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Coyotes' Derek Stepan beats former Rangers crew with crossbar goal

By
Alex Butler
Arizona Coyotes center Derek Stepan (21) scored the game-winner against the New York Rangers on Friday in New York City. Photo by Alex Edelman/UPI
Arizona Coyotes center Derek Stepan (21) scored the game-winner against the New York Rangers on Friday in New York City. Photo by Alex Edelman/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 15 (UPI) -- Derek Stepan beat his former team -- the New York Rangers -- with an overtime winner off of the crossbar for the Arizona Coyotes.

The Coyotes rallied from a 3-0 deficit to pull off the dramatic 4-3 victory on Friday at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Arizona's victory snapped a nine-game losing streak to New York.

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"I'd be lying to you if I told you that didn't feel good," Stepan told reporters.

Stepan's game-winner was a thing of beauty. The ninth-year center -- who played seven seasons with the Rangers -- broke free 4:28 into the extra frame.

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The Coyotes took off on a breakaway after foiling a Rangers possession. Center Nick Schmaltz tapped the puck off to Stepan between the blue lines. Stepan skated into enemy territory and eyed the goal before firing a wrist shot. The laser went over Rangers net-minder Henrik Lundqvist and hit the bottom of the crossbar, falling into the net and lighting the lamp one final time.

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Pavel Buchnevich and Kevin Hayes began the scoring for the Rangers in the first frame before Mika Zibanejad added his 10th score of the season in the second period.

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Then the Coyotes mounted their comeback. Jordan Oesterle scored his second goal of the season in the second period to cut the deficit to 3-1.

Josh Archibald cut the Rangers' lead to one goal with a score 13:11 into the final frame. Oliver Ekman-Larsson tied it up at 3-3 with a score with 3:01 remaining, setting the stage for Stepan's curtain call.

"It's tough to accept this one," Lundqvist said. "It was a game that was right there for us. Kind of a lucky shot for them to tie it. Our power play was really good. We had a lot of opportunities to put this game away and we didn't. They came back. In overtime we had chances to put it away and we didn't. That was a tough one."

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The Rangers host the Vegas Golden Knights at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday at Madison Square Garden. The Coyotes face the Carolina Hurricanes at 1 p.m. on Sunday at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C.

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