There’s a new contender for game of the 2022-23 season, and it came out of nowhere.
Goals, big saves, playoff intensity, enormous hits, fights and sheer chaos, Monday’s Rangers-Flames thriller had absolutely everything a hockey fan could want — especially for a Monday game in early February between two non-conference opponents the day after the All-Star break.
Rangers captain Jacob Trouba set the physical tone with just under six minutes left in the opening frame, absolutely dismantling Flames forward Dillon Dube with a monstrous open ice hit before dropping the mitts with Chris Tanev — and scoring a win in the bout — immediately after the collision.
Trouba’s enormous check and the scrap that followed kicked off a slew of chaotic events over the remaining two-plus periods. Less than three minutes after the game’s first melee, Sammy Blais had an answer for Trouba, landing a heavy hit on the ginormous Milan Lucic before tempers boiled over once again.
The second period was a lot tamer than many would’ve anticipated after that raucous opening frame, but that all changed with just under a minute left when Nazem Kadri — who’s dealt out his fair share of punishment over the years — cut to the middle of the ice before getting absolutely crushed by Trouba in what has to be the hit of the season so far. The bulking Rangers blueliner also followed that up with his second fight (and decision) of the night.
Trouba was a man possessed in this one.
This angle is even more absurd.
The Rangers scored on the subsequent power play to take a 3-2 lead heading into the third to add another element of value to that insane sequence from Trouba.
The pesky Flames did not go away, however, completing their third comeback of the contest to knot the game at threes on a controversial tally from Andrew Mangiapane seven minutes into the third was called a good goal after a lengthy review, despite appearing to be kicked in.
Calgary rode that wave and took their first lead of the night just moments later before Mika Zibanejad tied it up once again, setting the table for a fitting, chaoting ending in overtime as Alexis Lafreniere secured a wild win for the Rangers with his seventh goal of the season.
Filip Chytil and Zibanejad —who got the primary assist on Lafreniere’s OT winner — were also huge for New York in this one, each scoring twice while combing for 12 shots on goal.
Catch all that? What a doozy.
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