Rangers shutout Penguins 3-0, magic number to clinch a playoff berth is 2 points

With a solid 3-0 win on Thursday night over the Pittsburgh Penguins, the New York Rangers are just two points away from clinching a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Igor Shesterkin waved goodbye to the Pittsburgh Penguins following a convincing 3-0 New York Rangers shutout win over their division rivals.  The win gave the Blueshirts a six-point lead for second place in the Metropolitan Division with 10 games remaining.

The game had a playoff vibe from the opening face-off at the Garden.  Shesterkin was strong early in the game even though he didn’t face many shots with the Penguins playing without their captain Sidney Crosby who was a last-minute scratch with a non-covid illness.

This contest was chippy throughout the game but became a post-whistle scrum after a high hit by the Pen’s Anthony Angello on Tyler Motte. It appeared Motte, (who has concussion issues) suffered an upper-body injury and did not return for the remainder of the third period.  Gerard Gallant had no further details to announce during his post-game presser.



Newly acquired Frank Vatrano has enjoyed the Rangers-Penguins rivalry in the short time he has been in New York.

“For the most part, I think it was hard through the whistles,” said  Vatrano.  “Then it got a little chippy there toward the end. But I think the three times I played against them since I’ve been here, it’s been a playoff type of game and those are the games you’re going to play down the stretch. Especially against a team that you might see in the first round.”

Vatrano gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead 24 seconds into the second period. Artemi panarin scored his 20th of the season at 9:47 of the second and Igor Shesterkin did the rest as he made 30 saves while recording his fourth shutout of the season.

Shesterkin rebounded after two bad games against the New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers last week.

The Rangers head coach said he was never worried about his number one goaltender despite his struggles,

“I thought he was excellent. People were worried about him. I wasn’t. He played really well tonight, made some real key saves at key times.”

With their 5-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres, the Carolina Hurricanes continue to have a two-point lead over the Blueshirts with the teams jockeying for first place. The Hurricanes have one game in hand.

Game Notes

–       Frank Vatrano opened the scoring with his 16th goal of the season and his sixth as a Ranger. Vatrano has points in six of his last eight games and has totaled eight points (6G-2A) in 12 games with New York. Vatrano’s goal stood up as the game-winner, his third of the season and 17th of his career. Vatrano is one goal away from the 100th of his career.

–       Chris Kreider notched his 21st assist of the season and has points in back-to-back games (1G-2A). In his last 10 games, Kreider has seven goals and six assists for 13 points and a plus-6 rating. 

–       Mika Zibanejad recorded his 20th multi-point game of the year (2A), tying Chris Kreider for the second-most on the team. With his two assists, Zibanejad established a career-high with 46 helpers. His 73 points are one shy of his career-high total set in 2018-19. Zibanejad has points in eight of his last 11 games (2G-9A) and 15 points (5G-10A) in his last 14 games.

–       Igor Shesterkin stopped all 30 shots faced and posted his fourth shutout of the year. Shesterkin’s 33 wins rank tied for third in the league while his .935 save percentage ranks first in the NHL.

–       Artemi Panarin scored a goal, his 20th of the year, in his 500th career game. Since making his NHL debut with Chicago (against NYR) to begin the 2015-16 season, Panarin ranks third in assists (373), fifth in points (558), and fourth in plus/minus (+127). The only active players with more points through 500 career games are Sidney Crosby (706), Connor McDavid (680), Alex Ovechkin (633), and Evgeni Malkin (611). Panarin has points in eight of his last nine games (3G-10A) and has 23 points (4G-19A) in his last 15 games.

–       Andrew Copp tallied an assist and has tallied a point in nine of his last 10 games (3G-10A) and eight of his nine contests (3G-7A) with New York.

–       Jacob Trouba collected his 25th assist of the year, tying his second-most of his career. Trouba has points in two of his past three games (2A).

–       Dryden Hunt scored his fifth goal of the season, a career-high.



–      Barclay Goodrow played in his 400th career game. The two-time Stanley Cup champion has

split his 400 contests between New York (69), Tampa Bay (63), and San Jose (268).   Via NYR PR

The Rangers will host the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night at 7:00 p.m.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments