Vesey does it! New York Rangers down Devils to extend point streak to 11 games

NHL: New York Rangers at New Jersey Devils
John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

It was safe to say that Saturday night at the Prudential Center was one of the most hyped regular-season games between the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils in a while. With the Rangers having last played 6 days ago, and a playoff rematch against their Hudson River rivals, it was a big deal.

After being knocked out by the team across the water last year in a hard fought 7 game series, this game was definitely going to be looked at as a good measuring stick for this squad. Coming in with an 11-2-1 record, some have questioned the strength of the Rangers schedule, and this was an opportunity to put those questions to rest.

And to rest they did, roaring back in the third period for a 5-3 victory over the Devils.

I like the fact our guys stuck with it down by a goal in the third,” coach Peter Laviolette noted. “Shesterkin made some big saves down 3-2, and our guys stayed with the plan and eventually tied it up and pushed ahead.”

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New York Rangers 5 vs New Jersey Devils 3

NHL: New York Rangers at New Jersey Devils
John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

From the initial puck drop, you could tell this game was going to be filled with the intensity that a lot of people thought it would have. Even though there were not too many high danger chances off the jump, the first 5 minutes were filled with free flowing and spirited hockey. Anyone and everyone knew the top two power play units in the league would have something to say before it was all over.

With Alexander Holtz off for a tripping penalty at the 7:22 mark, the Rangers first power play unit controlled the zone before Artemi Panarin finished off a sweet cross ice pass from Vincent Trocheck to put the Blueshirts up 1-0. For the Breadman, he now extends his season-opening point streak to 15 games.

The teams went back and forth trading goals starting with Jack Hughes less than a minute later. Jimmy Vesey would notch his first of the evening off a nice set up by Zac Jones and Braden Schneider. Meanwhile, the Devils power play would respond with a goal of their own by Ondrej Palat to tie the score at 2 each. Igor Shesterkin, who had not played since 11/2, appeared rusty and likely should have had the first one by Hughes for sure. On that goal, the puck crossed the line after the ref blew his whistle, but once again video review would work against the Rangers.

Even if the second period did not match the first period on the scoreboard, it definitely matched it in intensity and scoring chances for both teams. The period really opened up after the Rangers could not convert a 3 on 1 opportunity that saw Lafreniere whiff on a golden opportunity set up by some nifty passing between Panarin and Trocheck.

Both teams aren’t known for their physical play, but in this contest they certainly let each other know they were there. Jacob Trouba laid a brutal, but completely clean, hit on Tomas Nosek that knocked him out of the game and Ryan Lindgren took a another big hit by Michael McLeod that was called a 5-minute major on the ice but then overturned by, you guessed it, video review.

The Devils came out of the locker room to start the 3rd period strong and Erik Haula buried a loose puck in front of the net to take the lead. While struggling to find their game offensively over the next few minutes, the Rangers were handed a power play when the Devils were called for having too many men on the ice. Although the Rangers did not score, they seemed to find a spark immediately after as their play picked up.

At the 11:01 mark, the Rangers had an offensive zone face off and Panarin gathered a loose puck to snipe one over Vitek Vanecek’s left shoulder. It was a goal only a few people in the league could score, and one very fitting for the type of year the man has had.

“We were resilient and fought back” Trocheck said after his 3 assist performance. “That’s a good hockey team over there. A big win for us.”

Following this goal, the game seemed to be destined to play for longer than the 60 regulation minutes. But with just under 3 minutes left in the game, Vesey came in like a prized ballroom dancer, and spun his way to a beautiful back handed goal. It was his second of the game and the eventual game-winner. Blake Wheeler would seal the deal soon after with an empty netter.

“We had some strong moments,” Vesey said of his line. “First period was big for us tonight and we got rewarded. Coach had some faith in us late going against their top line.”

Rangers Notes

  • The Rangers are riding an 11 game point streak (10-0-1)
  • Igor Shesterkin stopped 30 of 33 shots
  • Artemi Panarin now holds the NYR record with a 15 game point streak to start the season
  • Vincent Trocheck recorded 3 assists
  • This was the Rangers 6th comeback win of the year

The team will be off on Sunday with their next scheduled game set for Monday on the road against the Dallas Stars. Puck drop is set for 8:00 p.m. ET.

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