Rangers explosive 6-1 win over Devils tempered with huge concerns for injured Igor Shesterkin

By Anthony Scultore
Mar 4, 2021; Newark, New Jersey, USA; New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) is helped off the ice during the third period of their game against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers looked out of sorts to start the game last night against their Hudson River Rivals. Jack Hughes converted one of the Devils multiple scoring opportunities off a weird play that looked like Igor Shesterkin thought was icing.

Then Chris Kreider put the team on his back – again. He scored a natural hat trick and the Blueshirts rolled to a 6-1 victory. New York is now at .500 for the first time since game two of the season.

Rangers vs Devils: Chris Kreider on fire!

Chris Kreider has been on an absolute tear for the Rangers (9-9-3) as he picked up another hat-trick in their 6-1 rout of the Devils (7-10-2). The Blueshirts longest tenured player now has 11 goals and 12 points in his last six games, including two hat-tricks.

“It takes a lot of hard work from the guys you’re playing with, a willingness to get pucks there,” Kreider commented on his red-hot run. “Those guys are doing the work, doing an incredible job. I’ve just been trying to stick around the front of the net and obviously it’s working for us right now.”

The Rangers have won five out of their last seven games despite the absence of Artemi Panarin (leave), Kaapo Kakko (COVID), and Jacob Trouba (broken thumb). That’s due in large part to Chris Kreider.

Alexis Lafreniere surges while Mika Zibanejad gets benched

rangers vs devils
Mar 4, 2021; Newark, New Jersey, USA; New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider (20) and left wing Alexis Lafreniere (13) celebrate the Rangers win over the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

There was so much to be excited about last night, including the Blueshirts third period goal fest. Alexis Lafrenière continues to shake off the early season rust and put up the first multipoint game of his career.

The 19 year-old had a gorgeous assist on a Pavel Buchnevich’s goal to extend his point streak to four games. He then added an absolute snipe of a shot to cap the scoring. The assist went to Mika Zibanejad who was benched late in the first and for half of the second period.

As far a Zibanejad is concerned, David Quinn provided some insight into the benching. “I didn’t love his game, didn’t love what we were seeing,” the coach explained. “I just thought sitting him for a while was going to give him a little jolt and give our team a little jolt. I did like what I saw when he came back out.”

Igor Shesterkin injured in third period

The unsung hero of the game was young goalie Igor Shesterkin who kept the Rangers in the game in the first period. Sadly in the third period, he tried to make a save going from left to right and went to the ice writhing in pain. Replays showed no contact as the shot actually went wide.

At this time, David Quinn said it was a lower body injury that will need further evaluation this morning. Shesterkin could not even lift himself and had to be essentially carried off the ice.

The Rangers awarded Igor with the Broadway Hat after the game as the MVP selected by his teammates.

Post Game Notes

  • The Rangers have won two consecutive games for the third time this season.
  • In addition to earning at least one point in five of their last seven games (5-2-0 record), the Blueshirts have also earned at least one point in 10 of their last 15 games.
  • The Blueshirts have won four of their last five road games, dating back to Jan. 28 at Buffalo (4-1-0 record). Dating back to last season, the Rangers have posted a 14-4-2 record in their last 20 road contests.
  • The Rangers were 1-for-2 on the power play in tonight’s game. The Blueshirts have tallied a power play goal in five of the last seven games and have registered six power play goals over the span (6-for-26; 23.1%).
  • The Blueshirts were 4-for-4 (8:00) on the penalty kill in tonight’s game and held New Jersey to only four shots on goal over the Devils’ four power play opportunities.
  •  Chris Kreider registered his fourth career hat trick (including his second hat trick of the 2020-21 season), as he tallied three goals (including a power play goal), recorded the game-winning goal, tied for the game-high (and led the Rangers) with five shots on goal, and posted a plus-two rating.
  • Alexis Lafrenière tallied two points (one goal, one assist). He extended his point streak to four games (two goals, three assists) and has tallied a goal in each of the last two games. Lafrenière has also recorded a point in five of the last six games (three goals, three assists). He posted a multi-point game for the first time in his NHL career.
  • Igor Shesterkin made 32 saves to earn his second consecutive win and his sixth win of the season.

 The team will practice today, 12:00 p.m. at MSG Training Center where we should get an update on Shesterkin.

Next Game: Saturday, Mar. 6 at New Jersey (1:00 p.m. ET – TV: MSG Network).

Notes courtesy NYR

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