Derek Stepan celebrates after he scores a short-handed goal with 2:48 remaining to break a 1-1 tie.
The Rangers don’t score shorthanded very often, but Derek Stepan has been the man for the job.
The center scored the game-winning goal Monday against the Blue Jackets with 2:48 left in the third period of a 2-1 victory, faking out Columbus goalie Joonas Korpisalo on the near post after racing down the left wing and beating him at the right post. Ryan McDonagh poked the puck away from Seth Jones on the penalty kill and sprung Stepan, who has both of the Rangers’ shorthanded goals this season and five for his career.
“It’s a great play by Mac, and I’m able to jump up in a situation with just me and the goaltender,” Stepan said. “Originally I was gonna shoot it, but I took a look up and took my chances trying to beat him to the back pipe.”
HE FELT BLUE
Former Rangers coach John Tortorella, the current Blue Jackets coach, said Monday he was proud of the progress the Rangers made during his four-and-a-half year stint in New York, but said he had no desire to leave when he was fired in 2013 after a second-round playoff exit.
“Did I want to leave? Absolutely not,” he said. “I felt there was some unfinished business. I felt we were going the right way. I don’t make those decisions. I was told to leave and you go about it. It’s part of our jobs as coaches, it’s part of it as players, as players are going through it today (with the trade deadline.) That’s all part of the business. But I loved every moment here, and I come back here in the summer. I make my home here in the summer. So there are a lot of good things that go on for me mentally with this place. Love coming to the building and seeing the people I care about.”
GET WELL FAST
Jesper Fast, who suffered a broken nose in practice Friday but played Saturday in Dallas, missed Monday’s game with flu-like symptoms. Defenseman Dylan McIlrath played fourth-line right wing as a result, his first game as a forward since he was 15 years old with the Winnipeg Warriors. … The Rangers held a moment of silence pre-game for late Rangers Hall of Famer and legend Andy Bathgate, who passed away Friday at the age of 83.
With PAT LEONARD
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