Rangers World Championship Update
The IIHF World Championships kicked off last week and the Rangers have their fair share of players or prospects of interest involved. The World Championships typically showcase many of a country’s best players, as well as some of their top prospects. That said, no one still involved in the Stanley Cup Playoffs is participating, obviously.
The Rangers have six players in the tournament. Brady Skjei, Chris Kreider, and Adam Fox are playing for Team USA while Alexandar Georgiev is with Russia, Filip Chytil with the Czech Republic, and Henrik Lundqvist with Sweden.
In addition, consensus number two overall pick in this year’s draft, Kaapo Kakko, is participating with Team Finland.
Kreider, Skjei, and Fox
The Americans got outshot by Slovakia 36-26 in Friday’s 4-1 loss. Kreider recorded zero points and posted a minus-1 in just under 15 minutes of ice time. Skjei also failed to record a point and had an even rating in 18:19 TOI. Skjei did, however, commit a minor penalty. Slovakia went on to score the game winning goal on that powerplay, which became a 5-on-3 following a minor penalty by Ryan Suter. Adam Fox recorded zero points and a minus-1 rating in 18 minutes of ice time.
In Sunday’s matchup with the French, Chris Kreider scored his first of the tournament to give the Americans a 6-0 lead early in the third. Adam Fox recorded his first point of the tournament as well, registering the secondary assist on Patrick Kane’s goal late in the second.
Alexandar Georgiev started in goal for the Russians in their game with Austria and posted a shutout in his first appearance of the tournament. Georgiev didn’t have a ton of work, stopping all 15 shots from the Austrians en route to a 5-0 win.
#RUSAUT #IIHFWorlds A 15-save shutout win for Alexander Georgiev gives @russiahockey their 2nd win of the tournament.— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) May 12, 2019
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▶️ https://t.co/yImldTg3TU pic.twitter.com/7HRKYOqaPC
Chytil scored zero points and committed a minor penalty in the Czech’s victory over Sweden on Friday. However, on Sunday, he scored a goal in about 12 and half minutes of ice time in the team’s 7-2 win over Norway.
Lundqvist and Sweden have only played one game, a 5-2 loss to Filip Chytil and the Czechs. He posted a save percentage of .871 and GAA of 4.18.
Then there’s the potential soon-to-be Ranger, Finnish superstar Kaapo Kakko. His performance thus far has been utterly phenomenal. He scored two goals in Finland’s stunning 3-1 victory over Team Canada. One goal was a highlight reel breakaway goal while being tripped. The other was an empty netter after forcing a turnover. In Sunday’s 4-2 win over Slovakia, Kakko scored another three goals to secure a hat trick. He now leads the tournament in goals and is tied for first in points.
This kid is the real deal and he is showing it. He is performing against some of the best NHLers that the world has to offer, as well as some good non-NHLers. His elusiveness is unreal and he played the game like it’s chess, always a move or two ahead of his opponents.
What is interesting is the player on this list who is performing the best is not even a Ranger yet, and if the New Jersey Devils get bold he never will be. Rest assured, they will not be though.
Lundqvist’s performance was disappointing, but there is still much more to be played. Chytil’s goal is a good sign for the 19-year-old. The American Rangers are slowly starting to get going and Georgiev showed himself worthy of being between the pipes for Russia.
Sweden will take on Italy on Sunday. The Czech Republic will play Russia on Monday. Also, all eyes will be on Kakko as the Finns face his potential future teammates, along with fellow top pick Jack Hughes, and the Americans on Monday.