New York Rangers must build on current winning streak
The New York Rangers are heading into the game against the New Jersey Devils on a three-game winning streak. In the previous three contests, the Rangers have presented themselves as much more resilient and passionate. If their performances against the St. Louis Blues, Vegas Golden Knights, and Colorado Avalanche are indicative of how they will play going forward, the Rangers have a chance to get their season back on track.
New York Rangers demonstrate resilience
While the Rangers led the Blues 2-1 after the first period, the Blues had outshot them 9-6. St. Louis continued to dominate in the second period, outshooting the Rangers 13-6 and scoring three times to take the lead 4-3. However, the Rangers came surging back in the third period. They brought a sense of urgency that had previously been missing from their game, particularly in their disappointing performance against the Chicago Blackhawks last Saturday. The Rangers outshot the Blues 12-7, dictating the majority of the period. K’Andre Miller, Alexis Lafrenière, and Chris Kreider scored, leading to the Rangers’ 6-4 win.
Two major shortcomings in the Rangers’ play of late has been a lack of urgency and the inability to play a full 60 minutes. The first two periods of this game appeared similar. But this time the Rangers were able to come back in the final 20 minutes. They looked like a different team. This resilience was encouraging and the Rangers’ attitude in the third period carried over into Wednesday night’s game against the Golden Knights.
“Our third period was really good,” said Lafreniere, who registered the game winner versus St. Louis. “We said it after two (periods), ‘We’re only down by one.’ We know we have good offense and we can score when we work hard.”
Full effort against the Golden Knights
Vegas was without two of their top players, Jack Eichel and Alex Pietrangelo, on Wednesday night. However, that does not make the Rangers’ full effort any less legitimate. With contributions from various forwards as well as defensemen and consistent pressure, the Rangers earned their 5-1 victory.
The reconstructed first line of Mika Zibanejad between Alexis Lafrenière and Kaapo Kakko has so far been successful. On Wednesday night, Zibanejad scored twice and Lafrenière and Kakko each scored once. Lafrenière’s goal came in the third period, giving him a two-game scoring streak. Kakko opened the scoring in the first period after hitting two posts against St. Louis, becoming visibly frustrated after the second. Putting these still developing players on a line with Zibanejad is a smart coaching move. Zibanejad may be able to help accelerate their development.
Filip Chytil scored in his return from injury and did not appear rusty. Artemi Panarin, Barclay Goodrow, Vincent Trocheck, Adam Fox, K’Andre Miller, and Jacob Trouba all had assists in the game. Offensively, this was an effort from the entire lineup.
Vegas outshot the Rangers only in the second period 17-11, and Jonathan Marchessault scored to tie the game. However, the Rangers dominated the first and, especially, third periods. Once Zibanejad scored in the third to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead, they were not only able to maintain the lead but greatly expand upon it. They put on consistent pressure and closed out the game decisively.
“We’ve got 1-1 going into the third on the road,” Zibanejad said. “We just regrouped and saw this as a good opportunity to get two points, play our game and that’s what we did.”
On Friday night, the Rangers didn’t have their skating legs against an injured but hungry Colorado Avalanche squad.
Fortunately, the team relied on an old recipe that made them successful last season as Igor Shesterkin was brilliant making 41 saves in regulation and overtime. He then added two stops in the shootout to give the Blueshirts a huge 2-1 victory.
“We found a way to win tonight with unbelievable goaltending,” Gerard Gallant explained. “Ten minutes into the game I said, ‘I hope he’s ready’ because we didn’t play our best, but Shesty was incredible.”
It is crucial that the Rangers do not revert back to playing without urgency. That was the key in the third period against St. Louis and most of the game against Vegas. They need a full effort from the entire lineup at both ends of the ice every game. The games against the Blues, Golden Knights, and Avalanche may prove to be a turning point if the Rangers are able to build upon those wins.
Note: All stats come from nhl.com
NHL News and Rumors
NHL Recaps. All the latest scores here.
NHL Rumors: Jakob Chychrun, Patrick Kane, and Brock Boeser. Read more.
NHL Rumors: Brock Boeser, Gerard Gallant, and Wild. Read more.