New York Rangers high octane offense masks bad defense in 6-4 win over Ducks

The New York Rangers opened up their four-game homestand with an exciting 6-4 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. Well, exciting for fans thanks to the goals but aggravating for a head coach that stressed defensive zone coverage at practice on Sunday.

While many Rangers were enjoying a big night offensively, Igor Shesterkin was being left out to dry thanks to missed assignments and poor back checking.

It’s something that Gerard Gallant will most assuredly address at tomorrow’s next practice.

Rangers give Strome a video tribute

Ryan Strome was warmly welcomed back by the Rangers and the Garden Faithful after spending four years on Broadway. As the video tribute ended, Strome tapped his heart and gave the crowd a thumbs up.

“It was a little strange,” Ryan Lindgren said during the intermission. “Stromer’s been one of my favorite teammates– such an incredible guy. Everybody in our locker room loves him and wish him nothing but the best.”

Recap: Rangers 6 vs Ducks 4

new york rangers
Oct 17, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers left wing Artemi Panarin (10) celebrates his goal against the Anaheim Ducks during the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

1st Period

The two teams were feeling each other out in the early going with the Rangers eventually gaining the edge in play. Sammy Blais got the Ducks flinching with the puck in their own zone as he used his body enthusiastically on defenders.

It was great see him skating well and being physical in his first regular season game since tearing his ACL last year.

New York would get the first power play in the game when Mason McTavish put the puck over the glass for a delay of game minor. On a night that welcomed back former Rangers’ center Ryan Strome, it was his replacement that scored on the man advantage at the 7:34 mark.

Vincent Trocheck, wearing Strome’s old #16 and playing in his spot on the power play tapped in an easy goal off a feed from Mika Zibanejad. Artemi Panarin recorded the other assist and now has at least a point in each game this season.

Soon after, the second line of Trocheck, Panarin, and Alexis Lafrenière had a furious shift and drew a penalty on Derek Grant for hooking. This time it was Trocheck returning the favor to feed Zibanejad for a power play goal past a helpless John Gibson for a 2-0 lead at 13:10. Panarin once again notched the secondary assist.

“We came out with a hot start but there’s things we need to work on defensively,” Trocheck said. “I’m starting to fit in on the power play and understanding what they do. I’m getting more and more comfortable.”

I would say Igor Shesterkin was a little sleepy when Frank Vatrano snapped a shot over his glove but that wouldn’t be fair. The goal came with 4:12 remaining and hinted at some defensive zone issues that occurred too often in the contest.

2nd Period

The Rangers came out overly aggressive with a 2-1 lead and made another sloppy play with the puck. Less than a minute in, Adam Fox tried a risky cross-ice pass near the blue line that the Ducks turned into a 2 on 1 that he was able to breakup.

Jacob Trouba then took a Troy Terry slap shot off his face shield and was immediately sent to the locker room to be checked. On the very next shift, Trevor Zegras tied the game streaking down the left side to beat Shesterkin with a nifty move.

All of this happened in just the first 1:34 of the middle frame.

New York settled things down as Trouba returned to the game showing no ill effects from the shot to the face. Kaapo Kakko would restore the Rangers lead by knocking down a Zibanejad shot that went off a Ducks skate and by Gibson at 9:54. Fox notched the other assist.

Gibson was heroic on the Rangers third power play, making two huge stops on Zibanejad and Trocheck to kill the penalty. However, 12 seconds after the man advantage expired, the second power play unit (AKA: The Kid Line) scored to make it 4-2. Alexis Lafrenière put home his first of the season off a Filip Chytil cross-crease feed. Zac Jones registered his first point of the season with an assist on the play.

The Rangers barrage didn’t stop as a quick pass from Fox found Panarin skating down the middle. He would then whip it over Gibson’s outstretched glove. Ryan Lindgren notched the secondary assist with 34 seconds remaining.

It was certainly a shaky start, but the Rangers completely owned the Ducks outshooting them 18-6 in second.

3rd Period

Anthony Stolarz mercifully replaced Gibson to start the third period and was welcomed by a Trocheck breakaway less than a minute in. The Rangers center shot it just wide to the relief of the Ducks backup.

Anaheim would cut the lead when Max Comtois’ one-timer beat Shesterkin 5:33 in. Former Blueshirts defenseman, Kevin Shattenkirk made the feed for the goal as the Rangers were out of position to defend.

The Rangers offense did get that goal back on… you guessed it, the power play!

With Vatrano in the box for interference, the top unit scored quickly off a their trademark Zibanejad one-timer from the left circle. It was his second of the game and fourth point of the night. Panarin made the cross-ice pass to get his fourth point as well. Fox picked up his third assist of the contest.

“There’s an understanding we need to work hard and do the little things right,” Zibanejad noted. “There’s room for improvement but so far so good.”

Anaheim would once again keep it close with a Grant tap in goal due to an extremely poor effort in the defensive zone that was capped by a poor back check by Lafrenière.

In the end, the Rangers high octane offense propelled them to another win despite some shoddy defensive play in their own zone.

“I thought we got lackadaisical with the two goals in the third period,” Gallant explained. “That’s frustrating. We have to finish games better than that. We don’t need to give up those goals with careless plays in the neutral zone.”

Notable Rangers

  • Igor Shesterkin stopped 18 of 22 shots
  • Artemi Panarin set a record with 10 points in NYR first 4 games
  • Mika Zibanejad notched 4 points (2G-2A)
  • Adam Fox picked up 3 assists
  • Alexis Lafrenière recorded his first goal of the season
  • Zac Jones notched his first point of the season

Tomorrow (Tuesday, October 18): Practice at 12 PM (MSG Training Center)

Next Game: Thursday, October 20 vs. San Jose (7:00 PM ET â€“ TV: MSG)

*Schedule subject to change

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