Kakko and Fox Help Rangers Defeat Penguins

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After Sunday’s shootout loss to the Panthers, the Rangers were looking to get back in the win column against an injury-stricken Pittsburgh Penguins team. And thanks to Kaapo Kakko’s overtime winner, the Blueshirts got back into the win column with a 3-2 victory.

Kaapo Kakko – The 18-year-old came into this one with two goals in his last four games and is starting to look more and more comfortable in the NHL. Kakko would score two goals in this one, the game opener, and the game-winner to send the MSG crowd home happy.

Kakko’s first goal came on a breakaway in the first period. Brendan Lemieux made a hard pass up the ice to a streaking Kakko, who made a forehand-backhand move to beat Matt Murray and give the Rangers the early lead.

Kakko would end the night with the game-ender, recording his first multi-goal game in the NHL. After the Blueshirts were able to withstand a push by the Penguins in OT, Adam Fox rushed up the ice with Kakko and Pavel Buchnevich. Fox made a deft pass to Kakko, who finished the game with a tap-in into the back of the net for his sixth goal of the season.

This was arguably one of Kakko’s best games in his rookie campaign. Aside from scoring the two goals, Kakko was noticeable on the ice, showing his puck handling ability while being hounded in the corners, and even throwing a body check. Yes, it’s only been a little over a month since the Finnish Ranger made his NHL debut. But if what he’s done so far is an indication of what’s to come, the Rangers have a budding star on their hands.

Adam Fox – It seems like we’re writing about Adam Fox after every game, but that’s because he’s been that good with the Rangers. Fox scored his third goal of the season, finishing a gorgeous pass from Artemiy Panarin to give the Blueshirts a 2-0 lead at the end of the opening frame.

Fox did have a couple of giveaways in this one, which will be cleaned up as he continues growing in the game. But when you watch Fox play, you see a smooth-skating, offensively gifted, defensively responsible player; in other words, the perfect defenseman for today’s NHL. Fox has been the team’s best defenseman this season and has got his NHL career off to about as good a start as anyone would’ve wished for.

“I knew (Kakko) came behind me there, and if they didn’t let me get to the middle, I was probably gonna drop it behind. But they let me go there, and then I just saw him come on the back door.”

Adam Fox – Vince Mercogliano Twitter

Second Period Disappearance – The Rangers started the game with an abundance of energy, smothering the Penguins for a majority of the opening 20 minutes. However, when the team came out for the second period, it was all Penguins, as the visitors tied the game. The Blueshirts are still a young team figuring things out, but having a drop in energy for an extended period of time is not a recipe for success in the NHL.

Alexandar Georgiev – The Rangers netminder was strong in this one, making 30 saves on 32 Pittsburgh shots. Georgiev made a last-second save on Brian Dumoulin to send the game to the extra period, as well as a sliding save on Malkin early on. Georgiev has been strong so far this season, as the Rangers continue to split the ice time between the young Belarusian and the veteran Swede Henrik Lundqvist.

Next Game: The Rangers head south to Tampa Bay for a matchup with the Lightning on Thursday night. Puck drops at 7!


And just because that GWG was so nice, here it is again from ice level.

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