On the anniversary of the most famous shootout in NHL history, the Rangers once again found themselves going shot for shot in the competition and once again came out victorious.
New York outlasted the Vancouver Canucks, 4-3, in a shootout that went into the seventh round before Jimmy Vesey beat Jacob Markstom glove side to secure the Rangers' eighth consecutive victory on home ice.
"I think [the length of the shootout] actually helped me," said Vesey, who tied the game five minutes into the third period to send the game into extra time. "[Rick Nash], I saw him be successful with the shot. I don't think ice conditions are good at that point in the game. It looked like their goalie was deep in his crease. The guys who had success for us were shooting, and I just tried to once again get it over his glove."
Video: VAN@NYR: Vesey snaps home game-winning shootout goal
New York was on the ropes in the shootout on two occasions, beginning with Kevin Shattenkirk's goal in the third round that preceded Nash's goal in the bottom of the fifth round.
"It was a positive turnout," coach Alain Vigneault said of the shootout. "Going into the shootout, I was going to shoot first, but Hank came up to me and told me to let them shoot first. Hank was on top of his game today so I trusted him on that. He made some big saves, and the guys got him a couple goals. We'll take the two points and not say a word."
After Vancouver scored the first two goals of the game by Loui Eriksson in the first and Jake Virtanen in the second, the Rangers seemed to find their game late in the middle frame starting with a goal by Jesper Fast with 2:20 to play.
Fast redirected a pass from Nick Holden in the slot for his fourth of the year and third in his last three games, and it seemed to spark the Rangers heading into the third.
Michael Grabner evened the score just 19 seconds into the third period when his wrist shot beat Markstrom his 10th of the season.
The Canucks, though, benefitted from some puck luck and immediately answered to regain the lead. Brendan Smith's clearing attempt from behind the net hit a stanchion along the boards and prevented the puck from leaving the zone. Thomas Vanek scooped up the puck and fed Sam Gagner, who was alone in the slot, for the go-ahead goal just 41 seconds after Grabner's tally.
Video: VAN@NYR: Vesey nets backhand off Nash's great pass
Vesey answered 4:05 later in one of the prettier goals New York has scored all season. Kevin Hayes fed Nash, who broke into the Vancouver end and slowed down enough to spin a pass to the streaking Vesey, who went to his backhand for his fifth of the year that once against knotted the game.
"You get a million things going through your mind when you get a chance like that," Vesey said of the goal. "Your eyes always light up. You're playing the scenario in your head before it even happens. I didn't even have time to yell for the puck and it was on my tape. I guess instinct just took over. Thankfully I got it over his pad."
The Rangers admittedly struggled to find their game through the first two periods. But the fact they were able to secure two points in the middle of a streak of 10 wins in their last 12 games is the mark of a good team, or at least one on its way to becoming one.
"I think it's coming," Nash said with a smile. "I think we've still got some areas to fix and some consistency issues where we can put together a full 60 [minutes] instead of a good period here and there."