Rangers Recall: Red-Hot Artemi Panarin, and improved 5-on-5 scoring
The New York Rangers extended their point streak to 8 games (7-0-1) by beating the Detroit Red Wings 5-3 on Madison Square Garden ice on Tuesday night. It was a great night for Jonathan Quick, who grew up a Rangers fan in Connecticut, as he won his first start at home since signing as a free agent on July 1.
However, the player that continues to shine and amaze is Artemi Panarin. After the final buzzer sounded, the Breadman’s opening season points streak reached 12 games with a goal and an assist.
“I’m just happy to be here right now,” Panarin said, deflecting praise about his play. “We’re feeling great on the team.”
Let’s recall some of the key takeaways from the Rangers win over the Wings.
Rangers Recall: Artemi Panarin and the team are rolling
Piping Hot Bread
Panarin, 32, is off to a hot start by scoring in every game this campaign. After last night’s performance, he has 7 goals and 13 assists for 20 points, which ranks him tied for third overall in NHL scoring, just two points behind Tampa’s Nikita Kucherov.
With Filip Chytil out, Vincent Trocheck reassumed his spot as Panarin’s center, with Alexis Lafreniere on the opposite flank. The veteran scored twice, both times with Panarin on the ice, although he did not register an assist on the play. However, Panarin’s goal was set up by hard work behind the net from Lafreniere, and the team’s leading scorer heaped praise on his new line mate.
“Honestly, he’s doing most of the forechecking for us. Nice to see when the young guy does work for the old guys,” Panarin said with a laugh. “He came in this year more hungry. Nice to see him like that.”
Currently, this is the second longest streak in Panarin’s career and he tied Darren Turcotte for the second longest to begin a season in team history. He gets a chance to extend it on Thursday night at the Garden versus the Minnesota Wild.
“He grabbed the puck and attacked,” coach Peter Laviolette stated. “When he’s moving and attacking, with his skillset, it’s elite.”
Improved 5-on-5 scoring
Another strong positive from the latest W for the Blueshirts has been improved 5-on-5 scoring.
Against the Minnesota Wild last Saturday, all four tallies were scored at even strength, and last night it was three out of the five. That’s now 7 of the last 9 goals not needing a power play to score. Prior to that, only 3 of 9 were at 5-on-5 in wins versus Vancouver, Winnipeg, and Carolina.
“Our forecheck was better and led to more o-zone time,” Trocheck credited for the recent improvement in 5-on5 scoring.
Blake Wheeler and Kaapo Kakko still not producing
While there were plenty of positives against Detroit, the flipping of right wings Kaapo Kakko and Blake Wheeler did not impress.
Neither player registered a point, with Wheeler recording just 1 shot to Kakko’s 2. However, the amount of special teams play drastically reduced their ice time. Detroit went 0-6 on the power play, and the Rangers went 2-3 with the first unit getting a majority of the minutes.
What Laviolette will do come Thursday night remains to be seen, but I expect them to each get one more game with their respective lines.