Was yesterday’s lesson learned to avoid trap game for a New York Rangers sweep over the New Jersey Devils
The Rangers beat the Devils at the Garden 6-3. If you are simply looking at yesterday’s results the assumption would be another easy win for the Blueshirts. That would be wrong. In a contest that looked like a romp, it turned into a nail-biting third period when the Devils scored three straight to make it 4-3. New York’s two empty-netters in the end made the score look more flattering than it was.
Rangers: 22-16-6 (50 pts)
Devils: 14-23-6 (34 pts)
(3:00 p.m. ET – TV: MSG 2, Radio: ESPN 1050 AM)
Rangers must take yesterday’s lesson to heart to complete four game sweep
The Blueshirts jumped out to a 3-0 lead on two goals by Pavel Buchnevich and one by Ryan Strome by the end of the first period. Artemi Panarin scored his 16th goal of the season to make it 4-0 until Michael McLeod finally broke through on Igor Shesterkin in the second stanza. The goal snapped the rookie net-minder’s shutout streak at 152:37 and gave the Devils their first goal against him in 199:33 minutes dating back to the March 4th game where he injured himself.
In the third period, the Devils scored two quick ones to cut it to 4-3. David Quinn recognizing his team let up called a timeout. At the bench you could see the coach’s passionate plea to get back to smart hockey and playing defense. The Rangers responded and didn’t give up another goal in the remaining 13:22.
“We’ve talked about this, New Jersey, Buffalo, the teams that are out of it, they’re going to play their [tails] off and if we think it’s ever going to be easy we’re sadly, sadly mistaken,” Quinn said. “I wasn’t surprised with the pushback we got from them. … We have a very, very difficult game tomorrow, that’s for sure.”NHL.com
David Quinn’s message about “disrespecting the opponent” appeared to work in the third period but was also recognized by the players after the game. Artemi Panarin acknowledged the team’s defensive lapses and turnovers in his post game presser.
The Rangers need every point the rest of the way and help to get into the playoffs. A win today could put them two points out of fourth place. Boston and Washington will face-off at Noon, so the Blueshirts will know coming in if they can close the gap or risk falling further away.
Rangers bits and bites
David Quinn did not announce today’s starting goalie, however since it is a back-to-back scenario expect Alexandar Georgiev to get the nod. Should he start, Georgiev’s career record against NJ is 3-2-0 with a 2.76 GAA and a .908 SV%.
From an offensive perspective the Blueshirts top six are getting it done. Pavel Buchnevich now leads the team with 19 goals after his birthday hatty. Artemi Panarin has 49 points in 33 games to lead the team in scoring. His 1.48 points per game pace is second in the NHL to only Connor McDavid’s 1.64. The Breadman is 3 assists shy of 100 as a Ranger. Mika Zibanejad has also come to life with 28 points in his last 19 games. And Ryan Strome now has 42 points in 44 games this season.
Rangers Pre Game Notes
- All-Time vs Devils*: 125-96-27-10 (69-35-20-4 at home; 56-61-7-6 on the road) *Note: All-time record includes games against the Kansas City Scouts from 1974-75 – 1975-76 and the Colorado Rockies from 1976-77 – 1981-82
- The Blueshirts’ plus-31 goal differential this season is the best among teams in the MassMutual NHL East Division and the fifth-best in the NHL.
- The Blueshirts are the only NHL team that has five players who have tallied 36 or more points this season (Panarin, Strome, Fox, Buchnevich, Zibanejad), as well as the only team that has four players who have recorded 40 or more points (Panarin, Strome, Fox, Buchnevich).
- New York enters the contest with a five-game road point streak (3-0-2 record). The Blueshirts have also earned at least one point in eight of their last 11 road contests, dating back to Mar. 13 at Boston (6-3-2 record).
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