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Halischuck's heroics not enough in thriller


Josh Beaulieu comes close on the shootout attempt, Murray stopped 9 of 11 and has stopped 12 of 14 this season during shootouts.


It was fortunate that the Rangers found themselves in the spot they were in early.  London had played at home on Friday and on the road in Plymouth on Saturday night, winning both games, but may have run out of gas a little early in their divisional matchup with the Rangers.  Little did either team know, that this matchup would result in a permutation of events that would make this one of the longest possible games of the season, and this without the two fierce rivals ever dropping the gloves or ever having any other kind of needless delay due to extraciricular activities.  The Knights were guilty of failing to skate during the opening period.  The Rangers, started running up the shot clock, which is what the Rangers have done very proficiently, it's only the goals that the team struggles to get.  Nick Spaling was able to deke big Kngihts' netminder: Steve Mason well out of his crease and to the side of the net, but he was not able get the puck onto the stick of Mike Duco, who was infront of the net waiting anxiously for the puck.  The with only 4 seconds left in the opening period, Matt Halischuk's shot fluttered and fouled Mason, giving the Rangers a 1-0 lead, and a 17-6 advantage on the shot clock.  In the second period, only 17 seconds in Halischuk struck again.  He came into the zone two one two with Azevedo soon after the opening faceoff, got in deep and fired a shot that deflected off of the shaft of Perry's stick and into the bottom corner of the net for a 2-0 lead.

Halischuk had some odd lucky with and around the puck all night long, soon after his second goal of the night, it appeared that Halischuk's night might be over after a freak injury.  While being hooked on a rush, he managed to step on the puck with first his left skate and then his right before contacting the top of the net and slamming haplessly into the boards.  Dale Hunter must have said something pretty motivational during the first intermission because, despite the early tally but Matt Halischuk, the Knights hit the ice with purpose answering with 4 of their own.  It all started ith a controversial goal (which one on this night either wasn't a weird bounce or controversial anyhow?).  The puck slowly bounced off Murray's back, the crossbar, and then landed a couple of inches infront of the goal line, the Knights' celebrated and the official Brent Holdsworth (who found himself in the middle of controlled chaos all night long) immediately waved off the goal, as the red light did go on along with the musical effects at the JLC.  Fans were uneasy, but after a lengthy video review, it was ruled to be a legitimate goal.  David Meckler was credited with the tally and only 52 seconds later, again on the power play, David Meckler was the receipient of a beautiful backdoor passing play, and simply put the puck into the empty half of the goal to even the score at 2 goals each. 
 



Nick Spaling attempts to bully Sam Gagner away from netminder John Murray.

It didn't take the Knights long to take the lead after they had tried the game.  With another power play, Pat Kane made a shot like pass at the front of the net that was redirected in by Adam Perry who was standing infront of the goal.  The period appeared to officially implode for the Rangers midway through the period when during a delayed penalty, Julien Machabee stopped skating assuming an icing call.  Similar to the events of the second round of the postseason against the Attack, Beaulieu battled the puck out to Sam Gagner who stood in the high slot all alone and slam dunked a slapper past a surprised John Murray giving the Knights' a two goal advantage.  From there, the netminders took over, both despite the score were having superb games for their respective teams.  Things wouldn't go exactly as planned in the third for the Knights, the Rangers seemed to add a wrinkle to an already far too familiar story.  Kevin Henderson put a perfect shot up towards the top corner that big Mason was just able to shrug away, Halischuk zipped behind the Knights' net with the rebound and slipped it in the empty side to bring the Rangers to within one goal.

The Rangers who was were without a goal on the power play all night long, got a bit of a break when Jakub Kindl's point shot bounced around, and then out of no where, Halischuk was left alone infront of the goal with the puck and despite the high traffic, seemingly all of the time in the world, he took it, and swung the puck around Mason.  Only seconds before Halischuk's fourth tally of the game (his previous highs were all two goal games), the Knights had called their timeout, though barely prior to the puck being dropped.  The Rangers had a late power play and utilized their timeout to set things up, like the Knights, they also appeared to be scored on soon after in the dying seconds of the game.  John Murray rushed out of his goal to play, the puck, trying to avoid playing the puck beyond the icing line, Murray rushed things, and nearly deflected the puck into the net, Kindl and Foreman each advanced towards the puck, and with Murray diving back into the crease, the puck snuck in with only seconds left on the clock, after another lengthy video delay, it was ruled that Foreman kicked the puck into the net.  During the overtime, the Knights had a full two minute man advantage, but ran up against John Murray who was red hot.  The shootout was a prolonged one.  After the first shooters failed to score, Matt Halischuk, apparently Steve Mason's greatest nemesis, snuck a hard wrister past the netminder.  With his team in need of a goal and facing a loss without one Sam Gagner came up big with a deke move that removed Murray from the net area.  Murray was sensation from that point on in the shootout, Mason was solid, but benefited from a number of Rangers who either missed the net or lost the puck, both somewhat understanding when facing an imposing netminder like the one that the Knights' have.