New York Rangers finding more ways to win in successful early road trip

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Oct 21, 2021; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; New York Rangers left wing Alexis Lafreniere (13) scores past Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros (74) during the third period at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers rattled off their third straight road win of the new campaign to improve to 3-1-1. They have picked up points in four straight after a disappointing season opening loss to the Washington Capitals.

So far, the Blueshirts have played just one game in the friendly confines of Madison Square Garden. That contest saw the team have a difficult first period, but then surge to tie in the second. Unfortunately, they fell in OT but Igor Shesterkin was outstanding and hasn’t left the net since.

New York hit the road in Montreal to deal with an absolute raucous crowd. It was a tight contest with Alexis Lafreniére breaking a tie midway through the third for the team’s first win. They then found a way to earn points in Toronto thanks to Shesterkin stealing a win.

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New York Rangers find way to win a gritty and nasty game

Last night, Lafrenière scored the tiebreaking goal with 9:07 remaining in the third period and giving the Blueshirts a spirited 3-1 victory over the Nashville Predators on Thursday night.

Filip Chytil scored, Barclay Goodrow tallied into an empty net in the final seconds and Sammy Blais set up both goals for the Rangers, who survived going 0-for-4 on the power play and hitting three posts in the opening 40 minutes. The Rangers also had a goal by defenseman Ryan Lindgren negated when Nashville challenged an offsides call.

Igor Shesterkin turned in another strong performance by stopping 28 shots in a game that featured plenty of hard hits and scoring chances.

It was undoubtedly the nastiest game the Blueshirts have been involved in to date. From the onset, the Predators wanted to play the body and make life miserable for their opponent. There was even a dirty elbow to the face of Blais early in the second, but that only made the Rangers more aggressive in response.

“Gritty, gritty effort tonight,” coach Gerard Gallant said. “Tonight, for me, was the toughest game we’ve played so far this season. Everybody battled for ice, both teams. I thought Nashville was real good. I thought we competed hard. I thought it was a gritty, gritty game and we came out on top.”

Rangers getting secondary scoring

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Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers top line was kept off the scoresheet, despite hitting several posts. That didn’t matter because it was the line of Chytil – Lafrenière – Blais that combined for two goals and three assists.

Lafreniere scored by finishing off a terrific passing sequence that came after a defensive play by Fox. Fox intercepted a pass by Nashville defenseman Alexandre Carrier near the neutral zone, sped through the offensive zone and whipped a pass to Blais through the slot.

When Saros went down to anticipate the save, Blais quickly backhanded the puck to Lafreniere, who finished it off by hammering a wrist shot from the left circle into the vacated left side of the net.

“I just like to be out there when the game is tight,” Lafreniere said. “It was a good game tonight, really physical. In the third period, we knew what we had to do. Like I said, I like to be out there in big moments. It was a real good play by [Fox] and [Blais], and I was lucky enough to score.”

What’s impressive is the Rangers have won all these road games without Ryan Strome (COVID Protocol) and Kaapo Kakko (IR), who left after one period in Montreal.

There is one area of their game that is lacking and it’s their power play. It is early, but the Blueshirts on the man advantage have scored just twice on 20 chances.

Which when you look at this Rangers team may just present a new way to win once they breakthrough.

NHL Recaps

All the NHL scores from the 10 games on the docket. Read here.

–Field Level Media contributed to this article

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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