Vincent Trocheck

Coming off a brutal loss versus the Capitals the day before, the New York Rangers headed back home to the World’s Most Famous Arena looking to dethrone the Kings in a Sunday matinee. Old friend Jonathan Quick started in net for the Kings, while Igor Shesterkin got the nod for the Rangers in an attempt for a rebound performance.

Starting off, it was quickly noted that Ryan Carpenter and Braden Schneider would not take the ice, although dressed and on the bench, due to injury and cap related situations. The Rangers started the game with 11 forwards and 5 defensemen. It would quickly get to 4 defensemen in the first period.

K’Andre Miller received a match penalty –and may get more– for spitting on Kings defenseman Drew Doughty following a video review in the first period. The initial video shows Miller spitting on Doughty in a scrum before a TV timeout and then was subsequently ejected, thus forcing the Rangers to play four defenseman the rest of the game. After the game, Miller noted that the whole incident was an accident and both he and Doughty had a productive conversation.

The pairs performed admirably as each defenseman logged well over 20 plus minutes TOI. Jacob Trouba led the way with 29:01, Ben Harpur had 28:04, Adam Fox logged his usual 25:57, and Niko Mikkola got 25:34. A sensational effort by this quartet.

Mika Zibanejad, who came back into the game in the 3rd period after taking a shot off the foot and seemingly looked severely injured, netted a goal and an assist as well as Artemi Panarin, who was active around all zones during the game. Shesterkin made 26 saves and kept his team in the game, rebounding nicely after being pulled against Washington. On the other end, Quick was pulled from the game after allowing three goals on seven shots, being replaced by backup Phoenix Copley.

A give and go pass between Kaapo Kakko and Alexis Lafreniere’s led to Laf’s 11th goal of the season, which put New York ahead 1-0. The play set up a sharp-angle shot that deflected in off Quick’s left leg and into the net. In the second period, Vincent Trocheck made it 2-0 during the second period when his pass intended for Chris Kreider redirected in off the stick of Kings defenseman Matt Roy. Trocheck struck again 95 seconds later, beating Quick to his right blocker on a rush to the high slot to give the Rangers a 3-0 lead.

The Kings came right back as Viktor Arvidsson used a crossbar length swing to knock in a power-play goal at 18:12 of the second to cut the deficit to 3-1. Matt Roy came speeding down the wing on a 2-1 with Phillip Danault to make it 3-2 game 1:27 into the third period with a wrist shot from the edge of the right circle.

The Rangers restored the two goal lead as Panarin would make it 4-2 by putting in his own rebound after Copley fell down and lost balance making the initial save. Zibanejad, with the whole MSG crowd chanting his name after coming back from injury, netted a rocket into the net past Copley for a power play goal to make it 5-2 and seal the victory.

Mika Zibanejad’s power play goal was his 18th of the season, which puts him behind only Leon Draisaitl, who has 23. Jonathan Quick this season has allowed three or more goals in 21 of 31 games, including the three on seven shots on goal this game. Adam Fox’s two assists marked his ninth game with multiple assists as well as his 13th contest with multiple points this season.

The Rangers next game is March 1st in Philadelphia to take on the Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center. Expect Patrick Kane to be in the lineup for that one.


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