab the lead 5:45 into the second period when Miller deflected a Ryan McDonagh shot/pass from the point for his second of the season on the power play to put New York up 2-1.
Vrbata would net his second of the game with less than four minutes to play in the middle from to even the score again.
But the Rangers would not let this one slip away thanks to Girardi's tally.
Lundqvist, who defeated the Washington Capitals 24 hours earlier, was strong in his first back-to-back set of the season, finishing with 27 saves.
Video: ARI@NYR: Lundqvist gloves Crouse's wrister
"It wasn't perfect but we found a way," Lundqvist said. "I thought they played a pretty good game. Coming from a really strong performance last night, it's a quick turnaround, so the biggest challenge is to reach that level again."
Girardi played for the first time in eight days after injuring his groin last weekend in St. Louis. He took Adam Clendening's spot alongside Brady Skjei.
"I felt pretty good," Girardi said after the game. "I didn't have much practice time or that many reps but luckily I've been here a long time. Just part of the routine. It's only been three games but I've been watching from up top, so you kind of stay in the game that way. Felt OK tonight and felt pretty good."
The Rangers were without Chris Kreider, who is day to day with neck spasms. Oscar Lindberg was activated off of injured reserve and made his season debut.
The Rangers placed forward Pavel Buchnevich on injured reserve as he continues to get treatment for back spasms.
New York is off until Wednesday when it hosts the Boston Bruins at Madison Square Garden.