Rangers power past Blues 4-0 in 1st game after trade deadline

NHL: St. Louis Blues at New York Rangers
Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Looking like a well-oiled machine in their first game following the NHL trade deadline, the New York Rangers shut out the St. Louis Blues 4-0 at Madison Square Garden on Saturday. The win snapped a brief two-game skid (0-1-1) and restored New York’s lead in the Metropolitan Division to four points ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes, who had won earlier in the day.

The Rangers scored three power-play goals in the win and have five power-play markers in their past two games. Newcomer Alex Wennberg picked up an assist on their final power-play goal, scored by Kaapo Kakko, in his Rangers debut. Wennberg was acquired from the Seattle Kraken on Wednesday and centered New York’s third line with Kakko and Will Cuylle on Saturday, logging 15:12 in ice time.

Jack Roslovic also made his Rangers debut after being picked up from the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday. Roslovic played right wing on the top line with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider, and recorded two shots on goal and six shot attempts in 16:02.

“It’s fun. It’s Saturday night at MSG, wearing this crest, it’s pretty special,” Roslovic said.

Playing in his 200th NHL game, Igor Shesterkin made 26 saves for his second shutout of the season and 13th of his career. Adam Fox and Artemi Panarin each contributed two assists in the victory.

“When he’s on top of his game, there’s nobody better than [Shesterlin},” Fox said.

Despite allowing four goals, Jordan Binnington played well for St. Louis in defeat. He finished with 35 saves.

Related: 5 questions for Rangers after trade deadline

Rangers 4 – Blues 0

NHL: St. Louis Blues at New York Rangers
Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period, by scoring early and late in the opening 20 minutes.

Vincent Trocheck scored a power-play goal at 5:51 to open the scoring. Playing in his 700th NHL game, Trocheck deflected Artemi Panarin’s shot and the puck caromed off Blues defenseman Colton Parayko and over the goal line. It was Trocheck’s 23rd goal of the season and 11th on the power play.

The rest of the period was played with pace and excellent flow on both sides. The Blues outshot the Rangers 14-11 and the goalies, Shesterkin and Binnington, were sharp.

But the Rangers scored a huge goal with less than a minute remaining in the period to double their lead. And it was their fourth line doing the damage.

Barclay Goodrow forced Parayko into a giveaway at the Rangers blue line and the center quickly outletted a pass to Jimmy Vesey, flying through the neutral zone up left wing. Vesey skated in and fired a shot through the Blues goalie at 19:37 to make it 2-0 with his 13th goal of the season.

“I thought we came out great; started the game really well, I thought,” Vesey said. “Obviously it was nice to get the first goal and then be up two after one [period]. Overall, I thought we played a pretty solid game.”

New York’s fourth line continued to make things happen in the scoreless second period, when the Rangers held a 12-6 shots advantage. In fact, it appeared the fourth line had given the Rangers a 3-0 lead at 7:39, but Matt Rempe’s goal was overturned on a League-initiated video review.

The (non) scoring play was impressive, though. Rempe denied Oskar Sundqvist by tying up the Blues forward in the high slot at one end of the ice. And the rookie then appeared to score at the other end with a shot from the slot.

Rempe’s shot hit the near post, caromed across to hit the far post and then landed on its edge along the goal line. It was originally ruled a goal by the on-ice officials before being overturned. 

Four minutes later, Rempe had another excellent scoring chance but his one-timer from the slot hit the outside of the near post.

It wasn’t just the fourth line that impressed in the period. Cuylle had three shots on goal, one better than the last. But Binnigton was up to the challenge each time.

“I feel like we were finding each other pretty well,” Wennberg said about playing with Cuylle. “These are guys I’ve never played with before. It takes some time to build chemistry, but right away you feel like there’s something there.”

Though the Rangers were the better team in the second period, Shesterkin was called on to make a huge sprawling save against Kasperi Kapanen midway through the period.

Rempe’s big game continued early in the third period, when he forced a turnover in the Blues end, stole the puck and quickly snapped a shot on goal that was gloved by Binnington.

Shortly thereafter, the Rangers pulled away by scoring a pair of goals on the power play. Kreider buried his 32nd goal and 13th on the man advantage at 6:23. Then Kakko iced it, scoring his eighth goal off a power-play rebound at 11:23.

Roslovic nearly scored his first goal as a Ranger in the closing minutes, but his power-play snap shot caught the crossbar behind Binnington.

New York’s other trade-deadline addition, defenseman Chad Ruhwedel, was a healthy scratch, even though captain Jacob Trouba is out 2-3 weeks with a lower-body injury. Zac Jones stepped into the lineup instead and was plus-one in 16:58 of ice ice time.

All in all, it was a great start to a six-games-in-nine-nights stretch for the Rangers, who next host the New Jersey Devils on Monday.

Jim Cerny is Executive Editor at Forever Blueshirts and Managing Editor at Sportsnaut, with more than 30 years of... More about Jim Cerny

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