Rangers recap: Revenge in Toronto

A week after getting shelled by the Leafs on home ice, the Rangers went into Toronto and got revenge in convincing fashion. Igor was Igor again, Blake Wheeler and Erik Gustafsson each recorded 3 assists, Alexis Lafrenière broke his goalless streak, and the Rangers power play continued to hum along.

After the defensive/playoff like showdown in Boston from Saturday, a track meet with a 5-2 score just shows the Rangers can win many types of games. High quality scoring chances, elite goaltending, elite power play, and winning the shots battle showed what this team is capable of, even when dealing with key injuries.

The big story was Igor Shesterkin, finally looking like Igor again in the last couple of games. After a 6 game stretch where it was dicey to say the least, Igor has allowed just 3 goals and stopped 52 of 55 shots in his last two games. He has looked confident again.

Blake Wheeler has drawn the ire of many of Rangers fans, and it’s a bit odd. For a guy making $800K (close to league minimum), he has now scored 5 points in the last 3 games on the top line with Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad. Wheeler’s play has been fine, and it’s good to see he’s finally getting points. Seems the ire is because he’s not 26 year old Wheeler anymore.

Looking at Wheeler the human being, this is a completely new city, team, and system for him after 12 years in Winnipeg. For some players, that comfort will sometimes take a little to manifest itself into “good” play. Over the past couple of weeks though, Wheeler looks way more like himself and is making plays. Time, it seems, is all he needed.

Finally, there are not enough adjectives to describe how incredible the Rangers powerplay is. This game was fairly open, but the Blueshirts still went 2-for-2 against the Leafs with the man advantage. Alexis Lafrenière got the first one with a rip from the left circle off a Leafs defender, and Artemi Panarin continued his Hart worthy season with a power play goal of his own.

Having a second powerplay unit that can also put pucks in the net is pretty critical, as we’ve seen how PP1 can slow down at times. Peter Laviolette praised Lafrenière before the game, noting his lack of scoring was not reflective of his good effort on a nightly basis. Do the flood gates now open for Lafrenière? As with most things with this team, we can’t wait to find out!


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