VANCOUVER -- It wasn't a perfect win nor was it how they drew it up, but any win that ends a seven-game winless slide is one the Rangers will take.
New York held - and surrendered - three separate leads, including a 3-0 first period advantage and another in the final minute of regulation, but it came down to a goal by John Gilmour 1:22 into overtime gave the Rangers a 6-5 win over the Canucks.
"It was a roller coaster, that's for sure," said Henrik Lundqvist, who finished the game with 50 saves. "A lot of goals, a lot of chances. It was a battle."
After Brock Boeser scored his second goal of the night with 45 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the game, 5-5, Ryan Spooner, playing his second game as a Ranger, carried the puck into the Vancouver zone to the goal line before sending a backhand pass through the crease and onto the stick of Gilmour, who fired the one-timer through Anders Nilsson for the win.
"We broke the play up and Spooner was skating up the ice and the guy is so creative, so I wanted to get open and try to get to the front of the net," said Gilmour, who became the first rookie defenseman in team history to score an overtime goal. "I mean, you saw the pass, backhand saucer pass. He couldn't have made a better pass and all I had to do was get some wood on it."
Video: NYR@VAN: Spooner sets up Gilmour for OT winner
Spooner, who was acquired on Sunday from Boston in the deal that sent Rick Nash to Boston, now has five assists and has displayed instant chemistry with Kevin Hayes, who had two goals in the first period, with Spooner assisting on both.
"We've got a mix. We've got some good stuff on that line," Spooner said of his chemistry with Hayes and Jesper Fast. "We've got a guy who likes to go to the front of the net, I like to pass and Hayes has been scoring. That's a good mix. Sometimes it can take up to 10 games to get used to guys, but I think as a group, just getting some pucks to the net. We've been trying to that and it's been good."
After jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first on Hayes' pair and Jimmy Vesey's 12th of the season, Vancouver stormed back with three of their own to tie it by the midway point of the middle frame.
Vladislav Namestnikov broke the tie when he stipped a Canuck at the Rangers blueline and broke in alone and beat Ander Nilsson between the legs to put the Rangers ahead again.
"I saw that no one was behind, so I kind of slowed down there a bit," Namestnikov said. "I saw the five-hole open and I shot it and luckily it went in."
Video: NYR@VAN: Namestnikov scores in Rangers debut
Namestnikov played a game before even skating with his new teammates, and admitted he was tired after arriving in Vancouver late last night. But as the game went on, he felt better physically and more comfortable with his new team.
"The first period was tough. I didn't have any legs with the long flight last night, but as the game went on, you kind of settle in and enjoy the game."
After the Canucks tied the game at 12:17 of the third, Mika Zibanejad converted on a Chris Kreider pass 2:30 later to put the Rangers ahead 5-4.
Lundqvist, who spoke candidly about how difficult the last few weeks had been for him personally, couldn't help but smile about the victory despite the way it was obtained.
The team around him has gotten younger and that inexperience will certainly bring with it growing pains. Lundqvist said it's up to him to clean them up as the kids do their thing.
"It's a game right now where we're going for it," he said. "A lot of times we're going to score some goals [and] we're going to make some mistakes. I'm going to try and do my best to clean it up as much as I can."