Cooper heaps praise on Goodrow, who has a special night against former team


If there was a memorable night for a player from last night’s 4-3 win over the Lightning, it came from Barclay Goodrow. The interchangeable Rangers’ forward who was moved up by Gerard Gallant rewarded him by scoring a pair of goals.

That included a shorthanded goal during the second period. A play where Tampa backup Brian Elliott made his second mistake of the game. His turnover allowed Greg McKegg to help set up Goodrow in front for the shorthanded tally that gave the Rangers their first lead.

On an emotional night where the Lightning presented him with his championship ring and then showed a nice video tribute during a stoppage in the first period, Goodrow showed why the Rangers went out and got him. He would also score his second of the game to give his new team a 3-2 lead on a nice deflection with under seven minutes remaining in the third period.

Although they weren’t able to hold the one-goal lead due to Corey Perry putting in a rebound of a Steven Stamkos shot with just under two minutes left, it was Goodrow’s strong play that impressed former coach Jon Cooper. The Lightning bench boss paid him a nice compliment following a shootout loss at Amalie Arena.

“He meant so much to us on and off the ice,” Cooper said of Goodrow when speaking to Arthur Staple of The Athletic. “Did we want the two points? Of course. But if they were going to get them and Goody was going to score two, I can live with that.”

Even Goodrow felt pretty shocked by his good luck facing the team he helped win consecutive Stanley Cups with.

“It’s one of those moments where you’re thinking, ‘What is this life?’” the veteran forward said. “It’s something beyond my wildest dreams. Being able to score a couple goals to top it all off — there was a lot of good things that happened today.”

For Goodrow, he continues to fill whatever role Gallant asks of him. Whether it be moving up to the second line with Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome or sliding down to play on the fourth line while providing good penalty killing and energy, Goodrow does it without a fuss.

The 28-year old Toronto native is up to six goals and seven assists for 13 points in 32 games thus far. Even if he does get paid a lot ($3.64 million AAV) per year, Goodrow is a high character player who brings intangibles. Never a big scorer, his tenacity and grit are what make him successful.

In 55 games last year, he tallied six goals and 14 assists for 20 points. The key secondary scorer added six points (2-4-6) in the playoffs while playing on the third line with former Bolts Yanni Gourde and Blake Coleman. All three now play for different teams with both Coleman and Goodrow cashing in via unrestricted free agency. Gourde was taken by Seattle in the Expansion Draft.

With still over half a season left to be played in the 2022 calendar year, Goodrow is two goals away from matching his career high in ’19-20. The 26 points (8-18-26) he put up with both San Jose and Tampa are a career best. He hit 20 points for the second time last season. He could be on his way to a third straight year of 20 points or more.

Goodrow also doesn’t shy away from hits. He has 61 so far while also blocking 23 shots. He also has taken his share of face-offs. In fact, he’s already took more this season than last year. Goodrow has won 49.0 percent of draws by going 173-and-180.

That’s the kind of hard-working player he is. It’s exactly why Team President and GM Chris Drury sent a ’22 seventh round pick to the Lightning last off-season to negotiate a new contract to get Goodrow signed. His addition along with Ryan Reaves and Dryden Hunt helped the Rangers establish more grit on their secondary lines. A healthy balance to go with their skill.

He won’t have to wait long to see his former teammates again. The Lightning visit The Garden tomorrow afternoon on January 2 in the first game of 2022 for both teams. If it’s anything like Friday night, it should be interesting.

About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of New York administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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