New York Post

Close, but not close enough, in first 3-on-3


It was the Rangers’ first experience at this 3on3 overtime thing introduced this season by the NHL, and if it didn’t quite produce fury and chaos, it did yield open ice, chances … and a result that made a shootout unnecessar­y.

“You think you’re really close to winning the game and instead the puck goes back the other way for another big chance,” Henrik Lundqvist said after the Devils capitalize­d on their big chance to win 21 after the Blueshirts were really close to winning the game. “That’s the way it’s going to be played, so there’s a lot of action for the fans.”

Former Ranger Lee Stempniak got the gamer at 3:07 on a 2on1 moments after Derek Stepan had hit the post. Rick Nash created a chance in front at 0:23, but couldn’t get a shot on net. Chris Kreider drove to the front about two minutes in, but sent his shot wide.

“That’s kind of what we are finding out pretty fast with 3on3,” Ryan McDonagh said. “One team gets close and it kind of opens you up for them to get a look.”

Including this game, five of the first nine 60minute ties had been broken in the 3on3.

Lundqvist is expected to make his seventh straight start Monday when the Sharks come to the Garden and backup Antti Raanta’s Rangers’ debut likely will come Thursday at home against the Coyotes and the Duke of the Desert, Anthony Duclair.

The King started nine of the first 10 matches last season, including eight straight beginning with Game 3, before settling into a rotation with Cam Talbot. Lundqvist had started 38 of 49 games before he was sidelined with his vascular injury in early February. That had put him on a pace of 64 starts over the 82game schedule, much in line with what is projected this year.

Dan Girardi wobbled unaccounta­bly into the boards deep in his own end with about a minute remaining in regulation before slowly making his way to his feet.

“Something with my skate,” the alternate captain explained. “I didn’t know what was going on. … My life flashed before my eyes.”

The Rangers were 0for2 with the man advantage, getting their power plays 2:40 apart late in the third period. They are 1 for16 on the season on the power play. … The Blueshirts killed both of the Devils’ power plays, including a 1:36 twoman disadvanta­ge early in the third period.

When Kevin Klein and Kyle Palmieri dropped the gloves at 19:13 of the first period, it marked the first fight of the year for both squads. … Oscar Lindberg got three shifts for 3:11 in the third, one turn in the final 11:44. Viktor Stalberg, who could well be a scratch against the Sharks, got three shifts for 2:04 in the third period. … Emerson Etem, Tanner Glass and Dylan McIlrath were the Rangers’ scratches.

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