Tired New York Rangers suffer 3-1 loss to Hurricanes, face elimination Saturday night

In what was most likely the New York Rangers’ most significant game in the last 5 years, a 3-1 loss now forces a must-win on Saturday night.

The New York Rangers failed to score an even-strength goal for the second consecutive road game of this series and went on to lose 3-1 to the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night in Raleigh, N.C.

The Hurricanes lead the series 3-2 and will have a chance to eliminate the Rangers Saturday night at MSG.

Blueshirts head coach Gerrard Gallant said all that needed to be said of the club’s worse performance in this round and perhaps all season long.

““I didn’t think we played our game at all. I thought we were reaching with sticks all night instead of finishing checks with the body like we did the other nights. To me, it was the worst game in the five games so far in this series. They pretty well dominated that game tonight.”

Managing only 17 shots in goal in the game, seven in the third period, Hurricanes goaltender Antti Raanta was never tested or faced a high-quality shot aside from the Mika Zibanejad power-play goal midway through the first period.

The struggles became apparent early on as the team could not complete a pass out of their own end for much of the first period. Added to the equation that the team was a step or two behind the Hurricanes all night and it became apparent the Ranger’s only way out of Raleigh would be if their goalkeeper could steal a win.

It didn’t work out for Shesterkin and his teammates.

No Goal

The Rangers were tied 1-1 entering the second period and thought he had taken a 2-1 lead when Ryan Strome scored.  The play was reviewed and determined to be offside. With the goal taken off of the scoreboard, the Hurricanes put on a ton of offensive pressure and scored a power-play goal by Teuvo Teravaniev which gave the Hurricanes a 2-1 lead.

It was the first power-play goal off Round 2 for the Hurricanes.

Ryan Strome talked about the overturned goal decision and subsequent power play that gave the Hurricanes a second-period lead,  “Obviously, things happen quick out there. Unfortunate, but that’s the way the game is, a rule is a rule. Unfortunately, they got the power-play goal after that, but that’s how close these game[s] are, right?

The Hurricanes remained undefeated at home in these playoffs outscoring both the Boston Bruins and Rangers 25-8 at the PNC Arena.  Rangers forward Chris Kreider isn’t looking towards a Game 7 in Carolina yet recognizing the team needs to win Game 6 first.

“We’ve got to win one game,” Rangers forward Chris Kreider said. “That’s our focus. It’s a little cliché, but there are a lot of things we can take from that game and do a better job of. Learn from that and win one game. Win the first shift, win the first period, and go from there.”

 

In order to win Game 6, the Ranger’s top players are going to have to find a way to get involved in the game. Frank Vatrano, Chris Kreider, and Mika Zibanejad totaled just two shots. Artemi Panarin played another subpar game filled with turnovers and bad decisions had zero shots and Andrew Copp had just two.

The Rangers have faced elimination three times already in this playoffs. If they want to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals to play against a resting Tampa Bay Lightning they will have to do something they have become accustomed to, coming back to win a series.

This team had 25 comeback wins in the regular season and another three in the first round. It’s not out of the realm of possibility to do it again now.

In order for that to happen Gerrard Gallant needs to adjust to what the Hurricanes are doing, and the players need to play the way they did in games 3 and 4 last week at the Garden.

New York Rangers find way to win, trail series with Hurricanes 2-1

The New York Rangers cut the Carolina Hurricanes series lead in half following a 3-1 home win at Madison Square Garden on Sunday afternoon.

With the New York Rangers sitting in a 2-0 series deficit heading into Sunday’s afternoons game, the Blueshirts needed to decide what team would show up to play the Carolina Hurricanes.

The hard-working, big hitting team was the club that showed up, in a must-win game, and defeated the Hurricanes 3-1.

The Hurricanes now lead the series 2-1 with game four on Tuesday night at MSG.

Gallant Changes lines to Start Game

Head coach Gerrard Gallant broke up the “Kids” line with the team struggling to find scoring, placing Filip Chytil with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider.  Alexis Lafreniere found himself playing with Ryan Strome and Artemi Panarin.

The line combinations that began the game looked like this;

Kreider-Zibanejad-Chytil
Panarin-Strome- Lafrenière
Vatrano-Copp-Kakko
Motte-Rooney-Reaves
Miller-Trouba
Lindgren-Fox
Braun-Schneider
Shesterkin
“I was flipping back and forth, honestly, with that,” Gallant said after the win. “I just wanted to get [Andrew Copp] in the middle, you know, stronger faceoff guy in the dot. He did pretty well, but we still got a lot of trouble at the faceoff dot tonight. But that was the thinking early on, and then I wanted to get back to my lines again after that.”
 Gallant went back to his regular top there lines for the start of the third period.  Regardless of what line combination the head coach out on the ice, his centers were atrocious on the face-off dot.
As a team, the Rangers won 41% of the faceoffs for the game. Ryan Strome (36%), and Kevin Rooney (0-10 at the dot), struggled all game to get possession of the puck.  Andrew Copp (56%) and Mika Zibanejad (53%) led the team at the circles.

Held on to the Lead

The Rangers took a 1-0 lead on a power-play goal in the first period and recorded an assist on Chris Kreider’s second-period goal which was his sixth goal of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the Rangers.

Igor Shesterkin made 35 saves through the first two periods and finished with 43 saves on 44 shots. The lone goal he gave up was one he wants back.  Carolina’s Nono Niederreiter scored on a backhand shot that found its way through the Russian goalie and into the nest to cut the Ranger’s lead to 2-1withg under 12 minutes left in the second period.

Shesterkin recognized the importance of that play after the game when he took the time to thank the fans for their support even after that bad goal he let in.

“I’d honestly like to thank the fans for the energy they provided. They supported me even though I kind of let them down in that one spot. But the energy at MSG is always great, they’re always charged up and I can’t thank them more for that.”

The game ended with a scuffle on the ice after the Hurricane’s Max Domi cross-checked Ryan Lindgren as the horn sounded.

At the same time, Gallant found himself chirping with former Rangers defensemen Anthony DeAngelo from the bench. The head coach was not happy with how the game ended handmade sure the Hurricanes knew he had the club to handle any further scrums that may occur.

“I wasn’t happy with the bull[crap] at the end of the game that they initiated,” Gallant said. “We didn’t do that when the games were close. They want to put their guys on, that’s fine. If they want to play like that, we got the guys that can match that.  They’re not sending any message, we got the guy that can handle all their guys if we want to.”

Notes

  • The Blueshirts improved to 22-10-3 (19-8-3 in regular season, 3-2 in postseason) following a loss of any kind this season.
  • The Rangers went 3-for-3 on the penalty kill, improving to 7-for-7 on the PK in this series. The Blueshirts have been perfect on the penalty kill in five of their last six games and in six of 10 playoff games.
  • When facing 40 or more shots in a game this season, Shesterkin is 7-1 (3-1 in postseason, 4-0 in regular season). Shesterkin became the fifth different Rangers goaltender since 1955-56 to record a 40-save win in the playoffs and the first since Henrik Lundqvist (42 in Game 6 of 2015 R2). Shesterkin’s 339 saves through 10 games in a playoff year is the most by a Rangers goaltender since 1955-56, besting Mike Richter’s mark of 329 saves through 10 games in 1997.
  • Chris Kreider scored his 30th career playoff goal and surpassed Mark Messier (29) for the second-most in Rangers history, trailing only Rod Gilbert (34). Kreider’s goal was his sixth of the playoffs and 58th of the season. Kreider also tied Ron Duguay for the ninth-most points (47) in Rangers playoff history. Kreider’s netted his third game-winning goal of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Only three players in Rangers history have had more in a single postseason: Frank Boucher (4 in 1928), Brian Leetch (4 in 1994), and Mark Messier (4 in 1994). His nine career playoff game-winning goals are the most in franchise history.
  • Mika Zibanejad notched two points (1G-1A) in the win for his first points of the series. In his last five games, Zibanejad has nine points (4G-5A) and has 13 points total in 10 playoff games (4G-9A). In the NHL, Zibanejad ranks tied for fourth with 13 points in these playoffs. The last Ranger to have 13 or more points through 10 playoff games was Jaromir Jagr (15 in 2008).
  • Adam Fox recorded an assist for his 11th point (3G-8A) of the Playoffs. The only Rangers defensemen with more in a single postseason in the past 26 years are Ryan McDonagh (17 in 2014) and Dan Girardi (12 in 2012). Fox’s eight assists are tied for the ninth-most in a single playoff season by a Rangers defenseman.

Via NYR PR

New York Rangers move on to Round 2 with Overtime win

The New York Rangers completed another comeback defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 in overtime on Artemi Panarin’s power-play goal.

The New York Rangers didn’t want their season to end.  In order to get that done, they would need to complete another comeback in this series and for the 30th time this season, the Blueshirts did just that as they went on to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins in overtime when Artemi Panarin scored the winning power-play goal at 4:46 of the extra stanza.

The win sends the Blueshirts to the second round of the playoffs where they will play the Carolina Hurricanes with game 1 on Wednesday in Raleigh, NC.

Not Looking Good

Things were not looking promising late in the third period with the Blueshirts down a shorthanded goal scored by Evan Rodrigues with just ver three minutes left in the second period. The Rangers were only able to strange four shots on goal prior to Mika Zibanejad (3G) scoring the tying goal at 13:15 of the third period.

When the third period concluded, the two teams were deadlocked 3-3 heading into overtime with the series outcome on the line.

The Rangers were awarded an early rare OT power play when the Penguins Brock McGinn held defenseman K’Andre Miller as he drove to the net. At the time the Ranges were 0-3 with the man advantage, but that didn’t deter the 18,000 plus fans who were all standing on their feet waiting to blow the roof off the Garden if they could connect on the power-play.

Artemi Panarin, who struggle for most of the game and the series as a whole, scored to the gloves side of Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry, over his glove, to send the Rangers to the second round of the NHL Playoffs.

Panarin realized his poor round and his decision not to shoot the ouch when he had quality scoring chances speaking through a translator following the win.

“I don’t really score that many goals, so I’d say all of them are pretty, pretty big, honestly, [my teammates have] been letting me shoot since the first game. Kind of my bad, I haven’t really been making those shots, but maybe I should listen to everyone’s advice and actually get out there and take shots.”

Panarin had three goals in the seven-game series, but none were bigger than his winner on Sunday night.

Chris Kreider put the Rangers on the scoreboard first, but the Penguin’s power-play and penalty kill had earned them the 3-2 lead before Zibanejad tied the game. The Pens were 2-5 with the man advantage and 1-4 on the penalty kill along with a shorthanded goal by Rodrigues in the second period.

Zibanejad’s tying the goal with 5:45 remaining in regulation marked the first time in franchise history a Rangers player has tied a Game 7 in the final 10 minutes of the third period.

Defenseman K’Andre Miller netted an unassisted goal at 11:23 of the second period which even the game 2-2. It was his first NHL playoff goal which tied the game 2-2. Zibanejad had two assists as did Andrew Copp

Igor Shesterkin made 42 saves and went 4-2 in seven starts with a 3.67 goals-against average and .911 save percentage in the series despite being pulled in both game 3 and game 4. Shesterkin recorded 255 saves in seven games, the most in a single series by a Rangers goaltender (since 1955-56 when the League began officially tracking shots on goal). Shesterkin is the third Rangers goaltender (Mike Richter, John Vanbiesbrouck) to post a win in his first career Game 7 and is now the youngest Rangers goaltender to win his first career Game 7 (26 years, 136 days).

During the post-game presser, Zibanejad discussed the euphoria that occurred when Panarin clinched the victory,

“I don’t think I’ve heard this building louder than ‘Artie’s’ OT goal, “I could not hear what I was thinking. … We didn’t want the season to end. I think this has been our team all year.”

The Rangers had trailed in the series 3-1 but found a way to come back and win the best of seven series 4-3. The team trailed in each of the last three games, but found the will to battle back and win each contest. With Sunday’s win, they became the first team in Stanley Cup Playoff history to record three consecutive comeback wins in elimination games within the same series.

Defenseman Adam Fox Adam Fox is the 4th defenseman in NHL history with at least one point in all 7 games of a playoff series. Fox Joins Miro Heiskanen (2020 Dallas Stars), Larry Murphy (1995 Pittsburgh Pens), and Paul Reinhart (1984 Calgary Flames). Fox is the first New York Ranger to accomplish this feat.

 

Game Notes (via NYR PR)

  •  New York won a series after trailing 3-1 for the third time in team history (2015 R2 vs. WSH, 2014 R2 vs. PIT) after coming into these playoffs with a 2-18 series record when trailing 3-1. The Rangers won three of four games in comeback fashion.
  • Kreider scored his 29th career playoff goal to surpass Adam Graves, Ron Duguay,
  • Braden Schneider (20 years, 237 days) became the youngest player in Rangers history to record a point (A) in a Game 7, besting Alex Kovalev (21 years, 110 days) in the 1994 Stanley Cup Final. and Brian Leetch and pull into a tie with Mark Messier for second place in franchise history behind Rod Gilbert (34).
  • Ryan Strome tallied his fifth assist of the playoffs to give him points in six of seven games this series.

What’s Next?

On Wednesday, the Rangers visit the Carolina Hurricanes for Game 1 of Round 2.

Wednesday, May 18 @Carolina 7 p.m.
Friday, May 20 @Carolina 8 p.m.
Sunday, May 22 @New York 3:30 p.m.
Tuesday, May 24 @New York 7 p.m.
Thursday, May 26 @Carolina TBD*
Saturday, May 28 @New York TBD*
Monday, May 30 @Carolina TBD*

Follow Frank Curto on Twitter at @RangerProud

Ranger’s look for answers after epic performance by Igor Shesterkin is wasted in Game 1 loss

The New York Rangers game one loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins was a result of a horrid second period that the team could not overcome physically or mentally.

The New York Rangers‘ loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in triple overtime last night will be forgotten the next time the Blueshirts hit the ice. What shouldn’t be forgotten was the total collapse the team suffered allowing the Pens to battle back from two leads in the second period.

A 1-0 first intermission lead for the Rangers turned to 2-0 early in the second period when Andrew Copp scored at 3:08 of the period.  The Penguins then found another gear, heck another two gears, and dominated play putting  Rangers on their heels and in their zone for almloost the whole period.

Poor 2nd Period costs lead

Pittsburgh put 18 shots on Igor Shesterkin in the first 12 minutes of the second period and tied the game at 2-2 at on two Jake Guentzel goals before the halfway mark of that period.  The Pens would take 25 shots, scoring three goals, with the third period ending tied 3-3.

The stellar play of Igor Shestrkin was the only reason this game was close making as he made 79 saves in the loss. The 79 saves were the second-most in NHL history (Joonas Korpisalo made 85 saves for the Columbus Blue Jackets against the Lightning in Game 1 of the 2020 first round, won by the Lightning 3-2 in the fifth overtime).

Shesterkin surpassed the 56 saves performance from Gump Worsley (April 5, 1962) for the most in franchise history.

Center  Ryan Strome acknowledged the caliber of play by Shesterkin following the loss,

“I mean, he made like 80 saves or whatever it was, so obviously he was good,”  “He’s done it all year. Our best player, and he showed it tonight. He [did] everything he had to do, and we couldn’t get one for him obviously.”

Head coach Gerrard Gallant, coaching his first playoff game with the Rangers, liked what he saw early on in the game

“Great game by two teams, thought the first 25 minutes we were real good, dominated that part of the game and then they come back in the second and they played really well after that. It was one of those games, three overtime periods, it’s tough to lose like that, but you get back on the horse and get ready for the next game.”

The club played a textbook first period, but somewhere after they scored their second goal, they took their foot off the pedal and it probably cost them a victory.

“I think we learned a lesson a little bit in the second period,” said Ryan Strome, who set up Andrew Copp for the one-timer in the slot for the two-goal lead. “When you’re up 2-0, you like to think that you can shut them down a little more, but they clawed back in so. It’s tough to remember the second period, it feels like so long ago, but I thought we battled hard. We did a lot of good things.

Many believe the Rangers overturned goal by Filip Chytil late in the third was the reason the team lost game one. In reality, the loss could be attributed because the team was unable to sustain the forecheck and hitting they displayed in the first period along with some poor shooting decisions in the overtime.

Game two is Thursday night and as the head coach said, it’s time to get back on the horse.

Notes

  • The status of Ryan Lindgren is unknown for Thursday’s game. He is listed as suffering from an LBI.
  • Igor Shesterkin made 79 saves on 83 shots, the second-most saves in NHL history behind Joonas Korpisalo (CBJ) on August 11, 2020, against Tampa Bay. His save total surpassed the 56 saves from Gump Worsley (April 5, 1962) for the most in franchise history.

  •    Chris Kreider scored his first career playoff shorthanded goal a part of his seventh career multi-point playoff game (1G-1A). Kreider’s shorthanded goal was his 30th special-team tally of 2021-22 (regular season and playoffs combined) – the highest combined total in a season since Eric Staal had 30 with the Hurricanes in 2005-06 en route to a Stanley Cup win. Kreider scored his 53rd combined goal of the season. Only three players in Rangers history recorded a higher combined total in a single campaign: Adam Graves (62 in 1993-94), Vic Hadfield (57 in 1971-72), and Jaromir Jagr (54 in 2005-06). Kreider’s goal, his 25th, surpassed Steve Vickers for the sixth most playoff goals in franchise history. Kreider’s 41 career playoff points rank tied for 15th in Rangers history.

  •    K’Andre Miller led the Rangers with 45:08 minutes of time on ice, the third-highest TOI in franchise history behind Ryan McDonagh (53:17) and Marc Staal (49:34) – both on May 2, 2012, at Washington.

  •   Mika Zibanejad notched two assists for his fourth career playoff multi-assist effort and first since April 29, 2017, against Ottawa. Zibanejad has 20 career playoff points (5G-15A).

  •   Adam Fox opened the scoring for New York with his first career playoff goal/point. It marked the ninth time in franchise history that a defenseman scored the team’s first goal of the postseason and the first since Matt Gilroy in Game 1 of the 2011 Conference Quarterfinals. Fox became the third reigning James Norris Memorial Trophy winner to contest at least one playoff game with the Rangers, following Doug Harvey (1961-62 Norris; 0-1—1 in 1963 SCP, 6 GP) and Harry Howell (1966-67 Norris; 1-0—1 in 1968 SCP, 6 GP). Fox (Jericho, N.Y.) became the fourth New York-born player in franchise history to score a playoff goal for the Rangers, following Ryan Callahan (14 G), Brian Mullen (2 G), and Matt Gilroy (1 G).

  •   Andrew Copp scored his fourth career playoff goal, giving him a combined nine goals and 10 assists for 19 points in 17 total games with New York. Copp is appearing in the playoffs for a fifth-straight season after spending the last four playoff seasons with Winnipeg.

  •  Ryan Strome tallied an assist, giving him three goals and eight assists for 11 points in 19 career playoff games between the Islanders and Rangers. Strome led the Rangers with eight shots on goal, tied for his career-high in the regular season and playoffs.

  • Jacob Trouba notched his sixth career playoff assist and second as a Ranger. (via NYR PR)

Follow Frank Curto on Twitter at @RangerProud.

New York Rangers Vs. Pittsburgh Penguins: First Round preview

The New York Rangers are back in the playoffs for the first time in five years and will begin round one against a familiar foe in the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night.

New York Rangers: 52-24-6, 110 points

Pittsburgh Penguins: 46-25-11, 103 points

Season Results: NYR 3-1-0; PIT 1-3-0

It has been five long years since the New York Rangers have played in a playoff game.  Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad are the only remaining Blueshirts who were on the team that won their last postseason game, a 4-1 against the Ottawa Senators in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Second Round, on May 4, 2017.

Today’s team has intentions of going deep into the playoffs, but they will be battling an experienced playoff team. The Penguins are in the postseason for the 16th consecutive season and are led by three core players in Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, and Sydney Crosby.

Impressive Season

Coming off an impressive season coached by Gerrard Gallant, the Rangers won 52 games this season, tied for second-most in team history (1993-94). Their 110 points are the third-most in team history. Its the first time in 10 seasons and only the 10th time in the NHL history that a team had at least 50 wins and 100 points with a 50-goal scorer (Kreider was third in the NHL with 52), a 90-point scorer (Artemi Panarin had 96) and a goalie with at least 36 wins (Igor Shesterkin had 36).

The Rangers know that once the playoffs start, all of the regular season stats and accomplishments are thrown away with all 16 playoff teams getting a fresh start.

“It’s been a grind, a couple [of] long years, but definitely worth the wait to be back in the playoffs.” Looking at this group that we have, I’m super happy to be a part of that and to be a part of the solution. I’m just really excited to get this going,” Mika Zibanejead told Dan Rosen of NHL.com.

Mika also discussed how the regular season stats don’t have a say once the playoffs begin,

“We’re familiar with what they do and what kind of team that is, but now it’s 0-0, everyone starts at zero, so I don’t think [the regular season] makes a huge difference.”

The playoff expedience chart leans heavily towards the Penguins, but Andrew Copp has his own view on the value of playoff experience.

“I don’t think experience is all that it’s chalked up to be,” said Andrew Copp , who participated in practice Sunday for the first time since sustaining a lower-body injury that sidelined him in three of the Rangers’ last four games of the regular season. “They’re just three really good players and their team is very good. Obviously, I think our team is very good, too. I think we’re ready for this challenge. It’s definitely going to be a great series and we’re looking forward to it.”

Gallant tried to downplay the experience factor, giving credit to the Penguins, but also stating that he is fully confident that his team can win the series,

“I think we’re as good as anybody in the playoffs and I think anybody in the playoffs can beat us,” said the coach, guaranteeing he would not make the back page. “I truly believe, can we win against Pittsburgh? Yeah, I believe that.

“Are we favored against Pittsburgh? I don’t really care about that. I think we can make a run, I don’t know if we’re going to, but I think we have as good a chance as anybody else.”

Defense Prowess

Defense is so important in the journey for a Stanely Cup.  The Rangers have four of the best in the NHL in Adam Fox, Ryan Lindgren, Jacob Trouba, and K’Andre Miller. Their third pair unit of Patrik Nemeth and Braden Schneider are capable of playing against any unit the Pens out on the ice.

Fox lead the defense in points recording 74 with 11 goals. He also led the team with 23:54 average minutes on since per game. Trouba was second in that category avenging just over 22 minutes per game. Trouba (+25) and Miller (+23) lead the defense in plus/minus.

Ryan Lindgren had 129 hits along with 141 block shots.  The team played its best defensive games over the final 10 games of the season with 4 shutouts including three consecutive games between Apr. 19 and Apr. 23.

IGOR -IGOR -IGOR

Igor Shesterkin’s name has been mentioned in both the Hart Trophy and Vein trophy category, but he is more concerned with the first round of the playoffs.

H will make his NHL playoff debut on Tuesday night a Madison Square Garden. The Ranger’s number one goalie led the league in G.A.A 2.07 and a save percentage of .935.

Shesterkin’s .935 save percentage in 2021-22 was the third-highest in NHL history among goaltenders with a minimum of 50 appearances. Tim Thomas (2010-11) – .938 Dominik Hasek (1998-99) – .937 Igor Shesterkin (2021-22) – .935.   Shesterkin posted the highest single-season save percentage in franchise history among goaltenders with a minimum of 30 appearances. (Via NYR Stats).

He had six shoutouts while compiling a 36-13-4 record. His 36 wins were ranked sixth in the NHL.

Projected Lineups & Stats

Based on the Lines used in practice on Sunday, the Ranger’s game one lineup is predicted to be;

Chris Kreider — Mika Zibanejad — Frank Vatrano

Artemi Panarin — Ryan Strome — Andrew Copp

Alexis Lafreniere — Filip Chytil — Kaapo Kakko

Ryan Reeves– Kevin Rooney — Barclay Goodrow

Ryan Lindgren — Adam Fox

K’Andre Miller — Jacob Trouba

Patrik Nemeth — Braden Schneider

Igor Shesterkin

Alexandar Georgiev

 Injured:  Tyler Motte – Upper body injury.

Power Play Units

PP1– Fox, Zibanejad, Strome, Panarin and Kreider

PP2– Trouba, Copp, Chytil, Vatrano and Lafreniere.

Kakko should get some reps on PP2.

It appears the Penguins will be without the services of their number one goalie Tristan Jarry, UBI) for at least the first two games of the series. Their lines in practice on Sunday were;

Jake Guentzel — Sidney Crosby — Bryan Rust

Danton Heinen — Evgeni Malkin — Rickard Rakell

Brock McGinn — Jeff Carter — Kasperi Kapanen

Brian Boyle — Teddy Blueger — Evan Rodrigues

Brian Dumoulin — Kris Letang

Marcus Pettersson — John Marino

Mike Matheson — Chad Ruhwedel

Casey DeSmith

Louis Domingue

Injured: Tristan Jarry (lower body, Nathan Beaulieu (lower body), Jason Zucker (lower body)

Leading Scorers

via ESPN.com

The Rangers are led by Chris Kreider’s 52 goals and Artemi Panarin’s 96 points which include 74 assists. The Pen’s leaders in goals are Jake Guentzel (40) who is also the team’s point leader with 84 (tied with Sidney Crosby).  Kris Letang leads the team with 58 assists.

Round 1 Notes

  • Artemi Panarin and Andrew Copp returned to practice and both are expected to play in Game one on Tuesday night.
  • Copp was acquired for the Winnipeg Jets at the trade deadline and has put up impressive numbers since his arrival in New York. He had 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) in 16 games, but missed three of the last four games of the regular season with a lower-body injury. He had been skating on a line with Panarin and Strome which will be continued in the playoffs.
  • The team is ranked 4th in the NHL on the power play (25.2%).
  • Ranked 7th on the penalty kill (82.3%).
  • Chris Kreider had 26 power-play goals, a franchise record.
  • Artemi Panarin recorded 37 power-play points (5G-32 A).
  • Rangers had a home record of 27-10-4.
  • Road record 25-14-2.
  • Rangers at home vs. Pens this season 2-0.
  • Rangers at Pittsburgh this season 1-1.
  • The Rangers had 27 comeback wins, 4th most in NHL history.

The last time the Rangers and Penguins squared off in the playoffs was in 2016 when Pittsburgh easily took the series in five games. The only player who is still on the Rangers roster from that year is Kreider.

Round 1 Schedule

Game 1 Tuesday, May 3 Pittsburgh 7:00pm MSG Network
Game 2 Thursday, May 5 Pittsburgh 7:00pm MSG Network
Game 3 Saturday, May 7 at Pittsburgh 7:00pm MSG Network
Game 4 Monday, May 9 at Pittsburgh 7:00pm MSG Network
*Game 5 Wednesday, May 11 Pittsburgh TBD MSG Network
*Game 6 Friday, May 13 at Pittsburgh TBD MSG Network
*Game 7 Sunday, May 15 Pittsburgh TBD MSG Network

Prediction

The Rangers take the series in five games.

You can follow Frank Curto on Twitter at @RangerProud

Rangers’ Chris Kreider wins inaugural Ród Gilbert ‘Mr. Ranger’ Award

An already incredible season for New York Rangers Chris Kreider before this week started, became even more special with the announcement that he was the winner of the inaugural  Rod Gilbert “Mr. Ranger” Award on Wednesday night.

What a week it has been for New York Rangers alternate captain Chris Kreider.  On Monday he was nominated for the Bill Masterson Award, on Tuesday he won the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award, which he said was “probably the greatest honor that he had experienced as a professional hockey player and he also notched his 52nd goal of the season. To cap off the week he was named the inaugural winner of the Rod Gilbert “Mr. Ranger” award last night.

Rod Gilbert ‘Mr. Ranger’ Award

The award is named after fan-favorite Rod Gilbert who passed away earlier this season. The award is given to the Rangers player who best honors Rod’s legacy by exemplifying leadership qualities both on and off the ice and making a significant humanitarian contribution to his community.

“I’d like to congratulate Chris on being the inaugural winner of the Rod Gilbert “Mr. Ranger” Award,” Rangers President and General Manager Chris Drury said via a team press release. “Since he made his debut with the Rangers a decade ago, Chris has consistently and willingly devoted his time and efforts to charitable endeavors, especially through the Garden of Dreams Foundation. Chris’ contributions in the community exemplify the kindness and generosity that Rod demonstrated throughout his life. The leadership qualities Chris has shown in the community have translated into him becoming a leader for our team in the locker room through the example he sets on a daily basis. Therefore, it is only fitting that Chris is the first annual recipient of this award, which he has rightly earned.”

Kreider has served as an alternate captain for the Rangers since 2018 and has represented the Blueshirts since being drafted by the club in 2009. His hard work and dedication on as well as off the ice comes with a great impact for thousands of children, which he supports through the Garden of Dreams Foundation (GDF), Hockey Fights Cancer, Hockey is for Everyone, Season of Giving, and Essential Worker Night in the arena.

“Was lucky enough to get to know Rod my first few years here. Obviously didn’t have the privilege of seeing him and seeing him play hockey, heard terrific things but got to know him as a person and saw what he did in the community and, you know, the example that he set for the entire organization, so it’s very, very humbling to be considered for the award”, Kredier told MSG Networks Dave Maloney between periods of Wednesday nights game.

On the ice, Kreider has put together a career year in his 10th season, recording 52 goals and 25 assists for 77 points. His 52 goals are tied for the second-most in a single season in team history. Kreider has also broken franchise records for the most single-season power-play goals (26) and game-winning goals (11).

The Rangers will play their 82nd and final game of the regular season on Friday night when the Washington capitals visit Madison Square Garden. Kreider and most of the other top players are not expected to play in that game so they will be healthy when the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin next Monday or Tuesday.

Follow Frank Curto on Twitter @RangerProud

New York Rangers lose Panarin, Copp to injuries in loss to Hurricanes

The Carolina Hurricanes clinched first place in the Metropolitan Divison on Tuesday night with a 4-3 win over the New York Rangers. The result was not nearly as damaging as the news during the second period that both Andrew Copp and Artemni Panarin would not return for the rest of the evening due to injuries.

The Rangers said Panarin suffered an upper-body injury, with Copp suffering a lower-body injury. After the loss, Gerrard Gallant said the players were kept out of the remainder of the game in an abundance of caution.

“They told me between periods, ‘Do you want them back? And I said no, I need them back next week,” said Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant, who added that the two forwards should be fine. “I hate to see it, but I’d [rather] be cautious than not have them when the games really matter.”

Gallant seemed to have no intention of sitting any of his players as the regular-season schedule concludes this week. That mindset changed following last night’s loss with the head coach admitting, “I’ll think about it tomorrow morning.”

Ended Strong

With the Rangers down two forwards and Kappo Kakko still out with an injury, the Rangers battled back from a three-goal deficit to get within one when Alexis Lafreniere scored a late third-period goal to bring the score to a 4-3 Carolina advantage, but that was as close as the Rangers could get.

News & Notes

  • Chris Kreider scored his 52nd goal of the season, tying Adam Graves (1993-94) for the second-most goals in a single season in franchise history. Kreider is the 11th player in NHL history, first since Ilya Kovalchuk in 2005-06, to have 52 or more goals and 26 or more power-play goals in a season. With the goal, Kreider surpassed Bill Cook to take sole possession of 10th place on the Ranger’s all-time goals list with 229 goals. Kreider added an assist in the third period, tying his career-high in assists with 25. Tonight was Kreider’s 22nd multi-point game of the year. Kreider has points in five-straight games (2G-4A), eight of his last 10 games (6G-5A), and in 14 of his last 18 contests (12G-9A).
  • Jacob Trouba established a career-high with his 11th goal of the season, tying Adam Fox for the most goals by a Rangers defenseman this season. His goal gave New York its 40th goal by defensemen this season. Trouba has one goal and three assists for four points in his last six games and six points (1G-5A) in his last 11 contests.
  • Mika Zibanejad assisted on Trouba’s goal, extending his point streak to five games (2G-4A). Zibanejad has points in eight of his last nine games (2G-8A) and in 15 of his most recent 19 games (5G-15A). Since April 1, Zibanejad’s 12 points are the third most in New York. Zibanejad has points in seven-straight games against Carolina (5G-7A).
  • Adam Fox notched his 62nd assist of the year and his 73rd point, tying Brad Park (1971-72) and Reijo Ruotsalainen (1984-85) for the ninth most points in a single season by a Rangers defenseman. Fox has points in four of his last five games (1G-5A). Fox’s 62 assists rank second in the NHL among defensemen while his 73 points rank fourth among defensemen.
  •   Alexis Lafrenière scored his 18th goal of the season, extending his point streak to three games (1G-2A). Lafrenière’s 18 even-strength goals are the second most in New York. He has three goals in his last five games. In addition, Lafrenière’s goal brought him to 30 points on the season (18G-12A). (via NYRPR)

Kreider Wins Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award

Chris Kreider was named the 2021-22 Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award. The Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award is presented annually to the Ranger who, as chosen by the fans, “goes above and beyond the call of duty.” The award, which has been given annually since the 1987-88 season, bears the name of devoted Blueshirt fan and New York City Police Detective Steven McDonald, who was shot and injured in the line of duty on July 12, 1986, and passed away on January 10, 2017.

The Rangers host the Montreal Canadiens Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m.

New York Rangers: Chris Kreider regrets footnote status of historic goal

chris kreider, rangers

Chris Kreider made New York Rangers history on Tuesday night, but it was quickly buried by the reality of a costly loss.

No one could ever deny that Chris Kreider has a flair for the dramatics.

Kreider, after all, made his NHL debut during the theatrics of the 2012 postseason and serves as the sole remnant of the New York Rangers’ prosperous playoff runs of the 2010s. When it came to reaching the historic 50-goal plateau, Kreider was no different, as his monumental tally came in the penultimate minute of the third period of a crucial Metropolitan Division showdown with the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden, his 50th of the campaign.

With that goal, Kreider, 30, became the fourth Blueshirt to score 50 goals in a single season. Such a score also unites him with Vic Hadfield (1971-72) for the third-best output in team history, with only Adam Graves (52, 1993-94) and Jaromir Jagr (54, 2005-06) standing above them. He’s also the first Ranger to earn his 50th at MSG since Hadfield and the 50th puck entered the net on the night of Graves’ 54th birthday.

Alas for Kreider and the Rangers, history was a mere footnote, as the Blueshirts (47-21-6) dropped a 4-2 decision to the Hurricanes. Kreider’s goal gave the Rangers hope after they fell behind 3-1 in the final frame, but Sebastian Aho put the game away through an empty-net score with six seconds remaining. The loss put a dent in the Rangers’ late push for a division title, which Carolina (48-18-8) currently owns with a four-point advantage with eight games remaining on each side.

Kreider never hid his disappointment with the fact that his memory-making goal came in a losing effort. When asked if he ever dreamed of reaching 50 goals, especially after never getting past 28 over his first nine full NHL seasons, the first-round pick from the 2009 draft merely replied that he “dreamed of raising the Stanley Cup”.

“It’s something that we can talk about probably on another day,” Kreider said, per ESPN. “It’s hard after a game like that. We were in it, we were doing a lot of good things. I think this would have meant a lot more if we found a way to win the game.”

To Kreider’s point, the Rangers came out hot against the long-tenured division leaders, outshooting the Hurricanes 14-8 in the first period before taking a 1-0 lead on K’Andre Miller’s seventh goal of the season. Carolina took over the latter portions of the game through consecutive tallies from Andrei Svechnikov, Seth Jarvis, and Jordan Staal. Their league-best penalty kill group also erased four Ranger power plays without incident. The teams will meet one more time at MSG on April 26, having split the pair held at PNC Arena in Raleigh.

Despite the loss, head coach Gerard Gallant was sure to give Kreider his well-earned due in the aftermath.

“I think it is awesome that he’s scored 50 goals…It’s a great feat, and he’s had a great season for us, and it’s too bad we had to lose when a guy scores his 50th. But hats off to him,” Gallant said in a video from SNY. “We all dream about the Stanley Cup, but he’s lying. He’s trying to go out and score 50 goals…it’s an unbelievable season and he’s still got six or seven games, I think.”

The Rangers won’t have much time to dwell on the loss to the Hurricanes, as they’ll face another Metropolitan opponent on Wednesday night when they battle the Philadelphia Flyers on the road (7 p.m. ET, TNT).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Rangers look to extend 2nd place lead over Penguins with only 11 games remaining

The New York Rangers will look to increase their four-point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins with a huge contest set to begin at the Garden Thursday night.

A look at the NHL standings may surprise a few, but to most fans, the New York Rangers sitting in second place in the Metropolitan Division is no surprise. This team is primed for a strong playoff run with just 11 games remaining in the 2021-2022 season.

Thursday night begins an 11 game stretch with a battle for second place against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Including Thursday’s game, the Blueshirts will play eight of their final 11 games at Madison Square Garden where they have a record of 22-7-4.  The game will be the final regular-season contest against Sidney Crosby and his Penguins.  In the last contest on Mar. 29, the Rangers beat the Penguins 3-2 in Pittsburgh and have a 2-1 record against them this season.

With the Stanley Cup Playoffs awaiting them, the team has a great chance to catch the division-leading Carolina Hurricanes who have a two-point lead over the Blueshirts (98 Pts.) with one game in hand. Carolina also plays on Thursday night with a game against the Buffalo Sabres at home.

It’s a Power Play Goal

Chris Kreider scored his 25th power-play goal of the season in Tuesday’s win over the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center. The goal set a franchise record for the most power-play goals in a season. Kreider’s goal stood up as the game-winning goal, his franchise record-setting 10th of the season. Kreider is the first NHL skater since Alex Ovechkin in 2014-15 to reach the 25 PPG mark.  It was his 47th goal on the season as he continues his pursuit to reach the 50 gaol mark.

One of the biggest surprised of this season is the emergence of rookie Braden Schneider. The 20-year-old, who has been paired with both Patrik Nemeth and Justin Braun, continues to grow as a hockey player in the short time he has been up with the Rangers.

His teammates have given him the nickname of “baby Trouba” due to his hitting ability which was evident in the game against the Devils on Tuesday night. Schneider lined up Devils Jesper Boqvist. The very hard but very clean hit in the neutral zone drew the attention of forward Yegor Sharangovich who decided to defend his teammate and take on Schneider in a fight following the hit.

Sharangovich lost the fight suffering a bloody bruise on his forehead. The Devils lost him for the game as he was unable to return to the game. Schneider has found himself in a solid position with the team with his flexibility to play wherever the team needs him to.

National Televisison Covereage

Thursday’s game can be seen only on ESPN+ and Hulu. MSG Networks will have pregame and postgame coverage for the game against Pittsburgh tomorrow night on MSG. The network will also have pregame and postgame coverage for the other two remaining regular-season national exclusive telecasts to keep fans close to the action down the stretch run – April 13th at Philadelphia on MSG and April 23rd at Boston on MSG2.

Rangers, led by the outstanding play of Alexandar Georgiev, defeat Hurrincanes 2-0

The New York Rangers beat Carolina Hurricanes 2-0 on Sunday night thanks to one of the best games Alexandar Georgiev has played for the Blueshirts making 44 saves and recording his first shut out of the year.

There are always games where a team leans on their goaltender to get a win. Then there are games like Sunday night where the New York Rangers were so outplayed and outshot that they had no business being on the same ice as the Carolina Hurricanes

Alexandar Georgiev is the only reason the Blueshirts took two points from the Hurricanes as he recorded his seventh career shut out getting a 2-0 victory.

Lucky

Head coach Gerrard Gallant acknowledge that the team was lucky to leave the state of Carolina with the win thanks to the play of their backup goaltender.

“We’re lucky today,” New York coach Gerard Gallant said. “I’d like to say we came in here and played a great game, but last night was a great game. Tonight was a great goaltender who was unbelievable. We were a tired hockey team. They were all over us. They dominated, but we found a way to get two points.”

The victory was Georgiev’s second consecutive win and ninth on the season. His 44 saves were a season-high and tied for the third-most in his career. Georgiev was obviously pleased with his game following the win.

“It felt pretty great. It’s been a long time since I had a game like that, where it’s not a lot of goals and a tight game until the end. I tried to enjoy that and be in the moment.”

Number 41

Chris Kreider gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead notching his 41st goal of the season. It was his third goal in his last four games as he is now tied for second place in goals scored behind Toronto’s Austin Mathews. Kreider has goals in six of his last 10 games and has 41 goals and 21 power-play goals this season. He is the fourth player in Rangers history (Jaromir Jagr – 2005-06, Mike Gartner – 1990-91, Vic Hadfield – 1971-72) to have at least both those totals in a season. Since 2007-08, Kreider is the third player to have at least 41 goals and 21 power-play goals in a season, joining Alex Ovechkin (3x) and Steven Stamkos.

Newly acquired Frank Vatrano scored an empty-net goal to seal the win. That was his first goal as a Ranger, becoming the 23rd different goal scorer for New York this season. Vatrano has 11 goals this season and three in his last four games. Vatrano notched his 20th point of the season, his fourth-straight season reaching the mark.

Vatrano has enjoyed his brief time with the Rangers and understands what a strong locker room can bring to a hockey team.

“That room is a bunch of will and knowing what it takes to win,” Vatrano said. “I’ve paid close attention to them and played against them a bunch. They’re a hard team to play against. They have a great mix of everyone in this lineup. I’m happy to be here and be a part of it and help this team win.”

The Rangers and the rest of the NHL now will sit back and wait to see what, if any, trades will be made with the NHL  trade deadline expiring at 3 p.m. eastern time on Monday.

Post Game Notes

Jacob Trouba recorded his 250th career NHL point, becoming the third defenseman from the 2012 NHL Draft and 11th Michigan-born defenseman in NHL history to reach the milestone. Trouba has points in three-straight games (1G-2A) and in four of his last five games (1G-3A). Trouba notched five hits and two blocked shots. He is the only player in the NHL with at least 170 hits and 140 blocked shots this season.

–        Alexis Lafrenière collected an assist for a third-straight game (3A), his longest point streak of the season, and tied for the second-longest of his career. Last season he had a four-game point streak from Feb. 26-Mar. 4 (2G-3A) and a three-game streak from Apr. 23-27 (2G-2A). Lafrenière has eight points (3G-5A) in his last 13 games.

–        Frank Vatrano scored his first goal as a Ranger, becoming the 23rd different goal scorer for New York this season. Vatrano has 11 goals this season and three in his last four games. Vatrano notched his 20th point of the season, his fourth-straight season reaching the mark.

–        Mika Zibanejad notched an assist on the Vatrano empty-net goal, giving him points in four of his last five games (3G-2A) and eight of his last 11 games (5G-4A).

 

The Rangers will host the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night.