Rangers’ HC praises rookie Matt Rempe following stellar performance in playoff debut: ‘Loves to play the game’

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Washington Capitals at New York Rangers
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Madison Square Garden was rocking in a Sunday afternoon matinee as the New York Rangers hosted the Washington Capitals in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Matt Rempe dazzles in postseason debut

Though it seemed unlikely that RangersTown could get any louder, rookie Matt Rempe created the loudest cheer of the season when he scored the team’s first goal of the playoffs. The goal was the first of three scored in a span of 2:06 that gave the Blueshirts control of the contest en route to a 4-1 win and a 1-0 series lead.

“I think I’m built for the playoffs.”

Dan Rosen
New York Rangers center Matt Rempe (73) looks at the scoreboard after scoring a goal in the second period against the Washington Capitals in game one of the first round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden
Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The smile on his face was never-ending. He made his NHL debut against the New Jersey Devils in the Stadium Series game and has become an instant fan favorite among the MSG faithful. There has been a learning curve for the 21-year-old in the 17 games he has appeared in. From accepting any challenge to adjusting to the difference in speed and skill at the NHL level, Rempe has taken it all in stride.

Rempe’s first NHL playoff goal came off of a rush that he started. Taking the puck from his zone, he entered the Cap’s offensive zone before passing the puck to Barclay Goodrow, who then got the puck to Jimmy Vesey behind the net. A quick chip pass to the front found the 6 foot seven inch Rempe, who beat Capitals goalie Charle Lindgren, and the Garden faithful had a goal to celebrate.

He became the first Rangers player to score a goal in his first career playoff game since Matt Gilroy in Game 1 of the 2011 Conference Quarterfinals (also against Washington).

“A little bit of shock,” he said of scoring a goal in a playoff game at Madison Square Garden. “It was like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ It didn’t really kick in and then you hear the crowd. It was a dream come true. It was unreal.”

Dan Rosen

Rangers HC Peter Laviolette praises Rempe

NHL: Stadium Series-New York Rangers at New York Islanders
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Head coach Peter Laviolette was asked if he could think of a player who’s come in and had that impact on a team, a fanbase, or a city.

“To the question you’re asking I can’t think of a player that’s come in and had that impact on a team, on a fanbase, on a city,” Laviolette said. “If you watch him and look at him he just smiles, he’s just happy, loves being here, loves to play the game. He’s been great, but I can’t think of anybody off the top of my head.”

Dan Rosen

Rempe’s biggest reward for his hard work was evident in the final minute with a 4-1 lead. Remepe, along with Goodrow and Vesey, were on the ice defending a hard rush by the Capitals. The coach’s confidence in the rookie was evident and will most certainly lead to more opportunities as the team goes deeper into the playoffs.

Follow Frank on X at @RangerProud

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