Rangers Recap: Rangers top Tampa

In need of a bounce back win, the New York Rangers delivered with a strong win to close out the calendar year. From an Artemi Panarin hat trick, to a Vincent Trocheck 4 assist night, to a 34 save performance by birthday boy Igor Shesterkin, and you get a strong win against a good Tampa Bay Lightning Team.

Peter Laviolette said Shesterkin was the MVP of the game, and he was locked in, surrendering only a single goal against on 35 shots. That is on top of the MVP quality performances from Panarin and Trocheck last night.

It was Igor that kept the game within reach early, making a flurry of saves from puck drop as the Rangers got their legs under them. The difference between last night’s win despite the shots against and Friday night’s loss in Sunrise was the quality of chances against. Many of Tampa’s shots were from the perimeter, and Igor was able to do his job. The Rangers tightened up after giving up 12 high danger chances to Florida.

Up front, Artemi Panarin is the MVP of the Rangers this season. This was his fourth straight straight games with a goal, putting up a hat trick against Andrei Vasilevsky. His line dominated all night as well. Trocheck had four assists and Alexis Lafrenière had 2 assists.

The biggest change for Panarin this year is that he’s finally shooting, a welcomed sight after the last couple of years. With 23 goals in 35 games, he is on pace to shatter his regular season high of 32 set in the 2019-20 season. Judging by what we are seeing, this is a level of play that we haven’t seen from Panarin since his first season in New York.

On defense, it’s time Jacob Trouba got his due. He has been playing great all season long, and it seems he has put his wrist injury and rough 2022-2023 season behind him. It’s clear that when he’s healthy, he’s everything the Rangers thought they were getting. He’s not perfect and that contract is rough, but he’s been fantastic.

Trouba has been tasked as the Rangers shutdown defenseman with K’Andre Miller, and they are both executing pretty well. They won’t be perfect, but as a pair they’ve been solid. Trouba’s five blocks and overall tenacity on the ice is something we didn’t see last year. It looks like he’s fully healthy. And it’s making the Rangers look great.


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