The New York Rangers bounce back in a big way

Mar 3, 2020; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers goalie Alexandar Georgiev (40) makes a save against the St. Louis Blues during the first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers bounced back in a big way with a statement victory over the New York Islanders by the score of 5-0. Alexandar Georgiev stopped 23 shots in earning the shutout victory.

The Rangers caught a little bit of a break before the game when the Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov was injured in warmups after getting hit below the mask and above his left shoulder around the collarbone by a shot from teammate Cal Clutterbuck. This meant that the Islanders had to turn to Ilya Sorokin, who made his NHL debut in this contest.

It may not have mattered who the Islanders started in goal as the Rangers came out in a much different fashion compared to Thursday night’s loss.

Head coach David Quinn wanted to send a message to his time by making some personnel changes right away. One move he made was to switch lines with Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko. The move did not seem to bother Kakko as he responded to his “demotion” with an outstanding goal in the second period,

Another move was the benching of Tony DeAngelo, who drew the ire of Quinn when he took an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in Thursday’s night’s game.  Officials tacked the additional infraction onto a holding penalty after DeAngelo yelled at the referees and slammed the door of the penalty box.

In his post-game virtual Zoom press conference, Quinn was quite pleased with the effort. “I have got to give a bunch of our leaders a ton of credit,” Quinn said “Jacob Trouba stood tall tonight and played one of his best games as a Ranger. Mika, Kreider, Bread, all of these guys were just great.”

Another thing that pleased Quinn about the win was how the team responded to the poor performance on Thursday night. “How you respond to it tells you a lot about your group and we answered some questions tonight in a lot of ways.”

Pavel Buchnevich scored the first of his two goals 2:12 into the game after Mika Zibanejad stole the puck in front of the Islanders’ bench. Artemi Panarin converted a breakaway to stretch the Rangers’ first-period advantage with 7:14 left. Brendan Smith blocked a shot in the defensive zone then delivered the beautiful stretch pass to Panarin.

Buchnevich added his second of the game with a sharp-angled wrist shot from the left faceoff dot at 5:57 of the second period. Phillip Di Giuseppe set up Kakko with 4:36 left in the middle period to make it 4-0.

Panarin finished the scoring on the Rangers’ seventh power play of the game with 4:04 left off a pass from Adam Fox. Buchnevich had an assist for his third point of the game.

One of the few things that were not good for the Rangers was that they went 1-8 on the power play and are now 1-11 on the young season.

On Tuesday, the Rangers conclude this first homestand of the season when they host the New Jersey Devils.