Barclay Goodrow comes up big in OT in Rangers' win: 'Awesome'

Barclay Goodrow nets OT winner and Rangers even series (0:44)

Barclay Goodrow sends the Rangers to a thrilling 2-1 win in overtime, evening the ECF at 1-1. (0:44)

NEW YORK -- In 80 regular-season games, Rangers center Barclay Goodrow scored four goals. It has taken only 12 playoff games for him to equal that total, including his clutch overtime goal to win Friday's Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals as the Rangers evened the series with the Florida Panthers 1-1.

"I don't know. I just try to bring my best game, every night," Goodrow said when asked about his postseason offensive uptick. "It feels good whenever you can do something to help the team."

That work ethic had Goodrow's teammates ecstatic about one of the Rangers' most unsung heroes getting his postseason moment in the 2-1 victory.

"He's one of those guys that gets teams to win. He's a big-time player who shows up in big-time games," captain Jacob Trouba said.

"To see him score a goal like tonight is awesome, because his role doesn't always consist of that," coach Peter Laviolette said. "When you see somebody who does so many other things that helps the team be successful, you're really happy for a guy like that when you see him make a huge impact on the game."

Goodrow scored at 14:01 of overtime. Trouba started the play with an outlet pass from the Rangers' defensive zone that Goodrow knocked down with his stick near center ice. He moved the puck to teammate Vincent Trocheck, who sent an aerial pass back to Goodrow in the Panthers' zone as linemate Will Cuylle drove to the net for a possible rebound.

"I guess I don't really remember exactly how it went in, but I just remember Troch made a great pass to me," Goodrow said. "Cools was driving the net, opening up the lane. So it was a great play by those two."

Goodrow fired a wobbly puck through Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky (28 saves) for the winner.

"I don't like to talk about the goals. He just shoot and score," Bobrovsky said. "It is what it is. Two good teams playing hockey. It's a good win for them."

As the Rangers mobbed Goodrow on the ice in front of a delirious Madison Square Garden crowd, the Panthers stood at their bench, wondering if Goodrow had touched the puck with a high stick to start the sequence. But the goal stayed on the board.

Goodrow said he never believed he struck the puck with a high stick. "No. In the play, it never crossed my mind," he said.

Playoff success is nothing new for Goodrow. He was a vital depth forward on back-to-back Stanley Cup championship teams with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2020 and 2021. He left the Bolts in July 2021 to sign a six-year free agent deal with the Rangers for $21.85 million.

After two seasons of double-digit goals, Goodrow's offensive output slipped to four goals in 2023-24, his lowest total in a full season since his rookie campaign with the San Jose Sharks in 2014-15.

"It's funny: When the puck's not going in, people kind of feel like they're never going to score again," defenseman Adam Fox said. "I've had that feeling, been through cold stretches. Everyone wants to score, but he's still going to do the other things to help us win. Our penalty kill has been huge all year and huge in the playoffs. He plays against top lines. You never sense frustration when he's not scoring."

Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin, who was solid in making 26 saves in the win, pushed back on the notion that Goodrow's season was inconsistent.

"Maybe for you he's up and down," he said. "But for me, he's always on the top."

Some of Goodrow's goals in the 2024 postseason have been significant. He tallied a short-handed goal that ended up being the winner in Game 3 of the Rangers' first-round sweep of the Washington Capitals. He had the series-clinching empty-net goal against the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 6. Then came Friday's winner against the Panthers.

Goodrow was on the ice for that shift because the Rangers needed him to win a defensive zone faceoff, which he did.

"You see him take those defensive zone draws all the time," Trouba said. "It's honestly a thankless job. He only gets talked about if he loses them. When he wins them, which he does a lot of the time, nobody ever talks about it."

That's why Goodrow's overtime goal meant so much to the Rangers. He's a grunt, a player who does whatever is necessary to win but doesn't always get the headlines or the accolades.

"When you get a player that can do everything, where a coach can rely on that person, that's a pretty useful tool in the toolbox," Laviolette said. "He takes faceoffs, plays all three forward positions. You want him out there at the end of the game. If you're winning a hockey game, you can match him up against top lines. He brings physicality, brings leadership, brings a lot of qualities inside of our room. So when you get a player like that, you appreciate it as a coach of all the things that he brings to the table."

Matt Rempe, the Rangers rookie who energized Madison Square Garden with his return to the lineup, said Goodrow was a "16-win" kind of player in the playoffs.

"Oh yeah. Goody's that guy," Rempe said. "Oh my gosh. That was unbelievable. That was an absolute snipe by him."

Game 3 is Sunday afternoon in Sunrise, Florida.