A Rangers President's Trophy would ba a blessing

There are hockey games, and then there are hockey games that really feel like they propel a season into something great. This Stadium Series win over the Islanders was the latter. It wasn’t perfect, there were clear issues, but they found a way to win after being down 4-1 and 5-3. The Rangers’ big guns delivered with Vincent Trocheck, Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad, and Artemi Panarin all coming up huge.

But first, we must mention the incredible change and competence behind the bench. Peter Laviolette took a risk, pulling Igor Shesterkin with 5 minutes remaining, down 2, and on the powerplay. This naturally led to Kreider’s goal to make it 5-4. The Isles were the gift that kept giving the Rangers powerplay chances, and Zibanejad made them pay with a little over a minute remaining.

Then just 10 seconds into overtime, Panarin made a great individual effort to force the turnover in the slot and wait out Ilya Sorokin while Noah Dobson took the net out. The goal counted. The refs made the right call. And that, as they say, is that.

The game started off on the right foot, with Matt Rempe –making his NHL debut– challenging Matt Martin. He went toe to toe with the seasoned boxer hockey player. Rempe the actual hockey player seemed to do alright in his 4th line duties as well, as he and fellow rookie Adam Edstrom both play a pretty hard forechecking game.

One thing is for certain this year with the Wolf Pack call-ups, they seem to come into the lineup and actually make impact on the game. This was not always the case in years past. We’ll see how much longer Rempe will remain with the NHL club, but sign me up for a few more games to see if we’ve got something here as a bottom six player.

The 6-5 score really highlighted both the defensive struggles and poor goaltending from both teams last night. It makes sense with outdoor venues that it will be harder to track pucks with the sun reflections and odd shadows. But for Shesterkin, it’s frustrating that the offense has really had to bail out some pretty shaky goaltending performances this year.

With the deadline coming, hopefully Chris Drury is targeting guys who will be heavy forecheckers and help with the defensive side of the puck, because it was really sloppy in the Rangers zone at times. At one point, the shots were 41-22 Islanders. That can’t happen.

Returning to the positive, the Panarin-Trocheck-Lafrenière line showed up yet again at 5v5. Trocheck had 2 goals and an assist, Lafrenière had 2 assists, Panarin had 2 assists and the game winning goal. This line has been a revelation all year, and time and time again, they prove they are one of the best lines in the entire NHL.

With the win, Peter Laviolette finally got his first outdoor win, and the Rangers improved to 5-0; the only team to win 5 outdoor games to this point. With the electric atmosphere, it certainly didn’t feel like it was a Rangers road game.


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