Vancouver Canucks’ Bo Horvat (53) is stopped by New York Rangers’ goalie Henrik Lundqvist, right, of Sweden, while being checked by Vladislav Namestnikov (90), of Russia, during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday February 28, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Rangers beat Canucks 6-5 in OT thriller

Boeser scores pair in losing cause for Vancouver

John Gilmour scored the game-winner in overtime, leading the visiting New York Rangers to an exciting 6-5 win over the Vancouver Canucks in NHL action Wednesday at Rogers Arena.

Kevin Hayes (2), Jimmy Vesey, Vladislav Namestnikov and Mika Zibanejad also scored for the Rangers (28-30-6). Brock Boeser (2), Daniel Sedin, Bo Horvat and Nikolay Goldobin replied for the Canucks (24-32-8).

Henrik Lundqvist made a whopping 50 saves to pick up the goaltending win. Jacob Markstrom and Anders Nilsson combined to make 21 saves for Vancouver.

The Canucks dug themselves a hole early in the loosely played affair, trailing 2-0 with the game barely two minutes old.

Hayes opened the scoring on New York’s first shot of the game (following a play the Canucks coaching staff believed should have been called icing), grabbing a Ben Hutton turnover and beating Markstrom on a wraparound 1:22 into the game.

It marked the 20th time in 63 games the Canucks’ opponent has opened the scoring in the first five minutes of the contest.

Just 43 seconds later, Vesey tipped in a point shot from Neil Pionk for his 12th of the season to make it 2-0. Markstrom received a Bronx cheer from the crowd after making an easy save on New York’s third shot.

At the 12:29 mark, Hayes counted his 17th of the year, tipping home another Pionk point shot and ending the evening for Markstrom, who was pulled after giving up three goals on just five shots.

Boeser got the Canucks on the board, converting a nice feed from Horvat and snapping his 28th of the year past Lundqvist at 14:12.

Vancouver drew within one exactly five minutes later when Horvat scored on a power play. Nilsson stopped Hayes – looking for the hat trick – on a shorthanded breakaway and the Canucks immediately moved the other way and Horvat knocked home a Sedin rebound for his 17th of the year and his seventh multi-point game of the season.

Vancouver outshot the Rangers 17-7 in the opening frame.

A back-and-forth second period featured several good early chances, with Nilsson stopping David Desharnais on a breakaway and Lundqvist robbing Hutton (looking for his first goal in 53 games this season) point-blank.

Vancouver pulled even at 3-3 when Sedin scored his 20th of the year when a pass from brother Henrik tipped off Ranger defender Gilmour and onto Daniel’s stick. He made no mistake and beat Lundqvist. With the goal, Daniel Sedin reached the 20-goal plateau for the 11th time, a Canucks record. Sedin previously shared the mark with Markus Naslund with 10.

New York regained the lead at 14:58 when Namestnikov, acquired at the league’s trade deadline from the Tampa Bay Lightning, scored his 21st of the year, stealing the puck from Henrik Sedin and beating Nilsson.

Vancouver had a great chance to tie with three minutes left in the period but Lundqvist robbed Horvat on a glorious chance.

The Canucks again outshot the Rangers in the middle period, holding an 18-10 margin and a 35-17 advantage after 40 minutes.

Vancouver carried the play again in the third. Lundqvist made a series of big saves off Sam Gagner and both Sedin twins while the Canucks had a two-man advantage midway through the frame.

The Rangers killed off both penalties, but Nikolay Goldobin pulled Vancouver even at 4-4 at 12:17, firing home a nifty feed from Derrick Pouliot for his fourth of the season.

Against the flow of the play, the Rangers scored the winner at 14:47, after Goldobin turned the puck over at centre, and Chris Kreider carried in and fed Zibanejad, who beat Nilsson for his 18th of the year.

With Nilsson on the bench for an extra attacker, Boeser scored his second of the night and 29th of the season, converting a pass from newcomer Brendan Leipsic to tie things at 5-5 with 46 seconds to play and forcing overtime.

The Canucks outshot the Rangers 18-9 in the third, for a whopping 53-26 advantage in regulation time.

In OT, Leipsic had a great chance early but was rebuffed by Lundqvist. A short time later, Gilmour scored his second career goal, snapping a shot short-side past Nilsson for the game-winner.

GAME NOTES:

Vancouver: Newly acquired Tyler Motte and Leipsic both made their Canuck debuts. Leipsic, a former junior teammate of Canucks Sven Baertschi and Pouliot with the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks, played well on a line with Horvat and Boeser… The game was the first of a five-game homestand for the Canucks, who announced earlier in the day Vancouver will host the 2019 NHL draft… Vancouver hosts the Nashville Predators on Friday.

New York: The Rangers had dropped seven games in a row heading into the contest, with Lundqvist ending a five-game personal losing streak… Ryan Spooner had two assists for the Rangers, who visit the Calgary Flames on Friday.

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