rangers recap

What a gutsy win for the New York Rangers in Denver against the team with the best home record in the NHL. From a very slow, and methodical first period where both teams had 6 shots each, to a much more wide open game about halfway through the second, this once again had the makings of a playoff game.

Stellar Shesterkin

Igor Shesterkin put on a show, and it looks like he’s playoff ready. He went full sicko mode, stopping 38 of 40 and stopped all his shootout attempts. The juxtaposition of this Igor vs what we saw in January is remarkable. He was simply spectacular.

When the games start slow, there’s always concern that Shesterkin can stay locked in. Goalies, after all, prefer a lot of action early to get them into the game. Fewer touches and many stoppages hurt the flow and can sometimes be detrimental to a goalie. Igor was dialed in though, even with the slow start, stopping 32 of 34 in the final two periods.

Of the two goals, only one was a “clean” goal from Casey Mittlestadt off the rush. The other was a bit of a fluke and some miscommunication that resulted in Ryan Lindgren accidentally scoring on Shesterkin. It was a freak play, but it did tie the game and forced the Rangers to miss out on another regulation win, getting the second point in the shootout.

Kreider inches closer

What’s a close Ranger game without a power play goal as well courtesy of Chris Kreider in his office? He now is one goal away from 300 in his career, and 10 power play goals away from tying the franchise lead with Camille Henry, and 108 away from the Rangers goal record held by Rod Gilbert.  Kreider had gone 5 games without a goal and had just one goal in 9 games, so it looked like he was due.

Chris Kreider is an interesting topic most nights, as it feels like there are just no normal opinions on him as a player. He’s either a favorite because he scores timely goals, or he frustrates to no end with the perception of taking shifts off here and there. The man’s talent is undeniable though, and the Rangers have really benefitted from his net front presence.

Defense wakes up

On three separate occasions last night, a Rangers defenseman was hurt and had to leave the ice for repairs: Chad Ruhwedal slammed into the boards on a back check, K’Andre Miller had a mystery injury, and Adam Fox got a puck to the face in the final minutes of the third. All but Fox returned to the ice, and Fox was on the bench in overtime.

Depth wins championships. The Rangers, still with Jacob Trouba and Erik Gustafsson out, are doing the next man up act on defense and still getting results. It gives the Rangers the ability to keep injured players out longer to fully heal, Lindgren notwithstanding, apparently.

With 9 games remaining on the schedule, the Rangers are within striking distance of single season wins record of 53 from the 2014-15 President’s trophy year. They also have a commanding hold on the President’s Trophy race, with the Dallas Stars (101 points) as the only other team with triple digit points. Hopefully the Rangers clinch early and they can rest players down the stretch.


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