Rangers Recall: It’s a ‘Goody’ win to even series against Panthers

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Florida Panthers at New York Rangers
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The crowd at Madison Square Garden erupted to the sound of the puck first hitting iron and then entering the net past Sergei Bobrovsky with 5:59 remaining in overtime. New York Rangers’ swiss army knife veteran, Barclay Goodrow, settled a lofted puck down in the neutral zone, and then finished off an odd-man rush with a game-winning blast to even the Eastern Conference Final against the Florida Panthers at one game apiece on Friday night.

“When you get a player that can do everything, a coach can rely on that person,” coach Peter Laviolette praised Goodrow. “That’s a pretty useful tool in the toolbox.

“He takes faceoffs. Plays all three forward positions. You want him out there at the end of a game if you’re winning, because you can match him up against top lines. Brings physicality, leadership, and he’s a great teammate. When you get a player like that, you appreciate it as a coach of all the things he brings to the table. To see him score a goal like tonight, it’s awesome.”

To a man, every Blueshirt in the locker room was elated for Goodrow, who struggled with just four goals and eight assists in 80 games during the regular season. However, when Rangers general manager Chris Drury traded for and signed the two-time Stanley Cup winner in 2021, it was with the postseason in mind.

“He’s been so important to the locker room, the leadership group, a lot of stuff no one ever sees or talks about,” captain Jacob Trouba acknowledged. “He’s a massive part of this team. The way he’s been playing in these playoffs — it’s a big reason why he’s one of those guys that gets his team to win … He’s a big time player.”

Related: Kaapo Kakko scratched for Game 2

Rangers even playoff series thanks to Barclay Goodrow

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Florida Panthers at New York Rangers
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Barclay Goodrow

Goodrow, 31, matched his regular-season goal total after scoring in overtime on Friday. In the playoffs, he has six points (four goals, two assists) in 12 games.

“It feels good whenever you can do something to help the team,” Goodrow said afterwards. “Obviously, I think we played a pretty good game tonight, and it was nice to get rewarded with the win.”

The gritty forward has been often unjustly criticized during his tenure in New York, due to the hefty six-year contract signed in 2021. His salary cap hit of $3.6 million is considered way too much for a fourth-line grinder. However, if the Rangers end a Stanley Cup drought going on 30 years this June, he’ll be worth every single penny.

Vincent Trocheck

Giving Goodrow his flowers on a night where he played the hero is justified. Although, the offensive star of the night was Vincent Trocheck, who finished with two points (one goal, one assist), and is now the team’s leading scorer in the playoffs.

“It was a great play by [Alexis Lafreniere] coming in being physical on the forecheck,” Trocheck described his goal that opened the scoring. “[Adam Fox] made a heads up play. I just had to stand back door and put it into the empty net. It’s always nice to get on the board first.”

The 30-year-old center has 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) in 12 playoff games, and is winning 57.7 percent of his draws.

Matt Rempe

Rangers coach Peter Laviolette opted to change the dynamic of his lineup against the rough and tumble Panthers by reinserting 6-foot-8 Matt Rempe in favor of struggling Kaapo Kakko.

In what was a silver lining to losing Jimmy Vesey (upper-body) on a borderline head shot by Florida’s Ryan Lomberg, Laviolette was forced to play Rempe more than his usual six minutes. Normally, Rempe is stapled to the bench starting in the second period, but last night his number was called with less than two minutes to go in the game.

“I remember ‘Lavi’ calling my name with two minutes left,” Rempe started to explain. “I was like, ‘Oh my God! Let’s go! Jiminy Crickets! Let’s go!’ I was just thrown out there and tried to buzz around … And then in overtime, I got a little O-zone shift and was pretty excited about that. It was such a blast.”

The 21-year-old human tank rewarded his coach with an impactful performance, recording nine hits, one block, and a face-off win in 10:01 of action.

Igor Shesterkin

Of course, you can’t review the Rangers’ Game 2 victory without mentioning the excellence of Igor Shesterkin in goal.

Although the Rangers played a brilliant defensive game, when there were breakdowns, the 28-year-old backstop was a wall. He finished the evening with 26 saves on 27 shots upping his postseason record to 9-3. Shesterkin’s save percentage is a stellar .926, and he sports a 2.22 goals-against average.

“You’re going to need some timely saves,” Laviolette noted. “There was a couple of big ones tonight, where they got behind us. I thought he came up huge … To me, that’s a difference maker in the game.”

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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