Another day, another game where Igor Shesterkin puts on a clinic. Granted the team in front of him came through with four goals, they also took six minor penalties. That will not sit well with the coaching staff based on the types of penalties they were taking. But they came out with a big win and–at the time of this post–are tied for second place in the Metro division. The Hurricanes may very well run away with the division this year, but make no mistake, this Rangers team is fun to watch.
From the very beginning of the game, you knew we were in for a good one. Barclay Goodrow, who in my opinion has well been worth this year’s salary the last 2 months, got on the board at just over two minutes off a great read and pass from Jacob Trouba.
There has been much discourse about Goodrow, and for the contract length, at times it’s totally justified. My rebuttal however is this guy is having a career year and has shown at key times that he can be that depth ingredient they need in the playoffs. I don’t think we’ve seen Goodrow at his full strength yet.
This roster could also be enhanced by getting another player to compliment Goodrow’s skill sets, as both Morgan Barron and Julien Gauthier were healthy scratches to make way for an 11 forward and 7 defense roster. If Gerard Gallant is not a fan of Gauthier, hopefully the Rangers can capitalize on whatever value remains for the young forward. This may include packaging him to get that bottom six player that can produce, not just generate in vain. While that very likely is not what most want to hear, it may be the right call going forward. The deadline is fast approaching!
Speaking of fast, can you say vintage Chris Kreider performance? Two fantastic goals, including one where he used his speed to blow past Nate Schmidt and go forehand backhand on Connor Hellebuyck. It looked like early Kreider scoring goals off the rush, and was a delight to see again.
Kreider may very well win the Rocket Richard trophy and if he does, what a lasting statement to become the first Ranger to do it in over half a century. He might also simultaneously break that long, LONG streak without 60+ points scored by a Rangers draft pick. The last one to do that was Tony Amonte in 1992. Kreider may very well work his way into the top 5 Rangers goal scorers of all time if he keeps this up. He is currently at 215 and Bill Cook is number 10 with 229. Just an incredible athlete.
Last point of the night, penalties. The Rangers need to clean them up at 5 on 5, Winnipeg gave the Rangers zero problems, lots of possession, but most of the shots coming from the outside. At even strength, Shesterkin didn’t have to do much. It was while Winnipeg was on the power play that Igor really had to bring it, as Winnipeg generated a lot with the man advantage. The Rangers have both the goaltender this season and the PK personnel to weather the storm, but that is not necessarily a recipe for success.
Igor for the Hart and Vezina though needs to be the story amongst anyone who says they seriously cover this sport.