New York Rangers find new gear at home and give Panthers first loss of season

rangers panthers
Nov 8, 2021; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider (20) is congratulated by his teammates after scoring a goal in the first period against the Florida Panthers at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers hosted the Florida Panthers on Military Appreciation Night. It was a wonderful event where they honored military service men and women in attendance.

When it was said and done, the Blueshirts saluted the crowd with a spirited performance over the NHL’s best team.

Recap: Rangers 4 vs Panthers 3

The first period saw both teams exchange scoring chances. A bit uncharacteristic for the defensively sound Panthers.

Patrik Nemeth went off for interference to put the Rangers shorthanded just 4:55 in. However, it was the Rangers that carried the play shorthanded, something that would matter even more later. Before the penalty was killed, Carter Verhaeghe was called for hi-sticking Ryan Lindgren.

Mika Zibanejad
Nov 8, 2021; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (93) controls the puck in the second period against the Florida Panthers at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

On the ensuing PP, it was the Blueshirts’ aggressiveness that led to a Mika Zibanejad tip that Spencer Knight saved. Yet there was Chris Kreider, who has been a beast in front, corral the puck and lifting it over the prone goalie for a 1-0 lead 7:52 into the first.

The Panthers then started to come on after that goal and outshot the Rangers for the period. There was a scary moment when Anthony Duclair barreled over Igor Shesterkin and he was shaken up. He lost his stick on the play but stayed in the game.

Kevin Rooney was called for an unsportsmanlike penalty when he cross-checked Frank Vatrano into the boards. All that did was setup what could be the Rangers best goal of the season so far. Zibanejad gained the line and dumped it to Barclay Goodrow at the boards. He found a trailing Adam Fox, who dazzled his way in for a shorthanded goal with just 6 ticks on the clock.

The second period saw the Panthers crank up the physical play, in particular on Shesterkin. During another flurry, two Panthers went hard into Igor, who managed to keep the puck out. Despite the rough stuff in the Rangers crease, the Panther eluded a penalty.

It looked like the Rangers grabbed a 3-0 lead midway through when Kaapo Kakko found Artemi Panarin for a goal. However, a borderline goalie interference led to a challenge which Florida won to keep the score at 2-0 Blueshirts.

That seemed to spark the team and on a 4 on 4, the Rangers scored 2 goals in 30 seconds. First it was defenseman K’Andre Miller, who finally decided to use his speed and reach to score a gorgeous goal cutting in front.

“I’ve been watching a lot of McDavid film,” Miller said with a smirk afterwards. “Trying to emulate that into my game.”

Then a turnover in the neutral zone led to Jacob Trouba hitting Panarin with a pass at the red-line. Finding another gear he came in 2 on 1 with Ryan Strome, who put it into a yawning net for a 4-0 lead 13:18 into the second.

The third period started with a Panthers goal just 20 seconds in. Eetu Luostarinen put home a loose puck with bodies laying on top of Shesterkin. Gerard Gallant thought about a challenge and likely would’ve won it, but opted not to take the risk up 4-1.

Shesterkin was bombarded for most of the third period and finally vented his frustrations at the refs after a Panthers player was allowed several whacks at puck under his pad.

The Panthers then scored two goals in 56 seconds to give the Garden crowd a scare late. However, Shesterkin held his ground in a final flurry and the Rangers gave Florida their first regulation loss of the season.

“We took two points against a really good team – one of the best teams in the league right now,” Zibanejad said. “We’re happy about that.”

The head coach was none to pleased when it was over.

“No fun watching that,” Gallant said. “You win a game against an undefeated team and you don’t feel good about that win. I’ll take the 2 points but it’s not the way you’ve got to play hockey.”

Notable Rangers

  • Igor Shesterkin made 42 saves on 45 shots
  • Chris Kreider’s PPG gives him sole possession of 11th All-Time in NYR history with 64
  • The Blueshirts blocked 21 shots

Tomorrow (Tuesday, November 9): Day Off

Next Game: Saturday, November 13 at Columbus Blue Jackets (7:00 p.m. ET – TV: MSG)

*Schedule subject to change

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