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Rangers rally past Leafs with four goals in third period

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers, off to a poor start to the season, endured a rough first period Saturday, wasting one chance after another. The Rangers dominated the Toronto Maple Leafs in terms of shots, but they trailed 2-0 at the first intermission.

However, after the Rangers scored four goals in the third period to complete a 5-2, come-from-behind win at Madison Square Garden, the New York players said they never got frustrated.

Instead, they left Toronto feeling that way after it blew a two-goal, first-period lead to a New York team for the second time in three days.

Rangers defenseman Marc Staal tied the game about a third of the way into the third period. His hard shot a few minutes later was deflected and poked in by teammate Marian Gaborik to give the Rangers a 3-2 lead.

Brian Boyle later added a goal, and Gaborik scored another, an empty-netter, to lock up the win for the Rangers (2-3-0). New York outshot Toronto 42-17, including 14-3 in the the first period.

"I didn't think we were very frustrated," Staal said. "I think we were satisfied with the way we were playing and all the chances we were getting. We thought eventually they would start going in for us."

Gaborik, Michael Del Zotto and Rick Nash had two assists apiece for the Rangers. Brad Richards scored his second goal of the year for New York, which got 15 saves from Henrik Lundqvist.

Mikhail Grabovski and James van Riemsdyk scored goals for Toronto (2-3-0), and John-Michael Liles had two assists. James Reimer made 37 saves for the Leafs, who lost their second straight game, following Thursday's 7-4 defeat to the Islanders.

"Yeah, you don't want that stuff to happen," van Riemsdyk said of the consecutive blown leads. "Two inexcusable ways to lose games. You just hope they don't come back to bite ya at the end of the year."

Gaborik officially scored the Rangers' go-ahead goal, when he got his stick on Staal's hard drive from the left point, deflecting it and sneaking it past Reimer's right side for a 3-2 lead at the 12:57 mark of the third period. The Rangers forward said he hoped to screen Reimer and was able to nudge the hard shot past him.

"Give him 100 shots, I don't think he can do it again," Reimer said. "But he's a skilled player. You want a tough shot to beat you, and they made it happen."

The goal came nearly five minutes after Staal tied the game 2-2 for New York. That score came at the 7:36 mark of the third, when Staal finished off a slick exchange started by Gaborik, who hit Del Zotto to Reimer's right. Del Zotto then fed Staal in front of the net, and the Rangers wiped out what had been a 2-0 deficit on the defenseman's first goal of the season.

"It was a pretty passing play," Staal said. "All I had to do was tap it in."

For the first two periods, the Rangers wasted several chances as Reimer made 25 saves entering the third while the Leafs had nine shots in that time.

The Rangers closed within 2-1 at the 5:43 mark of the second period, when Richards finally broke through after Reimer stopped a flurry of shots. Gaborik and Nash got assists on the goal, Richards' second of the season.

Reimer had frequently thwarted shots, even from close range, one after the other. New York was 0-for-4 on the power play, making it just 2-for-22 on the season.

"Their goalie played really well, but we just stayed with it and scored some goals," Rangers coach John Tortorella said.

For the opening goal, Grabovski took a pass from Liles in front of the net and deked Lundqvist before poking the puck past him on Toronto's first shot of the night, at the 6:25 mark.

Near the end of the first, Toronto took advantage of a sloppy line shift resulting in a Rangers penalty for too many men on the ice. The Leafs scored on the power play when van Riemsdyk poked in a rebound on Liles' shot, giving Toronto a 2-0 lead with 2:45 left in the period.

NOTES: The Rangers signed free agent center Jason Arnott, 38, according to multiple reports. Arnott signed for one year at between $1.6-1.7 million, according to TSN, which first reported the move. The contract is no complete pending a physical. Tortorella declined comment. Arnott scored 17 goals and had 34 points for the St. Louis Blues last season. For his career, Arnott has scored 417 goals in 1,244 games. ... Rangers forward Arron Asham returned after missing two games with a groin injury. He got into a fight with Mike Brown four minutes into the first period, each landing several shots before Asham fell to the ice. Two seconds later, Rangers center Mike Rupp and Leafs forward Colton Orr also landed some strong blows, with Orr coming out on top at the end. ... Rangers defenseman Chris Kreider was out with a bone chip in his ankle. Tortorella said the injury wasn't serious, but he expects Kreider to remain out at least a few days. ... The Rangers' newly acquired forward Benn Ferriero was called up from AHL affiliate Connecticut, and he played 12 1/2 minutes. "I liked that little ..." Tortorella said, using a colorful piece of profanity to describe Ferriero, whom the coach added showed speed and composure. ... Reimer started in goal instead of Ben Scrivens, one of several shifts the Leafs made after losing to the Islanders. Scrivens allowed five goals on 25 shots against the Islanders before Reimer relieved him.

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