Rangers All-Star backstops 4-1 win over Connor Bedard and Blackhawks

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at New York Rangers
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

On Thursday night at Madison Square Garden, the New York Rangers defeated the Chicago Blackhawks, 4-1, for their first win of 2024.

Coming off a rough game on Tuesday against Carolina, newly honored All-Star, Igor Shesterkin, got the start in net for the Blueshirts and bounced back nicely. He made 21 saves on 22 shots, while picking up his 16th win of the season.

Also of note was the debut of 2021 first-round draft pick Brennan Othmann, who went scoreless in the contest. He did register 5 shots and 3 hits in 12:26 of ice time.

“The boys made me feel welcome all day,” Othmann smiled. “I’m just exciting to play my first NHL game. I worked 20 years for this and it’s a good early birthday present for tomorrow.”

Related: What to expect from Brennan Othmann

New York Rangers 4 vs Chicago Blackhawks 1

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at New York Rangers
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

In the first period of the game, rookie Brennan Othmann was a standout player for the Rangers, bringing a high level of energy to his first NHL game. The most notable moment of the period came when Artemi Panarin scored the opening goal with a one-timer, assisted by a beautiful pass from Alexis Lafrenière. 

The scoring opportunity was created following a superb defensive effort by Vincent Trocheck, who managed to bump rookie sensation, Connor Bedard, off the puck, sparking the rush that led to the goal. Panarin’s goal marked his 24th of the season and extended his point streak to six games, giving the Rangers a 1-0 lead.

The line of Panarin, Trocheck, and Lafrenière continued to be a dominant force for the Rangers, proving to be their most productive line.

On the other side, the Blackhawks ramped up their offensive efforts in the final minute of the period, creating their best scoring chances. However, Shesterkin delivered an impressive performance, making crucial saves to maintain the Rangers’ lead heading into the first intermission.

The second period started with back-to-back interference penalties on Adam Fox and Kevin Korchinski. These penalties led to a 4-on-4 situation, changing the dynamics on the ice for both teams.

After the 4-on-4 ended, Chris Kreider scored a crucial power play goal, expanding the Rangers lead to 2-0. The goal was a significant milestone for Kreider, marking his 20th goal of the season and the ninth time in his career he’s reached this twenty-goal plateau. 

In addition, this power play goal moved Kreider up to fourth on the Rangers’ all-time power play goals list. The goal was initially reviewed for a possible kick-in with his skate, but the call on the ice was upheld.

The Blackhawks, however, were not to be left behind. Former Ranger Colin Blackwell scored for the Blackhawks, cutting the Rangers’ lead to 2-1. This goal, scored with just under three minutes remaining in the period, was Blackwell’s first of the season. The period ended with the Rangers leading 2-1, setting the stage for an exciting final frame.

The Rangers were on the offensive from the start of the third period. Jacob Trouba took advantage of his team’s momentum, scoring his third goal of the season and restoring the Rangers’ two-goal advantage at 3-1. 

Shortly after, Jimmy Vesey increased the Rangers’ lead to 4-1 with his eighth goal of the season, following an impressive defensive play and assist from Will Cuylle.

Outside of a fight between Blake Wheeler and former Ranger, Jarred Tinordi, both teams exchanged opportunities but failed to score any additional goals. The game concluded with the Rangers securing a solid 4-1 victory. This win further highlighted the Rangers’ resilience this season, as they improved their record to an impressive 10-1-0 following losses.

The energy was good,” coach Peter Laviolette noted. “Making those small corrections was noticeable tonight.”

The Rangers will be back in action on Saturday night, as they travel to Montreal to take on the Canadians. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 PM. 

Rangers Notes

  • Igor Shesterkin stopped 21 shots to earn his 6th win in his last 7 starts
  • Vincent Trocheck registered 3 assists
  • Artemi Panarin notched 1 goal, 2 assists, and announced he won’t be going to the All-Star Game because his wife is having a baby

New York is scheduled for a 12 p.m. ET practice on Friday at the MSG Training Center.