Rangers win over Jackets inches them closer to second place in Metro
The New York Rangers overcame a slow and ho-hum start thanks to the goaltending of Igor Shesterkin.
In the opening five minutes of their eventual 6-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Blueshirts left their goalie out to dry. Fortunately for them, last year’s Vezina winner is in top form and kept the game scoreless despite several Garde-A chances.
Then in just 3:37 of action, the Rangers exploded for three goals thanks to their talent-filled roster. The offensive outburst also included tallies by Vladimir Tarasenko and Patrick Kane, marking the first time both players have scored in the same game since their acquisition.
“I’m excited with what I seen tonight (from them),” Gerard Gallant said. “They made some great plays. I know they’re going to be there. They’re both playoff experienced guys, both won Stanley Cups. They’ve been great and our team is a lot better with them.”
With the victory, the Rangers now have 98 points and are on a 9-1-1 run. This puts them two points behind the New Jersey Devils for second-place in the Metro Division for home-ice in the first-round.
Both teams will now square off in a huge battle set for Thursday night in New Jersey.
New York Rangers to much for Blue Jackets
It took five minutes and several excellent Shesterkin stops before the Rangers woke up from their slumber.
Filip Chytil started the offensive explosion scoring off a chaotic scene in front of Jackets’ goalie Michael Hutchinson. K’Andre Miller’s shot was stopped but Alexis Lafreniere was able to get the rebound over to Chytil for his 22nd of the season at the 5:23 mark.
Vladimir Tarasenko made it 2-0 with a beautiful tip of a Braden Schneider shot just 1:27 later. Ben Harpur, playing in place of Ryan Lindgren picked up the secondary assist.
Patrick Kane, who hit the post just seconds prior came around the opposite side and snapped a wicked shot top shelf for the 3-0 lead 1:10 later. Chris Kreider and Vincent Trocheck recorded helpers on the tally.
However, the Rangers became complacent and took their opponents lightly again. By the time the first period was over, Columbus scored twice thanks to Kiril Marchenko and Johnny Gaudreau.
New York was not pleased with their first period and decided to play the final 40 minutes the right way.
Artemi Panarin gave the Rangers some breathing room with a power play goal at the 17:36 mark of the second period. It was his 25th goal of the season assisted by Mika Zibanejad and Adam Fox.
The Blueshirts would seal the deal in the final frame with Panarin reciprocating an assist on a beautiful set up to Zibanejad. For the Rangers top center, it was his team-leading 38th goal.
Trocheck would close out the scoring with an empty-netter ending a personal 13 game goal drought. Lafreniere and Fox assisted on the play.
Shesterkin made 28 saves and was named the first-star of the contest by collecting his 34th win of the 2022-23 campaign.
“MSG is an amazing place to play,” Kane admitted about the team’s upcoming game versus the Devils. “I think it’s a big advantage to have home ice. We have that in front of us now if we do what we need to do. It’ll be a big game coming up.”