New York Rangers lackluster win over Kraken a bright spot for these youngsters

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Jan 30, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers defenseman K'Andre Miller (79) celebrates his go-ahead goal with left wing Alexis Lafrenière (13) against the Seattle Kraken during the third period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

New York Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant was not pleased with his team’s effort in Sunday’s 3-2 victory over the Seattle Kraken.

The Rangers won for the 10th time in 15 games and avoided their second three-game winless streak of the season despite blowing a two-goal lead for the third straight game.

“Im not too happy,” Gallant said afterwards. “Today it was disappointing to watch that after two losses. I expect a lot more from my group and I didn’t see much of it.”

Rangers kids played well

Despite his displeasure with the overall effort, several youngsters played key roles in the win.

Defenseman K’Andre Miller scored the tiebreaking goal with 34 seconds remaining Sunday afternoon and was one of the bright spots in the Blueshirts’ lackluster performance.

Miller had been stopped on a breakaway with 6:15 remaining, but then ended a 27-game goal drought by scoring for the first time since Nov. 21.

k'andre miller
Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Miller scored his third goal of the season after Seattle tied the score at 2-2 on Yanni Gourde’s one-timer during a power-play from the left faceoff circle with 68 seconds remaining.

Miller notched the second game-winning goal of his young career after Mika Zibanejad cleanly won a faceoff on the right side from Alex Wennberg. After taking the pass from Zibanejad, Miller paused, and when Chris Kreider collided with Riley Sheahan, he released a wrist shot from the right point that sailed over goalie Philipp Grubauer.

When the game was over his stat line read: 1G on 4 shots, 4 hits, 3 blocks, and a +1 rating in 23:46.

Alexis Lafrenière scored in his 100th NHL Game

The Rangers made it 2-0 4:23 into the second when Alexis Lafrenière crashed the left side of the net and scored on a tap-in after Zibanejad’s slap shot from the above the right faceoff dot rang off the post.

It was his first goal since January 3rd against the Edmonton Oilers, also on Garden Ice. And although it may have been the easiest goal of his career, the fact that he was beat his man in front of the net for his 9th goal of the season, it was good to see.

The 20 year-old is in his second year with the Rangers, albeit his first full 82 game campaign. He has 21 goals and 33 points in his young NHL career.

Braden Schneider and Zac Jones

Braden Schneider
Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Two other young players, both defensemen played key roles in the win.

Braden Schneider played a solid 21:46 and registered a shot and 4 hits. He did finish with a -1 rating, but Gallant leaned on him in the first two periods when the team struggled in the defensive zone.

The 20 year-old defender has been as advertised since the Rangers moved up to draft him in the first round of 2020. He has 1 goal and 2 assists in his 9 game NHL career.

Another youngster, who has been impressive in every game he’s played in the league as far as I’m concerned was Zac Jones. He registered his first point of the season by getting the secondary assist on Lafrenière’s tally. It was also the fifth point (all assists) of his career that now spans 15 games.

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–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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