Another game, another great win for the New York Rangers, and a 9th straight game securing at least a point. A textbook bounce back game from the shootout loss to Minnesota. Taking a commanding 5-0 lead into the 3rd period, a desperate Detroit team made it a tad interesting, but despite the momentary lapses, the Rangers held on.
The third period did not take away from the overall performance of the team, and there was an odd comfort, even after Detroit made it 5-3. Chris Kreider continues his goalscoring ways with his 9th of the season, Artemi Panarin had another 2 point game, extending his point streak to 12 games, Will Cuylle got another goal and was all over the ice, and Trocheck had 2 beauties.
You want balance? There was some tremendous balance in the win. Oh, don’t forget, the team is missing its best defenseman and 2C. Could have fooled me.
It’s time to praise Alexis Lafrenière, who got a beautiful assist on the Panarin goal. Forechecking aggressively, he won a puck battle behind the net, and passed it out to a wide open Panarin. Lafrenière is a stud. I (and many others) absolutely owe him an apology. I let the last few seasons taint my view of him.
Peter Laviolette could be the best thing to happen to Lafrenière’s career. On multiple shifts, Laf was making Detroit’s defenders look silly with great dekes and great chances to score and set up plays. More and more, he looks like a first overall pick. The connection that he and Panarin have cooked up for this season is going to be the stuff of legends.
On a related note, since he’s thriving with Lafreniere, Panarin is 2 games away from tying the Rangers record held by Rod Gilbert for consecutive games with a point to open a season. Would be something to see that broken.
No team is complete in this kind of win without a good performance from the goaltender. Jonathan Quick has put his preseason struggles behind him and was again solid in net. Quick’s play thus far has ensured there is no need to rush Igor Shesterkin back from injury. Quick has made the transition to backup quite well, which as we’ve seen can be a difficult transition.
Vincent Trocheck was moved up and play with Panarin and Lafrenierefollowing the Filip Chytil injury, and the trio picked up where they left off last season before being broken up. This trio looks much better in a 200 foot game in Laviolette’s system than they did last year with Gallant. It also helps that Trocheck got all of his posts out of his system last season. He was close to a hat trick late in the third, but couldn’t get the third into an empty net with Detroit swarming.
If the Rangers continue playing like this when fully healthy, watch out.