Rangers Recall: Matt Rempe, PK set tone in New Jersey

NHL: New York Rangers at New Jersey Devils
John Jones-USA TODAY SportsCredit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers win streak has reached 9 straight after outclassing the rival New Jersey Devils 5-1 on Thursday.

Hulk-sized rookie, Matt Rempe, set the physical tone early in the first period by blasting Nathan Bastian along the boards. The Devils forward crumbled down in a heap, bleeding from his nose. After being helped to the locker room, Rempe was given a five minute major and ejected from the game.

The penalty kill came up big to give the Rangers momentum. Less than two minutes later, Mika Zibanejad capitalized on the team’s first power play chance sending a clear message to their rivals that this night belonged to them.

“We must have killed close to a period (15 minutes), so the penalty kill was outstanding tonight,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “Our penalty kill was confident tonight. It’s a talented group on the power play over there and I think we did a good job.”

The Rangers’ PK finished the night a perfect 5 for 5 and are currently ranked 6th in the NHL (82.8%).

Related: Kaapo Kakko starting to heat up

Rangers Recall: Matt Rempe, PK set tone in NJ

NHL: Stadium Series-New York Rangers at New York Islanders
Brad Penner-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Rempe could be suspended

There’s no denying that Rempe is an intimidating figure on the ice. Not only does he tower over most players at 6-8′ and 241 lbs, the 21-year-old is a runaway locomotive that’s also willing to drop the gloves.

After going toe-to-toe with New York Islanders heavyweight Matt Martin in his NHL debut at MetLife Stadium, Rempe has made an impact in every game with limited minutes. In three games to date, he’s skated a grant total of 9:47 (3:16 TOI) and has amassed 22 minutes in penalties.

A majority of those penalty minutes (17) were earned last night after the referees determined upon review that Rempe’s primary contact was Bastian’s head. It was a tough call, and one that will likely be reviewed by the Department of Player Safety even though Bastian returned later in the game.

“He’s a big guy,” Laviolette explained. “He was full steam ahead and kept everything down, tried to go through the body and I’m sure he hit everything. It’s a tough call.”

Whether or not Rempe is suspended remains to be seen. However, he’s building a fearsome reputation and maybe a future on the Rangers fourth-line.

Update: Per Frank Seravalli, no suspension for Rempe

Alexis Lafreniere finally buries his chances

Don’t look now, but Alexis Lafreniere’s may finally be ready to starting putting away his chances. After going four games without a goal, he potted two last night and almost netted his first career hat-trick against the Devils.

“Another good winning streak,” Lafreniere deflected a question about himself. “I feel good with Troch and Bread for sure.”

Lafreniere, 22, now has 16 goals and 19 assists for 35 points in 57 games this season. He’s currently on pace to set career-highs for goals (23) and points (50). Although, if he starts finishing more, he may be one of the hottest Rangers down the stretch.

Igor Shesterkin red-hot

Coming into the season, everyone understood the importance of Igor Shesterkin to the Rangers Stanley Cup aspirations. After struggling heading into the All-Star Break, he’s come out on-fire and is undefeated in February.

Last night, he earned his first assist of the season, while stopping 39 shots by the Devils. Here’s a look at his staggering numbers of late:

  • 5-0-0
  • 2.01 GAA
  • .945 SV%
  • 1 shutout

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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