New York Rangers pull off much needed character win against Bruins

NHL: New York Rangers at Boston Bruins
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Moving from one Garden to another last weekend proved successful for the New York Rangers. After a wide-open 7-4 win against the Bruins at MSG almost a month ago, Saturday’s 2-1 OT victory at TD Garden showed that the Rangers can come out on top in physical, low-scoring matchups too.

The past few weeks have seen the Rangers uncharacteristically stumble after an impressive stretch. Odd-man rushes against plagued them which was only compounded by Igor Shesterkin’s struggles in net, Simply put, he has not looked like the elite goalie that Rangers fans have come to know. However, Saturday’s vintage performance versus Boston was a confidence booster for the net minder and the team as a whole.

Related: Rangers come up with weekend sweep

Igor Shesterkin gives New York Rangers a big win

NHL: New York Rangers at Boston Bruins
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

It was Shesterkin who was tasked to face the Bruins after Jonathan Quick easily handled the bottom-feeding Anaheim Ducks on Friday 5-1. Igor had allowed 15 goals during his three game losing streak prior to the Bruins game. The Russian goalie looked calm, cool, and collected with 21 saves for the win.

During his losing streak Igor didn’t seem sharp in net with a lack of rebound control and allowing too many soft goals. Thankfully, Quick has been stellar so far this season, and Igor needed a strong performance to rebuild his confidence.

“I thought he was really good,” coach Peter Laviolette stated. “I thought our guys were sharp but you always need saves from your goaltender and he was really on point tonight. He played a heck of a game for us.”

Igor has carried the team throughout his career, and the Rangers will need him to be on top of his game to continue winning tight games.

Persistence on the power play

Special teams played a huge factor against the Bruins. Playing against one of the league’s top penalty kill units, the Rangers had numerous opportunities to score on the man advantage. After David Pastrnak’s 5-minute major boarding penalty on Ryan Lindgren, the Rangers started the third period with a three minute power play (due to an Artemi Panarin roughing call), but couldn’t convert.

On their sixth attempt, it was Vincent Trocheck who beat Jeremy Swayman off a give-and-go pass from Mika Zibanejad. The sneaky play was successful because the Bruins were focused on Zibanejad in the left circle and Chris Kreider’s presence in front of the net. The Rangers adapted to Boston’s penalty kill and found room on the ice to convert a crucial goal.

Vincent Trocheck coming up big

Since Filip Chytil’s injury against the Hurricanes on November 2nd, Vincent Trocheck has done it all for the Rangers. He has been the gritty 200 foot player the Rangers envisioned when they signed him to a long term contract to replace Ryan Strome.

Trocheck has centered Artemi Panarin and Alexis LafreniƩre which has been one of the most productive offensive lines in the entire NHL. He leads the league in face offs at 63.6% and has an impact on both sides of special teams.

Trocheck netted the game winner in overtime off a beautiful pass from Panarin to beat Swayman, who was excellent in net for Boston. It is players like Trocheck who are valued in these type of games. He is always in the mix after whistles, and seems to make the right play in tight games.

“I think it says a little bit more about our team from a grit, a togetherness, and all around just being able to stick with it being down a goal and stand up for one another,” Trocheck explained following the victory.

After a week and a half of doubts about the Rangers defense and goalie, the team proved the naysayers wrong by winning a playoff- style game against one of the league’s best. From Igor to the stars up front, this Rangers team has proven once again that they can win in any fashion.

“That’s a game that kind of brings the team together,” captain Jacob Trouba summed up. “It’s great for our team. It’s something we can build off of.”