Alexis Lafreniere dazzles for Rangers over Red Wings, Kaapo Kakko injured
The New York Rangers did not take a single shift for granted against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday afternoon. As the hometown fans did the wave in the stands, the Rangers made sure to play a full 60 minutes and get Igor Shesterkin his fifth shutout of the season.
It was a dominant performance from start to finish for the Blueshirts, who moved into a first-place tie with the Carolina Hurricanes in the Metro Division after another 4-0 win. The Canes are in Colorado to take on the league-leading Avalanche tonight.
“We look good, we look hungry,” Ryan Strome said on MSG. “We have to stay even keel and keep getting better.”
The only blemish on a perfect day was Kaapo Kakko suffering an apparent leg injury in the first period.
“Lower body– I don’t think it’s too serious,” Gerard Gallant updated. “We’re being cautious and I’ll know more tomorrow.”
Recap: Rangers 4 vs Red Wings 0
Alexis Lafreniere scored two goals and Igor Shesterkin made 20 saves in the New York Rangers’ second consecutive shutout, a 4-0 blanking of the visiting Detroit Red Wings on Saturday afternoon.
Lafreniere recorded the first multi-goal performance of his career after being a healthy scratch in New York’s previous game against Philadelphia. Shesterkin notched his fifth shutout of the season for the Rangers, who have won five of their last six games overall.
Mika Zibanejad and Frank Vatrano each scored a goal for New York (49-21-6, 104 points). Barclay Goodrow supplied two assists.
Thomas Greiss stopped 33 shots for Detroit (29-36-10, 68 points).
Shesterkin solid, first line dominant
Both of the previous games between these teams required overtime. Detroit won a shootout 3-2 in New York on Feb. 17 and the Rangers captured a 5-4 overtime victory in Detroit on March 30.
The third meeting, however, was dominated by the Rangers from start to finish.
A pair of delay of game penalties for flipping the puck over the glass — first by Greiss and then by Sam Gagner — gave the Rangers a 5-on-3 situation.
Zibanejad cashed in with his 28th goal of the season at 13:44 of the first period. He one-timed a shot from the left circle off a feed from Artemi Panarin. Chris Kreider picked up the second assist.
The Red Wings were fortunate to be down just 1-0 after the opening period after being outshot by a 17-3 margin.
A Red Wings turnover at center ice led to Vatrano’s goal — the 100th of his career — at 3:46 of the second period. Vatrano ripped a shot from the slot that eluded Greiss. Zibanejad and Adam Fox had the assists.
Lafreniere dazzles in the third period
The Rangers made it 3-0 on Lafreniere’s first point in nine games. He scored on a 2-on-1 situation off a feed from Goodrow at 4:37 of the third.
Lafreniere’s second goal of the game came at 14:17 on a backhander after some nifty stick work that included a deke through his legs.
“I saw [Larkin] go down to block my shot and I just tried to make a move around him,” Lafreniere said. “It went in so it was good to score that.”
For Lafreniere, it was the first time he scored two goals in an NHL game. Which is slightly emphasized coming off the heels of a healthy scratch.
“Good idea,” Gerard Gallant joked afterwards. “He looked like he was refreshed tonight. It was good to see and sometimes it works perfectly and tonight was perfect.”
“I felt pretty good,” Lafreniere explained after the scratch. “It was fine. [Gallant] told me that he wanted to rest me and I wasn’t playing my best hockey before today. I got to rest and I felt good tonight.”
- Igor Shesterkin stopped all 20 shots he faced for his 5th shutout of the year
- Frank Vatrano registered his 100th career goal
- Alexis Lafreniere recorded 2 goals after a rest, his first 2 goal game
- Barclay Goodrow notched 2 assists, he has 4 in last two games
- Mika Zibanejad set a career high for single season points with 77 in 76 games
Tomorrow (Sunday, April 17): Day Off
Next Game: Tuesday, April 19 vs. Winnipeg Jets (7:00 p.m. ET – TV: MSG)
*Schedule subject to change
Hurricanes and Avalanche battle
The Carolina Hurricanes and Colorado Avalanche will battle tonight with the Rangers keeping a close eye on the division leaders. Check out The Daily Goal Horn for the latest news and rumors. Read more.
–Field Level Media contributed to this article