New York Rangers without Panarin take it to Golden Knights in shootout loss

Rangers Golden Knights
Dec 17, 2021; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren (55) is knocked into goaltender Alexandar Georgiev (40) by Vegas Golden Knights center Chandler Stephenson (20) during the third period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers played one of the top contenders for the Stanley Cup this season in the Vegas Golden Knights. They not only held their own, but for one period totally dominated. In the second period, the Blueshirts scored twice with an 11-4 shot advantage.

“The first 15 minutes wasn’t great but after that we played real, real good hockey the rest of the way,” Gerard Gallant said.

The game was decided when Jonathan Marchessault scored the only goal of the shootout for a 3-2 victory on Friday night.

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New York Rangers taking the next step

Vegas won its fourth straight and its seventh in eight games thanks to Marchessault’s game-winner in the third round of the shootout.

“The second of a back-to-back and three in four nights for us, so I saw us running out of gas a little bit,” Vegas coach Pete DeBoer said. “I really liked our first period. You have to give them credit. I thought Zibanejad’s line particularly, really took a step in the second period and they had us on our heels there for a good chunk in the middle of that game.”

While Vegas may have been tired, the Rangers have played a lot of hockey themselves. Last night’s game was their third in four nights, but also their seventh game in 11 days.

“I thought overall we played really well,” Mika Zibanejad said afterwards. “The way we played against a really top team is something we can takeaway from and work on (things). It’s disappointing not getting two points tonight.”

new york rangers standings
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers are 2-3-1 in its past six contests. Before that, the Rangers had racked up seven straight wins which has propelled them to a tie for second overall in the NHL with 42 points.

You just have to limit chances, a bend-but-don’t-break mentality,” Chris Kreider explained after picking up his team leading 18th goal of the season. “The other team’s trying to win a hockey game too, so they’re going to have a push. They had a pretty good push there in the third.”

Playing without Panarin

Panarin missed the game due to a lower-body injury after playing only seven minutes in Wednesday’s 3-2 win over the host Arizona Coyotes. The first game he’s missed all year. He leads the Rangers with 33 points (nine goals, 24 assists) and is day-to-day with a lower body injury.

He could have been the difference maker, but Alexis Lafrenière moved up to his spot and played a strong game. While he didn’t score a goal, the 20 year-old made a remarkable play to prevent a Vegas breakaway as he dove to poke the puck away.

In the end, Vegas netminder Laurent Brossoit stopped Mika Zibanejad and Ryan Strome in the shootout and made 27 saves, including seven in a free-flowing 3-on-3 overtime that saw the teams combine for 11 shots.

Georgiev made 28 saves, including three on Max Pacioretty in overtime with two stops coming on a breakaway with about 3 1/2 minutes left.

Rangers getting a break in schedule

The Blueshirts will now get a break on the schedule with just two games in the upcoming 10 days that includes the Christmas Break.

Their opponents are very beatable in the Montreal Canadiens (12/22) and Detroit Red Wings (12/27). It was also allow Panarin time to mend and Igor Shesterkin.

“We want him back as soon as he’s ready,” Gallant said yesterday of Shesterkin. “He skated pretty good today. We’re definitely cautious with the Christmas Break coming up. We’re definitely cautious.”

Shesterkin had to be helped off the ice at 5:08 of the third period in a win over the San Jose Sharks earlier this month. The 25 year-old netminder was dealing with a lower-body injury after making a save and diving on the rebound during a scrum in front of the net. He’s been on IR since.

Shesterkin is 13-3-2 with a .937 SV% and a 2.05 GAA on the season.

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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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