Vincent Trocheck milestone night not enough for Rangers, fall 4-3 to Maple Leafs in the shootout

NHL: New York Rangers at Toronto Maple Leafs
Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers lost for only the second time in the past 12 games, dropping a 4-3 contest in a shootout to the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena on Saturday. After Vincent Trocheck tied the game for New York with 1:07 remaining in regulation with his second goal of the game, Max Domi scored in the fourth round of the shootout to get Toronto their 35th win.

“Proud of the way we played,” Trocheck said after recording his 500th career point. “But no moral victories when you are trying to get two points.”

Igor Shesterkin suffered his first loss in his past eight starts, making 31 saves and, stopping two of four shots in the shootout. He remains tied with Hall of Famer Henrik Lundqvist for the second-longest win streak in franchise history behind Mike Richter, who won 11 straight in 1996-97.

Toronto goalie Ilya Samsonov made 32 saves and stopped three of four shots in the shootout to earn his 10th win since a Jan. 14 return to the lineup.

The Rangers are now at 84 points and lead the second-place Carolina Hurricanes in the Metropolitan Division by six points.

Watch It: Matt Rempe fights Ryan Reaves

Toronto Maple Leafs 4 — New York Rangers 3 (SO)

NHL: New York Rangers at Toronto Maple Leafs
Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Alexis Lafreniere had a goal and two assists for the Rangers and opened the scoring midway through the first period.

On the Rangers’ fifth shot of the game, Lafreniere sniped his 18th goal of the season, finding space in the slot and then wiring one home top shelf on the blocker side of Samsonov. The puck was in and out of the net so fast it took a second for officials to realize it went off the back post, but it was 1-0 for New York at 11:33.

It marked the 16th time Lafreniere scored in a game this season and turned out to be the first time the Rangers lost. They’re now 15-0-1 when Lafreniere scores.

Early in the middle period, at 3:54, Toronto’s top two superstars connected on a goal when Mitch Marner slid one between Shesterkin’s legs on a feed from Auston Matthews. However, Trocheck restored the Rangers lead at 5:03.

On a great feed from Lafreniere, Trocheck snuck his 21st goal of the season under Samsonov’s right arm to silence the crowd. Toronto tied the contest again at 8:54 when a William Nylander shot that had eyes from the top of the circle beat Shesterkin to make it 2-2.

While killing a penalty in the second, Adam Fox had an excellent scoring chance after a pretty passing play between Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad, which was essentially turned into a 4-on-1 shorthanded opportunity since Braden Schneider hopped up in the play. But Fox didn’t score and the the 2-2 score carried into the third period.

John Tavares gave the Maple Leafs their first lead of the game, scoring his 18th goal at 7:17 of the third.

Down 3-2 in the late stages regulation, Rangers rookie Matt Rempe dropped the gloves with Ryan Reaves at center ice, which brough the crowd to its feet. Rempe held his own against one of the League’s top enforcers.

It was the second time the 21-year-old had a big moment in the game. He knocked newly acquired Toronto defenseman Ilya Lyubuskin out of the game with a hard hit in the second period.

Late in the third, Rangers coach Peter Laviolette pulled Shesterkin for an extra attacker and Trocheck scored the equalizer.

In overtime, Artemi Panarin had a chance to end the game, but Samsonov robbed him with a outstanding blocker save. Trocheck hit a post in the shootout after Domi scored to close out the game.

Rangers Notes

  • Shesterkin is now 5-3-1 against the Maple Leafs in his career.
  • Adam Fox has 39 assists this season, which ranks second behind Panarin (49)
  • Rempe played 5:56, the second most ice time he’s had in seven NHL games.
  • After going 0-for-3 on the power play, the Rangers are 13-10-1 when they don’t score on the man advantage.

New York returns home Monday night with a marquee matchup against the Atlantic Division-leading Panthers. As both teams continue to seek the top spot in the Eastern Conference, this one should be an intense affair, with the Rangers looking to avenge a 4-3 loss on Dec. 29.

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