Five great New York Rangers moments in the 2021-2022 regular season

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Apr 12, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers players celebrate the 50th goal of the season by left wing Chris Kreider (20) against the Carolina Hurricanes during the third period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers had a phenomenal year and we’re going to celebrate it with five great moments from the 2021-22 regular season.

We start with an early character win over the Ottawa Senators that established their identity. Before the season was over, the Blueshirts would record 27 victories by virtue of a comeback.

New York Rangers first of many comeback wins

Rangers 3 vs Senators 2: October 23, 2021

While the Rangers were still defining themselves under Gerard Gallant a dramatic comeback would highlight their resiliency. Down 2-0 on the road against the Ottawa Senators, the Blueshirts scored three times in a span of 3:20 late in the third.

Chris Kreider started the comeback with a PP goal. Ryan Lindgren would tie the game on a slam dunk in front, and Barclay Goodrow deflected in the eventual winner.

“After the second period, we knew we weren’t playing the best,” said Goodrow. “We knew that we were going to have to string together a good 20 (minutes) to even have a chance to tie it up or come out with the win, so I felt like we really put our work boots on in the third period.”

The win was exciting, but the significance it had on the team’s season was even more important.

Igor Shesterkin records back-to-back shutouts

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Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Rangers 4 vs Red Wings 0: April 16, 2022
Rangers 3 vs Jets 0: April 19, 2022

Igor Shesterkin had a monster season that was capped with his first Vezina Trophy. Late in April, he posted back-to-back shutouts by stopping 51 shots over Detroit and Winnipeg. Those were his fifth and sixth goose eggs too highlight an amazing campaign.

Shesterkin, 26, posted a 36-13-4 regular-season record and led the Rangers to the Eastern Conference Final. His .935 SV% and 2.07 GAA were tops in the league for both categories.

“It’s good to play on the New York Rangers, incredible feelings,” Shesterkin said at the NHL Awards Show. “I would like to thank Rangers fans. It was my dream to play in the NHL and to play in front of you at MSG was incredible.”

Alexis Lafreniere dazzles with spectacular goal

Rangers 4 vs Red Wings 0: April 16, 2022

Alexis Lafreniere scored twice in a game for the first time in his NHL career on April 16. Coming off a healthy scratch and facing the Detroit Red Wings, he slipped a through-the-legs deke on Dylan Larkin, went wide and roofed a backhand over a lunging Thomas Greiss.

“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.”

It was the best goal of his career and maybe the best goal of the Rangers season. The fact that it was coming in his first game back from a scratch certainly added to the drama.

“I made a decision the other night to rest Laffy. Not because he’s played bad hockey,” Gallant explained. “He looked like he was refreshed tonight. It was good to see and sometimes it works perfectly and tonight was perfect.”

Lafreniere finished his sophomore season with 19 goals and 31 points in 79 games. He’s expected to play a much bigger role this upcoming season.

New York Rangers clinch playoff berth

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Tom Horak-USA TODAY Sports

Rangers 5 vs Senators 1: April 9, 2022

The New York Rangers had an opportunity to clinch their first playoff berth since 2016-17 and did so in a dominant performance. In the process, the Blueshirts also hit the 100 point mark.

“That was our primary goal coming into the season,” Kreider said.

The Rangers would finish second in the Metropolitan Division behind the Carolina Hurricanes. Their final record was 52-24-6 for 110 points.

“I think somewhere around Christmas when we were playing really well, I think we went 11-1, or something in that area,” Gallant explained. “We were playing the right way. At that time they looked at each other and said, ‘I think we’ve got something special’, and it’s a good group of guys having a lot of fun.”

Chris Kreider scores 50

Hurricanes 4 vs Rangers 2: April 12, 2022

Kreider, 31, became only the fourth Ranger in team history to reach 50 goal in a single season tying him with Vic Hadfield (50, Adam Graves (52) and Jaromir Jagr (54).

It wasn’t the way the Rangers or Kreider would’ve scripted it but scoring 50 goals is a big deal for this franchise. Unfortunately, when he put home a rebound past Freddy Andersen with 98 seconds on the clock, it was only to cut the deficit to one before losing to the Hurricanes 4-2.

“I think it’s awesome that he scored 50 goals,” Gallant said. “It’s too bad we had to lose when he scores his 50th, but hats off to him.”

“It’s hard after a game like that,” explained Kreider, who finished with 52. “I think it would mean a lot more if we found a way to win the game, but it’s something that I’ll appreciate. It’s just hard to appreciate right now.”

With the salary cap pinch on, the team had to watch Andrew Copp, Ryan Strome, and Frank Vatrano walk. The Rangers will be looking to Kreider and their other veteran scoring leaders more than ever next year.

NHL Trade Bait

Check out the latest NHL Trade Bait Tracker for the 2021-22 season. Now that Matthew Tkachuk has been traded, J.T. Miller is back atop the list. Find out the top 12 players likely to be traded between now and the trade deadline. Read more.

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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