Win number 7 in a row, Panarin’s 500th, 501st, 502nd, and 503rd NHL points, another two assist night for Ryan Reaves, and a good performance in goal by Alex Georgiev. This game quite literally had everything. I am ready to say it, I love this team.
For all of the narratives going into this season, this is the Rangers team that was promised. A team that could score, defend above average, and make stops in goal, giving the team a chance to win night-in and night-out. In years past, if the Rangers are down 2-1 to the Blackhawks like they were last night, they fold and most likely lose this game. This year, they come back and win 6-2.
This team is resilient, has elite players at key positions, signed and gives opportunity to the right role players, and dominates possessing the puck in long stretches. These are all encouraging signs. This isn’t just some PDO bender like the AV years; this is legitimately a good team. This start of 17-4-3 is the best start in the first 24 games in franchise history, if that doesn’t make even the most cynical of fans crack a smile, I don’t think you should watch hockey anymore.
While there were so many positives from tonight, a scary situation happened in the second. While in the defensive zone, Seth Jones threw a suicide pass into the skates of Jujhar Khaira, put his head down to find the puck and bang, Trouba laid him out. Cold. It’s not apparently a popular take according to the discourse on Rangers Twitter, but I didn’t see anything morally or ethically wrong with this hit. If Khaira has his head up, this is a normal hit to separate a player from the puck. The result was far worse of an outcome because Khaira has his head down and doesn’t see Trouba coming. I do genuinely hope for Khaira’s sake that he’s okay all the same though, at the time of writing this, there is still no update other than he was taken to the hospital to be evaluated.
Another story line that was nagging for many years was when were the Rangers going to get a 4th line that could actually produce some offense and play some incredible puck possession. Well, they’re here folks. This is the best 4th line the Rangers have had since the 2013-14 Boyle-Moore-Carcillo/Dorsett 4th line. Ryan Reaves did a between the legs pass assist tonight to Adam Fox for crying out loud! This is not only the best 4th line in New York hockey, but in all of the NHL. Debate a wall on that.
When you have a 4th line that will actually chip in on offense multiple times in a game, you know you have something cooking going forward. This is a fun team ladies and gentleman. Tonight will be a tremendous test when the Avalanche come to town. Will Georgiev play back-to-back? Will Adam Huska make his debut and do to the Avs what other team’s 4th string goaltenders do to us? I’m just about crazy enough to want to know.
Oh, one more thing, Gerard Gallant better be getting some serious consideration for the Jack Adams.
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