Rangers recap: Rangers beat Canes

The Carolina Hurricanes were the first of many litmus tests for the New York Rangers last night. In previous years, the Hurricanes have always given the Rangers fits in the regular season, massively out shooting, out chancing, and out possessing. The Rangers found ways to win with their elite talent alone. But last night, something changed. The script flipped.

Something happened in this game though that hasn’t happened in a long time against the Hurricanes: The Rangers weathered the storm and actually went toe-to-toe with their system. Shots were 27-26 Hurricanes, both teams scored on the power play, and this definitely was a game of seeing which team was going to break either team’s “trap” style game.

In the end, the Rangers took this one in regulation thanks to goals by Chris Kreider and the game winner by rookie Will Cuylle.

First things first, let’s hope that both Adam Fox and Filip Chytil were both held out for precautionary reasons. Perhaps we need an honest discussion that the Canes are a sneaky dirty team. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Rangers get hurt due to questionable plays by the Canes. I’ve never seen so many errant sticks flying around and non-calls on those errant sticks.

Even Jacob Trouba in the post game called out Sebastian Aho for injuring Fox with a knee-on-knee injury, and not answering the bell when challenged throughout the night by the Rangers. Trouba said of the situation, “I gotta fight every time I do something, so he should probably have to answer for it too.” And you know what? He isn’t wrong.

Onto the positives, how about that Chris Kreider? Other than Alex Ovechkin or Leon Draisaitl, is there anyone more automatic on the powerplay? Kreider has now tied Andy Bathgate for 4th all time in Rangers goal scoring with 272 career goals. To say how crazy it is to have watched his whole career to this point and that he has cemented himself as one of the greatest Rangers ever is just an incredible feeling as a fan.

Remember that for years his consistency was notoriously lacking. We often forgot that he didn’t hit 30 goals until the 2021-22 season. But thanks to his longevity in this organization due to hard work, a willingness to become a better player, and what is now arguably one of the biggest steals of a contract in NHL history, we are potentially looking at the player who will break Rod Gilbert’s record. Kreider’s number is likely headed to the rafters one day.

With two key injuries, Will Cuylle and Igor Shesterkin really stepped up their games. Cuylle scored his first career game winning goal off a beautiful net front pass by Trouba (after making “defenseman” Tony DeAngelo look silly). He plays an extremely heavy brand of hockey with his ability to forecheck and finish his checks every play. Then you see the hands on the goal he scored and the power in his shot. He is going to be a solid NHLer for years.

In net, Shesterkin was once again brilliant with 26 saves on 27 shots. It’s not a hard argument to make that previous Ranger teams likely don’t win this game. Shesterkin has usually been peppered by the Canes to the tune of 35+ shots regularly, and while he usually answers the call, seeing 27 must have been nice for him.

The Rangers coaching staff has done a tremendous job at acclimating to this roster and proving that structure trumps all facets of this game. With an 8-2 record, this has to be one of the best starts in recent memory. This team is going places. =


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