Rangers Recall: Harty Bread, Jonny B Good, and rallying for wins
The New York Rangers are running with another win streak after a loss to the Buffalo Sabres last Monday. In this most recent stretch of success, the team has rattled off three straight victories, all of which required a rally.
Against the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday, they entered the third period down by one before an eventual 3-2 triumph. Meanwhile, in a back-to-back set this past weekend, the Rangers overcame a 2-0 hole in Nashville to beat the Predators and then corrected a lousy start against the San Jose Sharks where they gave up the first goal for a win.
“At the end of the day, the guys fought really hard under the circumstances and got ourselves a win,” coach Peter Laviolette explained after Sunday’s 6-5 victory over the Sharks.
Let’s take a look at some key takeaways from the Rangers’ last two games.
Rangers Recall: Rallying to victory
Artemi Panarin having MVP season
There’s no doubt which player is making this Rangers machine roll this season. Artemi Panarin leads the team in scoring with 15 goals and 20 assists for 35 points in 23 games this season. In Sunday’s win over the Sharks, he registered a hat trick and then added the assist on K’Andre Miller’s eventual game-winning tally.
“He’s always been an elite player,” Laviolette remarked. “You appreciate him more day in and day out. You watch the plays that he makes and you appreciate him even more.”
One of the biggest differences everyone has noticed this season is Panarin’s efforts to make plays and shoot pucks from the middle of the ice.
“I go to the net twice in my life and it works. Maybe I should change my game,” Panarin joked.
The 32 year-old winger is now fourth in NHL scoring, a single point behind David Pastrnak and J.T. Miller, and 5 points behind Nikita Kucherov for the top spot. Regardless, Panarin has his team sitting atop the league standings with 37 points and a .804 points percentage.
Jonny Brodzinski rewarding coaches faith
Rangers’ fans that have been around for more than just the last few years will remember a player by the name of Ken Gernander. A reliable forward the Rangers called upon for 10 games in 1995-96 and then 2 more in 2003-04. More important than regular-season contests, the team trusted him enough in 15 playoff games.
Well, there’s something about Jonny Brodzinski that reminds me of Gernander. Most likely it’s that both players have worn the C for the Hartford Wolf Pack and the Rangers organization valued them highly. Additionally, despite only potting 5 points in 12 regular season games and 0 in those 15 postseason matches, Gernander was one of the Pack’s top scoring leaders, who eventually led them to a Calder Cup Championship in the 1999-2000 season.
When it comes to the 30 year-old Brodzinski, he definitely has more offensive talent. Prior to this recent call up, he was one of the scorers in the American Hockey League with 25 points in 16 games. Of course, with Kaapo Kakko on LTIR and Blake Wheeler failing to seize a top-six role, Laviolette has plugged the Pack captain on either of the top-two lines and it’s paid off with 4 assists in the last two games.
“He had a really good training camp,” Laviolette noted. “We’re trying to put people in positions where they can be successful and that would be a spot where he can show what they can do.”
Whether the Rangers opt to address the Kakko injury or the overall lack of scoring on right wing with a trade, the play of Brodzinski certainly gives the team time to breathe and not rush into any decisions.
Rallying for wins
When the final buzzer sounded on Sunday and the Rangers held off the Sharks’ late feeding frenzy, the franchise recorded their 3000th regular season win. They are the fifth NHL team to complete the feat, along with the Montreal Canadiens (3536), Boston Bruins (3374), Toronto Maple Leafs (3116), and Detroit Red Wings (3069).
Looking closer at this season, the victory was also the 9th time they did so by rallying from behind, which leads the league.