Kakko Shines But Rangers Fall To Oilers 4-1

Kakko 1st NHL goal (GETTY)

Kaapo Kakko was solid, including scoring his first NHL goal but Connor McDavid was better, as he led the charge and defeated the Rangers 4-1 at a matinee at MSG. Coming into the matchup, the Oilers were undefeated. New York was also undefeated but had not played since last Saturday in Ottawa. Here is our recap.

Before the game, the Rangers decided to forego a call up and dress Gregg McKegg, who slotted into the 4th line and filled the spot vacated by Vladislav Namestnikov.

Kaapo Kakko Does It! 

Just as the first period was winding down, Ryan Strome and Kappo Kakko had a give and go, which led Kakko behind the defense. He then put on a nice move to beat Oilers goaltender Mike Smith and beat him with his backhand. Kakko played well all afternoon and was incredibly noticeable on the ice. Social media had a field day with this goal, and the game hadn’t even ended, including one of our own.

Flat Like Stale Soda

A strong first period with the high of a Kaapo Kakko goal did not translate into the second and third periods of this game. The Rangers did not bring their A game, as Edmonton countered a flat first period of their own with two strong periods of hockey that buried the Rangers for good. Oilers Defenseman Oscar Klefbom tied the game at 6:45 as he fired a puck through the crease that beat Lundqvist for his first of the season. During this sequence, the Oilers were keen on possessing the puck in their own zone, winning puck battles against the Rangers and keeping them on their toes.

While the game was still tied at one, Henrik Lundqvist made several nice saves in the third to keep the game close, all while Edmonton had a flurry of chances. Artemi Panarin was stopped by Mike Smith on left side of the crease with a wide open net not too long after Matt Benning hit the post on the other end with just about five minutes to play. In the second, Panarin made a strong defensive play backchecking and breaking up an Oilers 2 on 0 rush.

Connor McDavid then got the go ahead goal on the power play at 9:44 of the third when he banked a puck off Jacob Trouba and past Lundqvist for his fourth of the season.Then at 6:42 left in the game, Leon Draisaitl scored to make it 3-1, knocking in a loose puck in front. Lundqvist looked like he had it in between his pads, but the referees did not blow the whistle and led to Draisaitl jamming away until it crawled in. The Oilers would add an empty netter courtesy of the previously mentioned Draisaitl with fifteen seconds left in the game. 

Outside of Panarin and Kakko, the Rangers looked off. Whether it was due to the week layoff or just couldn’t get anything going, nothing was working. They were passing up a lot of scoring opportunities and seemingly looked sluggish out on the ice for the second and third periods. It seemed as if they couldn’t control the puck and couldn’t get much going offensively. Many skaters seemed tentative and a lot of pucks were bouncing and dipping past Rangers sticks.

Henrik Being Henrik

Henrik Lundqvist was sensational in this game, even though it resulted in a loss. Doing as much as he can to keep the Rangers in it, he made 23 saves, including a clutch glove save against James Neal when it seemed Neal had an empty cage behind him.

Outside of seeing Kaapo Kakko score his first NHL goal, this was not a solid game for the Rangers. Many passed scoring chances, sloppy defensive play and an out of whack team collective performance. Although it is still early, this is a loss they will need to look at and improve on.

Next Game: The Rangers will travel across the Hudson and stop at the Prudential Center to take on the New Jersey Devils for the first time this season on Thursday. Puck drops at 7PM.


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