Rout of the Penguins

The Rangers stars showed up in the rout of the Penguins, with Igor Shesterkin notching a shutout and each of the top six contibuting on the scoresheet. The big guns at the deadline have clearly become more comfortable and are fitting into this lineup with each passing day. It took Gerard Gallant some games to put together, but the lineup that has been iced this week when it comes to the forwards is the way. Now hope and pray on the backend that Ryan Lindgren is closer to returning than Gallant may be letting on, and lets go ring chasing in April.

Shesterkin was certainly a big part of the story last night. That little rut he was in is gone and he is back to his dominant self.┬áIgor really went into a self-reflection mode from his performances the last couple of weeks and has found his mojo during this “rivalry” week.

The Rangers secured 7 of 8 points in 4 division games, including 5 against the Penguins. The human element of this sport can be simple sometimes. I guess the Rangers just needed this type of week to use as a kick in the pants for motivation. Every one of these games has felt like a playoff game, and the intensity is there. Maybe it is as simple as being hard to wake up and come to the rink sometimes to play against the Canadiens, or the Senators, or for just 82 games in general.

Credit where credit is due, and Gallant deserves credit. There are a lot of personalities and egos on this team. Gallant has managed them all extremely well thus far. Even Kane being away from his buddy in Panarin, he’s not dogging it in the offensive zone playing with different linemates. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. He’s played his best games as a Ranger since being put together with them. Gallant could have easily just kept the lines as they were at the deadline, but he has found the correct combination of the forward group that will give them in my opinion the best chance to win playoff hockey.

The only line struggling of late is the Kid Line, which will eventually snap out of it. Hockey is streaky in general, and kids still figuring out the NHL level add another level to it. Other than that kid line the Rangers have 3 functioning lines right now that you really couldn’t ask more. They will only get better from here. Or at least, that is the hope.


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