Rangers kids hand Islanders only second regulation loss at home
Youth was served for the Blueshirts as they beat their cross town rivals at Nassau Coliseum. The Islanders are the fourth oldest team in the NHL at 29.1 and it showed against a younger and faster team last night. The New York Rangers are the youngest team in the NHL with an average age of 25.8 and four players 21 and younger took it to the grizzly vets for a 4-1 victory.
Rangers kids line led the way as K’Andre Miller’s blast slammed door on Islanders
Alexis Lafrenière, all of 19, scored the opening goal assisted by Kaapo Kakko (20) and Filip Chytil (21). The “kids line” as they’ve been dubbed out hustled the Islanders all game and finally broke through their tight defense as the first overall pick in the 2020 draft cashed in a rebound.
“The puck just bounced on my stick, so I just had to put it in,” Lafreniere said. “They did really good work and I was in the right spot at the right time and lucky it went in.”NHL.com
Then in the third period with the Islanders down by just one; Kakko won a loose puck battle and got it to Artemi Panarin who moved it to Jacob Trouba at the point. He dished it to his defense partner, 21 year-old K’Andre Miller who blasted it by Semyon Varlamov for the back breaking goal. While Kakko did not get a point on the play; it simply doesn’t happen without his size, skill, and battle level. The sophomore now has four points in his last three games.
Miller led all players in ice time last night with 23:53. The Rangers second first round selection of the 2018 draft was an absolute beast in all three zones last night. It was also probably his most dominant performance in the offensive zone as he was in deep and moving the puck quickly and sharply. His goal was a low rocket that beat Varlamov clean. It’s an underused weapon in his arsenal and he leads all rookie defensemen this season with four goals.
This was the 5th straight win for the Rangers at Nassau Coliseum. The Islanders were handed only their second regulation loss at home this season thanks to the kids. Alexandar Georgiev stopped 31 shots in the victory and has improved his career record against the Isles to 7-1. His career numbers against them also comes with a 1.71 GAA and .947 SV%. David Quinn during his presser may have tipped his hand that Georgiev would start Sunday in the second game of the set; but then walked it back.
Alexis Lafrenière just keeps getting better
David Quinn noted that he saw Alexis Lafrenière getting frustrated while he was watching from home being out with COVID-19. Upon his return the head coach was looking for ways to invigorate the kid and may have done so with two other ones.
The kid line (Lafrenière/Chytil/Kakko) was a force last night as it looked like the Islanders couldn’t keep up with them. For Lafrenière he set a career high with 5 shots in a single game. Among all NHL teenagers this season his seven goals ranks second and his 13 points ranks third. He’s currently in a little groove with goals in two of his last three games.
His importance goes beyond just those numbers. Per NYR Stats and Info, when Lafrenière registers a point the Blueshirts are 10-2-0 on the season; they are 6-1 when he notches a goal. The kid’s been a winner wherever he’s played so there’s no reason for that to stop now.
Rangers Game Notes
- The Rangers have earned at least one point in five of the last six games (4-1-1 record), in eight of the last 11 games (7-3-1 record), and in 11 of the last 15 games (9-4-2 record).
- The Rangers completed the fourth of their seven scheduled back-to-back sets in 2020-21. The Blueshirts have posted a 2-2-0 record in the second game of a back-to-back set thus far this season. In addition, the Blueshirts have earned at least one point in the second game in 10 of their 16 back-to-back sets since the start of last season (9-6-1 record).
- Nine of the 20 Rangers players who dressed in tonight’s game are 23 years old or younger. The Blueshirts currently have the youngest team in the NHL (average age is 25.2 years old). In addition, four players who are 21 years old or younger tallied a point in tonight’s game.
The Blueshirts have a day off today as they will face the Islanders again on Sunday at the Nassau Coliseum (7:00 p.m. ET – TV: MSG 2).
Notes courtesy NYR
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