March 31, 2021

New York Rangers finish March strong and beat Capitals 5-2

Mar 30, 2021; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox (23) celebrates his go ahead goal against the Washington Capitals in the third period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Al Bello/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

It took the Rangers basically two months but they have climbed into the East Division playoff race. On the strength of the phenomenal play of Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, Ryan Strome, and Adam Fox the Blueshirts close the month of March with a 9-6-1 record.

Rangers vs Capitals: Panarin leads comeback over Washington

The Rangers entered the third period down to the Capitals again by a score of 2-1. New York had yet to win a game when trailing going into the final stanza with an 0-10-0 record. Then Artemi Panarin got on his rocket and led another four goal third period charge that this time didn’t fall short.

Panarin finished the game with a goal and two assists as the Rangers beat the Caps 5-2. Last season’s MVP finalist has 32 points in 24 games missing 11 contests this season with an injury (2) and a leave of absence (9) brought on by false allegations from a former KHL coach. The Blueshirts remain 5 points out of the last playoff spot held by Boston who beat the Devils 5-4 in a shootout last night.

After the game Panarin deflected praise for himself and pointed to Filip Chytil for scoring a great goal to get the team going. “Fil’s goal really helped,” he said. “He did a good job. And then it allowed us to wake up.” Then he focused on the star of the second period who made 10 saves to keep them in it. “[Igor Shesterkin] is giving us confidence to play and come back from these types of situations,” Panarin concluded.

“It’s certainly nice to draw from that experience where we know we can be a good third-period team and score goals,” Rangers coach David Quinn said. “Anytime you can turn the clock back and draw from experience, especially something that happened so recently, it gives you more confidence to do it. I think our guys had that in the back of their minds.”

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Notable Rangers

Igor Shesterkin was the difference between this game and last one versus the Capitals. He stood on his his head stopping 10 this period shots and has now beaten Washington all three times he’s faced them in his career. The Blueshirts need to ride their number one goalie as much as possible if they hope to get into post-season action.

Two young Rangers helped get the team going last night with Kaapo Kakko scoring a beautiful tic-tac-toe goal to tie the game to start the third period. However, it was Filip Chytil who made a great defensive play and came in full speed on Vitek Vanecek to open the scoring in the second period. It was a huge goal to give the Blueshirts momentum heading into the final stanza.

Filip Chytil
Mar 30, 2021; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers center Filip Chytil (72) celebrates after scoring a first period goal against the Washington Capitalsat Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Al Bello/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

Fox, Strome, and Zibanejad OH MY!

Adam Fox scored the game-winner last night and played 23:11 in the process. He finished the month with 20 points (3G, 17A) and has asserted himself into the Norris Trophy conversation. Fox is currently on a 8 game point streak with two goals and 15 points during that time.

Ryan Strome notched an assist on Kakko’s goal and extends his point streak to 10 games (2G, 13A). The Rangers number two pivot is the team’s leading scorer with 33 points in 35 games this season.

Mika Zibanejad was the beast of March. He awoke from long slumber to pickup two 6 point games during an impressive stretch. When it was all said and done Zibanejad picked up a staggering 21 points this month (8G, 13A). He now has 27 points in 35 games this season. He only had 6 points coming into this month.

Post Game Notes:

  • The Rangers have won four of the last six games (4-2-0 record) and five of the last eight games (5-3-0 record). In addition, the Blueshirts have earned at least one point in seven of the last 10 games (6-3-1 record).
  • The Rangers tallied five goals in tonight’s game. The Blueshirts have registered three or more goals in five of the last six games (26 goals over the span) and in eight of the last 10 games, including four or more goals in seven of the last 10 contests.
  • Three of the Rangers’ five goal scorers in tonight’s game are 23 years old or younger (Filip Chytil, Kaapo Kakko, and Adam Fox).
  • The Rangers tallied their fifth shorthanded goal of the season in tonight’s contest. As of the conclusion of tonight’s game, New York is tied for second in the NHL in shorthanded goals in 2020-21.

Rangers Practice is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. today at MSG Training Center.

Next Game: Thursday, Apr. 1 at Buffalo (7:00 p.m. ET – TV: MSG Network)

Notes courtesy of NYR

NHL TRADE BAIT TRACKER

Updated with new information including a potential new destination for Tony DeAngelo.

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