However, when the Rangers roared back from a two-goal deficit to earn a 4-3 victory Thursday night, it was a power play the Coyotes didn't receive that had the stumbling club in an uproar.
A non-call on an apparent high stick by Rangers forward Derick Brassard against defenseman Andrew Campbell just before Kreider tied it in the second period left the Coyotes fuming following their eighth straight loss.
"They said all four (officials) missed it, which I find hard to believe," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said.
Frustration over the goal caused goalie Mike Smith to receive an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for slamming his stick against the post. That didn't lead to a goal, but Arizona was blanked in the decisive third period.
"I couldn't believe it," said Smith, who made 34 saves. "I've never seen that call before."
Stempniak netted the winner when he backhanded in a rebound of his own shot on the doorstep. That gave the Rangers their fourth consecutive win and 11th in 14 games (11-1-2). They have their first 10-game point streak (8-0-2) since 2008.
"Just got in front of the net, and Kevin (Hayes) put it right on my tape," Stempniak said. "I had enough time to get a rebound."
Hayes had two assists, and Cam Talbot stopped 37 shots as New York moved into a first-place tie with the Islanders in the Metropolitan Division.
After a ragged opening frame, the Rangers came back with two goals in the second.
"We know we didn't come out of the gate the way we wanted to," Talbot said. "We kind of sat back and let them come at us."
With Madison Square Garden quiet in the second, Stempniak brought the fans out of their seats when he deflected in defenseman John Moore's point shot.
Kreider tied it during a power play when he chased down a loose puck that got past Arizona defenseman Connor Murphy, and came in on a breakaway. Kreider's initial shot was stopped, but he backhanded in the rebound with 11.3 seconds left for his 16th goal.
"If you want to be near the top of the standings in this league, you need to find ways to win," Kreider said. "That was definitely a bit of a nail-biter and a little too close for comfort, but it speaks volumes of the leadership and character."
The Coyotes had struck early and late in the first, and had a 17-12 shots edge.
In what has become a troubling trend for the Rangers recently, Talbot allowed a first-minute goal for the third time since he took over for injured No. 1 goalie Henrik Lundqvist. Arcobello did the damage this time when he came off the bench, took a pass in the slot from David Moss and snapped in a shot 41 seconds in.
Arcobello has 13 goals overall and five in seven games since joining the Coyotes, his fourth NHL team this season.
The Rangers got even on Kreider's first goal. Hayes, who scored the lone goal in New York's 1-0 win over Calgary on Tuesday, set up the play with a deft pass.
"I have a pretty cushy job," Kreider said. "I get to sit in front of the net, surrounded by some high-end, high-skill players."
Gagner and the Coyotes then cashed in with a two man-advantage, getting goals 1:26 apart. Just 43 seconds after St. Louis was called for tripping, Kevin Klein went off for delay of game when his clearing attempt sailed over the glass.
Gagner put Arizona back in front 31 seconds into the 5-on-3 advantage, snapping a shot from the left circle under the crossbar. He added his 12th goal with 39.2 seconds remaining and 2 seconds to go in Klein's penalty to make it 3-1.
The Coyotes just couldn't protect the lead.
"Kind of dejected after the second," Smith said. "Turnovers and decision making. It's just the same mistakes over and over."
Kreider has points in 13 of 26 games and has scored a goal in 10 of them. ... Arcobello, claimed off waivers Feb. 11, has also played for Pittsburgh, Nashville and Edmonton this season. ... Gagner had one goal in his previous 12 games. ... Rangers leading scorer Rick Nash (neck spasms) returned after missing one game.
- Greg Kimmerly
- Steve Kozari
- Scott Cherrey