New York Rangers, Rick Nash, NHL
Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

The Rangers battled the Maple Leafs tonight at MSG as both teams were looking for a win before heading into the holiday break.

  • New York Rangers 2 (19-13-4, 42 points)
  • Toronto Maple Leafs 3 (22-14-1, 45 points)
  • NYR Goals: Jimmy Vesey (8), J.T. Miller (7)
  • TOR Goals: William Nylander (7), Ron Hainsey (3), Auston Mathews (14)
  • NHL, Final, Boxscore
  • Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

The Toronto Maple Leafs came into Saturday night’s game with their star, Auston Mathews, back in the lineup. The played a simple but effective game as they outhustled the Rangers for most of the first two periods. The Rangers played come from behind hockey again, this time losing 3-2 to Toronto.

Alain Vigneault decided to make a few line changes prior to the opening faceoff tonight. This was done as he needed to adjust the lineup with the announcement of the Jesper Fast injury. Here was how the lines looked to start:

Chris Kreider – MikaZibanejad – Pavel Buchnevich
Rick Nash – David Desharnais – Mats Zuccarello
Michael Grabner – Kevin Hayes – Jimmy Vesey 
Paul Carey – Boo Nieves -J.T. Miller

Ryan McDonagh – Nick Holden
Brady Skjei – Kevin Shattenkirk                                                                               Marc Staal – Brendan Smith
Henrik Lundqvist

The Rangers wasted three power-play opportunities in the first period, then Toronto made them pay late in the first as William Nylander scored his seventh of the year. The goal was assisted by Auston Mathews who returned to the Toronto lineup after missing the last six games due to a concussion. The Rangers outshot the Maple Leafs 11-10 in the period.

The Rangers started the second period down a man as a result of a delay of game penalty late in the first period by Ryan Mcdonagh. Toronto took advantage as Ron Hainsey scored his third of the year to make it 2-0 Leafs.

Vigneault than made a change in the lines as he switched Buchnevich and Miller. Jimmy Vesey got the Rangers on the scoreboard as he scored on a backhander at 2:37 to make it 2-1.

The Rangers made a move everyone knows should never happen. Ryan McDonagh and Nick Holden were both caught in the same corner leaving Auston Mathews alone in front of Lundqvist. In a blink, the Rangers were down 3-1.

The second period ended with New York down 3-1.

The third period began with more line changes as Hayes was now in between Zuccarello and Grabner. Desharnais was centering Vesey and Nash.  The defense was changed around to as Staal was paired with Shattenkirk, Skjei with Smith. McDonagh and Holden remained the paired together.

Then J.T. Miller scored at 11:25 of the third period off a feed from Buchnevich to bring the Rangers within one.

The Rangers appeared to tie it up on a goal by Grabner, but after video review, the play was called offside and the goal was taken off the board. The score remained 3-2 in favor of Toronto. That is how the game ended as the Rangers were unable to tie the game and took the loss.

A graduate of St. John's University class of '91. I have been a fan of the New York Rangers since the days of Peter Puck. Founder of Ranger Proud, the Facebook page that covers all news, notes, pre /post-game stats, and player quotes. I can be reached at