Rangers recap: Chris Kreider leads the Rangers over Buffalo.

What a start to the season for your New York Rangers. From the moment of puck drop until the final buzzer, it was clear the Rangers were dialed in for this game. Congratulations to new Rangers coach Peter Laviolette winning his opening night behind the bench, and a huge congrats to Igor Shesterkin for becoming the 7th fastest goaltender to 100 wins.

The talk of the preseason was the play of Alexis Lafrenière. It was clear that Laviolette was going to stick with this, and the faith ended up paying off. Lafreniere set the tone early with his first goal of the season off of a great feed from Artemi Panarin. Panarin may have been the key to unlocking both Lafreniere and Filip Chytil, as that line was an absolute smash last night. Just look at this chart!


The third line of Cuylle-Trocheck-Wheeler. That line did not score tonight, but Will Cuylle is just fearless. In only his 5th official NHL game, he was in every puck battle possible, he didn’t pass up an opportunity to land a nice check, and he even generated some great scoring opportunities off the rush.

Outside of individual players, much digital ink was spilled here about the Rangers breakouts and zone exits, and boy last night was night and day from last season. The breakouts and zone exits were textbook, and when defending a 3-0 lead, the Rangers executed the 1-3-1 system Laviolette preaches almost perfectly. This is so refreshing from the previous regime that seemed to just be very okay with running the same system over and over again no matter the score.

With the Rangers dominating most of the puck throughout the game, it made Igor Shesterkin’s job way easier. Even when they were up 3-0, they didn’t shell, they didn’t concede the blue line, they kept most of the Sabres scoring chances to the outside, and didn’t give up too many high danger chances. The one goal the Sabres got was off a broken play, but it didn’t cause the Rangers to waver from their game. They continued to execute the system.

Laviolette adjusted throughout the game and the aggressiveness was eye opening. Not to make this article all about Lafrenière, but he was even doing drives to the net while possessing the puck! When in the last 4 years on this team has he (or anyone else) done that consistently? The defense also is learning that almost John Tortorella style defense, because the Rangers willingness to block as many shots as they did tonight was a team that is obviously buying what Laviolette is selling.

It’s only been one game, but what a game it was. Buffalo is no push over and has a high powered offense. The Rangers shut them down completely while putting together a solid offensive performance. This shouldn’t be a fluke, and we will hopefully see that this is the theme and identity of this Rangers team.


Mentioned in this article:

More About: