Talbot wins again, leads Rangers over Maple Leafs

The New York Rangers escaped with two points they believed they

deserved even though they gave up a goal they felt the Toronto

Maple Leafs didn’t earn.

Mats Zuccarello and Derek Stepan scored shootout goals, and

backup goalie Cam Talbot earned his second win in two nights as the

Rangers shook off a late tying tally and beat the Maple Leafs 2-1

Monday night.

The game was forced into overtime because of Nazem Kadri’s goal

with 1:24 left in regulation – one the Rangers thought shouldn’t

have counted.

After a wraparound attempt, David Clarkson took two whacks at

the puck at the right post, and Talbot appeared to cover it, but

Kadri came in and poked it in under Talbot’s pad.

The NHL reviewed it in Toronto and said the goal should

stand.

”In my opinion, that was the wrong call,” Rangers coach Alain

Vigneault said. ”The referee told Brad (Richards) on the ice that

if they didn’t score on the wraparound, then it wasn’t a goal. They

didn’t score on the wraparound.

”The puck was underneath Cam’s pad. How (the reviewers) saw it

differently, I’m not quite sure. You’ve just got to play through

those things, and that’s what we did.”

The Rangers held off the Maple Leafs in a spirited overtime that

produced several scoring chances and then outlasted them in the

shootout.

Zuccarello and Stepan scored in the first two rounds, and Talbot

stopped Kadri in the third to end it. Joffrey Lupul was the only

Toronto player to score in the tiebreaker.

Talbot was relieved the Rangers pulled out the victory.

”I would have been pretty devastated, especially with the game

we played,” he said. ”We deserved to win the game, and to get a

goal like that against us could have really hurt us, but we kind of

let it go, pushed forward and got the eventual game-winner.”

Jonathan Bernier was exceptional for Toronto, making 42 saves

through overtime and allowing only J.T. Miller’s goal 7:04 into the

third period. The Maple Leafs played their third straight shootout

and lost for the second consecutive time. They are 2-5-2 in their

last nine.

”We played a very solid road game,” Toronto captain Dion

Phaneuf said. ”It was very good to get a point.”

Talbot, starting over slumping No. 1 netminder Henrik Lundqvist

for the second straight game, bounced back from the late goal and

improved to 8-2 in his first NHL season. He made 24 saves Sunday in

a 4-1 win over Minnesota and helped New York finish its

team-record, nine-game homestand 3-4-2.

He nearly earned his third shutout in 12 career NHL games, all

this season.

The Rangers next play on Friday at Washington. Who will start in

goal then for New York remains to be seen.

”It is safe to say that we’re leaving for the holidays on a

much happier note,” Vigneault said. ”It’s going to be a pleasant

three days.

”My parents are 81 and 79. I haven’t been home for Christmas

with my girls for eight years, so I am looking forward to

that.”

Miller, recalled from Hartford (AHL) on Thursday, scored his

second of the season when he came off the bench, streaked down the

slot, and took a crisp pass from Chris Kreider from behind the

net.

Toronto nearly grabbed the lead just over four minutes into the

third when Nikolai Kulemin was stopped in front and then had

another drive hit the right post, slide along the goal line, and

stay out. The no-goal call was confirmed by video review.

Bernier kept the Maple Leafs in it, especially during the second

period when the Rangers had a 22-5 edge in shots. New York was

dominant again in the middle frame one night after a 17-5 advantage

against Minnesota when the Rangers scored twice.

”I don’t think we played our best game, but we hung in there,”

Bernier said. ”We stole a point probably.”

Bernier got the starting nod from coach Randy Carlyle two nights

after he replaced James Reimer, who was pulled against Detroit

after giving up three goals on 12 shots in the first period.

Bernier made 25 saves in relief, but Toronto was beaten in a

shootout.

”Our goaltender stood on his head. That’s all you can ask in a

game like this one,” Carlyle said.

NOTES: Talbot made back-to-back starts two other times this

season but not on consecutive days. … Rangers D Marc Staal took a

hard skate Monday morning, while recovering from a concussion, and

could be nearing a return. Staal missed his eighth game since he

was struck in the head by the arm of New Jersey’s Reid Boucher on

Dec. 7. … Reimer had started three straight games for the first

time this season before Monday.