Rangers Roundup: Braden Schneider earning high marks, playoffs magic number, and more

rangers braden schneider
Apr 5, 2022; Newark, New Jersey, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Braden Schneider (45) hits New Jersey Devils center Jesper Boqvist (70) during the first period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers came out of the gate strong last night against the Devils. Despite the torrid pace, a Jacob Trouba turnover early in the first period led to a breakaway put home by Yegor Sharangovich.

Just like that, the Rangers were down and probably frustrated.

That’s when Braden Schneider decided it was time to take the hard-nosed game that made him WHL Defenseman of the Year last season and bring it to the show.

Braden Schneider sparked the New York Rangers

The Rangers had eight of the first 10 shots in the first period but the Devils tallied first following a turnover at the New York blue line by Trouba, whose pass was intercepted by Sharangovich before the center descended untouched on Alexandar Georgiev and beat him with the backhand at the 6:56 mark.

A fight between Sharangovich and Schneider after the latter leveled Jesper Boqvist near the benches generated the power play that led to the first of back-to-back, man-advantage goals for the Rangers thanks to an instigator penalty.

braden schneider fight
Apr 5, 2022; Newark, New Jersey, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Braden Schneider (45) and New Jersey Devils center Yegor Sharangovich (17) fight during the first period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

After the game, head coach Gerard Gallant credited Schneider’s big hit as the turning point.

“It was a good, solid hit,” Gallant said via NHL.com. “He stepped up in the neutral zone and obviously we got the power-play goal off that, so that was huge for us. A little emotion in the game.”

Of course, Schneider’s first NHL fight was a lopsided affair leaving Sharangovich lumped up.

“I think he probably overreacted a little bit,” Ruff said of Sharangovich. “It was a good hit, nothing that was wrong. I’ll never criticize when a teammate comes to defense of another teammate. I think he may have thought [Schneider] jumped when he hit him.”

NHL.com

When Chris Kreider and Ryan Strome were asked about Schneider, they each gushed over not only his play but his maturity.

“He’s been great all year,” Strome said. “For such a young kid, he’s so professional. You never have to worry about him. He’s mature beyond his years on and off the ice.”

Kreider, who established team single season records for PPG (25) and GWG (10) revealed Schneider’s nickname with his comments.

“When you say a young guy step up and make a play like that, you could feel the energy on the bench,” he said. “I think guys have been calling him Baby Trouba.”

Schneider, 20, has 9 points in 32 games during his first NHL season.

Rangers magic number

Tuesday night’s win over the New Jersey Devils moved the Rangers to within two points of first-place Carolina in the Metropolitan Division. The victory also increased their lead over Pittsburgh for second-place by four points.

The Rangers magic number has been cut to just four points after the Islanders fell to the Dallas Stars yesterday.

Should the Rangers beat the Penguins on Thursday, and the Islanders fall in regulation on Friday to the Hurricanes, New York will clinch a playoff berth for the first time since 2016-17.

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