New York Rangers dismantle angry Bolts in 6-3 victory
The New York Rangers kept up with their attention to details to start a hockey game and were rewarded with a 3-0 lead early. Then the Tampa Bay Lightning got angry and became physical but were met by an equally willing Blueshirts squad.
By the time the final buzzer sounded, the Rangers marched off the ice with several fighting majors and a 6-3 victory under their belt.
“It was a chippy game and I thought our team competed well,” Gerard Gallant said. “It’s about getting two points and trying to move up and seeing what happens.”
All in all, the contest featured bouts between Ben Harpur against Pat Maroon and Corey Perry, Braden Schneider versus Ross Colton, and Vincent Trocheck also taking on Perry. The teams combined for 70 penalty minutes (TB 42, NYR 28).
New York Rangers rock Bolts
The New York Rangers got things going early by scoring three goals in the span of 4:08 of the opening frame.
It began with Chris Kreider tipping a point shot from Vladimir Tarasenko to get the Garden Party started. For the longtime Ranger, he now holds sole possession of fifth place on the franchise’s all-time goal scoring list with 264.
When he was asked about the accomplishment, Kreider in typical fashion refused to talk about himself and simply said: “We’ve got St. Louis [on Thursday].”
A little over a minute later, Kaapo Kakko scored a laser wrister to notch goals in three straight games. Filip Chytil and K’Andre Miller assisted.
Showing off their balanced lineup, Tyler Motte caught Andrei Vasilevskiy by surprise with a quick snap shot from the boards to build a 3-0 lead.
Alex Killorn would respond just 19 seconds later with a power play goal and that’s when things really started getting chippy.
Corey Perry combined with a hit to squash Jacob Trouba leading to the Rangers’ captain falling face first on the ice. He would leave the game with an upper-body injury and is traveling with the team to St. Louis listed as day-to-day.
Pat Maroon continued the angry play by Tampa with a stick whack to Ben Harpur and then forcing him to fight near the end of the first.
The tactic appeared to be paying off as the refs started to let things go. An uncalled hold led to Darren Raddysh’s goal to cut the lead to 3-2. However, the Rangers seemed to have an answer for all the shenanigans taking place in the contest.
Motte would record his second of the game only 15 second later off a partial breakaway. Alexis Lafreniere and Barclay Goodrow picked up the helpers.
“We’re two teams with a little history dating back to last year,” Motte explained. “You have to play competitive down the stretch for sure. Two playoffs teams going at it.”
Now down 4-2, Tampa really leveled up on their nasty play. Once again it was Perry, who seemingly is always in the middle of these things. On a failed partial breakaway of his own, he purposely bumped Igor Shesterkin.
That was followed by another aggressive sequence as an Anthony Cirelli breakaway was stopped by Shesterkin but Brandon Hagel put home the loose puck a millisecond later.
There was some uncertainly if the goal went in since Shesterkin stopped it but was in the net and it needed a video review. That led to Killorn sticking Shesterkin in the groin and setting off a melee.
So the stage was set with the Rangers holding just a one goal lead. Would they wilt or would they respond? The answer came late in the second and all through the third.
Braden Schneider, who is stylistically a young version of Trouba, laid out Nick Paul with a clean hit. Ross Colton snapped and charged Schneider, which led to him being handed 17 minutes of penalties thus taking himself out of the game.
In the final frame the Rangers would not relent and started to run away with the game.
Adam Fox led Mika Zibanejad with a nice pass. The Rangers top center ventured into the slot and made a between the legs shot that rang off the post. As the puck spun in the crease, Kreider slammed it home for his 35th of the season
For Fox, he became the first Rangers defenseman since Brian Leetch to record back-to-back 70 point seasons.
Artemi Panarin would seal the deal with a rocket power play goal, his 26th of the season. Zibanejad added his third assist of the night.
Shesterkin registered his 36th win of the year, stopping 28 of Tampa’s 31 shots.
Prior to the game, Jacob Trouba was awarded the Rod Gilbert “Mr. Ranger Award”. The Rangers also went with 11 forwards and 7 defensemen because Patrick Kane was given a maintenance game off for a lower-body issue.