The New York Rangers fall flat in loss to the New York Islanders

The New York Rangers found out the hard way that the Islanders are not the New Jersey Devils. Anthony Beauvillier had a goal and three assists for the Islanders in a 6-1 win against the Rangers.

The Rangers went most of the game without defenseman Jacob Trouba who left in the first period with an upper-body injury. Trouba got hit hard into the boards by Islanders forward Matt Martin and was visibly shaken up after the collision.

Martin, who ranks in the top 10 in the league in hits, wasn’t penalized on the play.

Trouba had registered 12 points in 37 games entering Tuesday. He ranked second among Rangers skaters in average time on ice, logging 21:59 per contest.

Head coach David Quinn talked about the Trouba injury after the game. “Obviously you saw the effect that it had, but I did not love what we were doing before that. Once Troubs went out our level of play dropped even more. Losing a guy like that hurts on and off the ice.”

Mika Zibanejad talked about the loss of Trouba in his post-game Zoom conference. “Obviously that shakes things up a little bit. But I think we should do a better job trying to work for him and work together in a situation like that.”

“We are all human, we all want to make sure he is ok,” Smith said after the game about the Trouba injury. “Emotionally you are always there for a brother like that. You can’t take away what he does for us on the ice, especially as a leader. You have got to respond and I don’t think we did a very good job of that.”

Kevin Rooney scored the only goal for the Rangers, off a deflected shot by Brendan Smith. Vitali Kravtsov got the other assist.

The New York Rangers return home on Thursday night to play back-to-back games against the Philadelphia Flyers.

 

 

 

Two New York Rangers Garner Weekly NHL Awards

Coming off a four-game sweep of the New Jersey Devils, two New York Rangers have been named as winners of weekly awards.

Igor Shesterkin was named on Monday as the NHLPA player of the week. The NHLPA stated that Shesterkin continues to be a cornerstone player for the New York Rangers as the rookie earned an NHL career milestone while posting back-to-back shutouts to lead the league with three wins.

Shesterkin went 3-0-0 for the week and posted a 0.99 goals-against average and a .962 save percentage. After returning from a groin injury on March 25, Shesterkin has been one of the top goalies in the league, posting a 7-2-2 record along with a 2.24 GAA and a .929 SV%. Over that span, he leads goalies with 326 saves and two shutouts while sitting tied for second in wins.

“Igor’s been great,” Mika Zibanejad said about his teammate. “He was unbelievable last year as well. We know what kind of goalie he is and I feel like he gives us a chance to win games every night. He comes up with saves at the right times and that’s huge for us.”

The NHL also announced that Artemi Panarin was the second star of the week. Panarin led the NHL with four goals and six assists for 10 points and a +8 rating in four games.  The league cited this for helping the Rangers sweep their four-game series against New Jersey.

Dustin Tokarski of the Buffalo Sabres was named the first star of the week. Tokarski led the League with 128 saves last week while also earning his first NHL win since Dec. 12, 2015.

Panarin has been one of the biggest factors in the Ranger’s success this season.  The Ranger’s record in 2020-21 when Panarin is in the lineup is 19-9-6. When he tallies a point it is 17-3-4 and when he scores a goal the Rangers record is 9-1-3.

 

 

 

 

New York Rangers continue to find ways to win during playoff push

The New York Rangers continue to win hockey games, looking for a playoff miracle, as the NHL season concludes on May 8.

The New York Rangers have been on the outside looking in for a playoff spot for most of this abbreviated NHL season.  A slow start by some of its stars, a nine-game absence due to an absurd accusation against Artemi Panarin, and plenty of inconsistency between veteran scoring and the development of the “kids” is why the team sits in fifth place, four points behind the Boston Bruins who have two games in hand.

Up And Down

The Blueshirts have been unable to put a winning streak together, instead of settling for a win-lose, win-lose format for much of the 2021 campaign.

The month of April began the same way with the Rangers splitting all three-game series against Buffalo, Pittsburgh, and the Islanders.

Then a crucial four-game set began against the struggling New Jersey Devils. The Rangers needed every one of the eight points available and surprisingly to some, the team completed the sweep on Sunday afternoon at the Rock.

The win didn’t come without some poor play with the club blowing big leads in each of the last two games. Yet at the end of the day, a win is a win as head coach David Quinn eluded to during Sunday’s post-game zoom conference call.

 

“When you come up with four wins I don’t care what it looks like, I don’t care how many leads you blew, I don’t care. It doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t if you find ways to win and that’s what we did.

Now, that being said, we certainly understand that if we’re going to have success, we’ve got to play better. And we know that that’s not lost on us. It’s not lost on the coaches, and I don’t think it’s lost on any of the players.”

Tough Road Ahead

Playing better needs to begin immediately with the schedule the team has standing in front of them.

The math may not seem to make sense, but the Rangers have a better chance of chasing down the second-place New York Islanders rather than the fourth-place Boston Bruins.

What the heck am I talking about?  Let’s break it down and maybe clarify some of the doubt people may have in this theory.

The Rangers and Islanders have played 45 games each.  The Rangers have 52 points with the Islanders being eight points better at 60. The two teams play each other three more times this season beginning with a game Tuesday night in Long Island.

As much as a long shot as it is, should the Rangers win those three contests, and get a little help (which has not happened all month) the Blueshirts could have a good shot to overtake the Islanders.

The Long Island rivals play three consecutive games against Washington following Tuesday’s nights game against the Blueshirts. Then a two-game set against the Rangers. Then they have two against Buffalo, two against New Jersey and their final game is at Boston on May 11.

The Bruins are harder to catch because of the number of games they have left In the season. Currently, they have two games in hand over the Rangers and also are on a four-game winning streak.

The Bruins have 13 games remaining, five of which are against the Buffalo Sabres. They also play the Pittsburgh Penguins, New Jersey Devils, and Rangers twice and completed their extended schedule with a game in Long Island and at home against the Caps on May 11.

They are scheduled to play two more games after the game against the Rangers on May 8.

Mathematically the Rangers can catch either teams, but this late in the season chasing down the Islanders may be the best way to get into the postseason.

Valuable Experience

Regardless of how things end up for the Rangers this year, the young kids are gaining so much experience from this simulated NHL playoff scenario.

Alexis Lafreniere, Filip Chytil, Kaapo Kakko, Vitali Kravtsov and Igor Shesterkin have all found the score sheet and continue to grow into hockey players that fear no situation or opponent.

For one of the rare times this season the veterans and the kids have been able to play their best hockey at the same time.

When this team plays on all cylinders, as five-man units on the ice, they can compete with any other team in the NHL. Their speed on the ice has caused plenty of chaos for opposing teams, just ask the Devils who had to deal with the Ranger Roadrunners four times in the past week.

Wherever the team ends up on thelast day of the season doesn’t really matter.  What should raise the teams and the fan base’s optimism is a renewed energy on the ice that will get better and better with every game.

This club is learning how to win hockey games instead of trying not to lose games.

Follow Frank on Twitter at @RangerProud

New York Rangers hold on to Sweep the New Jersey Devils

While the New York Yankees were getting swept in the Bronx by the Tampa Bay Rays, the New York Rangers kept their playoff hopes alive by sweeping the New Jersey Devils by a score of 5-3.

Sweeping a team in baseball is somewhat common, but not so much in the NHL. According to the NHL Public Relations, the Rangers are the first team in NHL history that has won four consecutive team games that were all against the same opponent in the regular season. The NHL does not usually give teams four straight games against the same opponent, but COVID-19 has required the league to make some scheduling adjustments for this season.

The Blueshirts did not make it easy, blowing another early three-goal lead before Mika Zibanejad slammed home a power-play goal with just three minutes left in the game. Ryan Strome was awarded an empty-net goal after a P.K. Subban hooking penalty on a breakaway to make the final tally for the Rangers.

Vitali Kravtsov scored his first NHL goal at 14:03 of the first period. Chris Kreider and Alexis Lafreniere scored the other goals for the Rangers. After a bit of a slow start, Lafreniere has started to find his groove. HIs seven even-strength goals are the fifth-most among NHL rookies while his 13 even strength points are the fourth-most among NHL rookies.

Alexandar Georgiev made 10 saves on 10 shots but was helped off the ice after making a save at 17:41 of the first period. Igor Shesterkin made two saves on two shots in 2:19 of relief. Georgiev returned in the second period and finished with 25 saves.

After the game, Georgiev stated that something felt out of place with his left knee.  He credited the Ranger’s training staff for taking care of it and getting him back into play.

The New York Rangers once again have to hold off a Devils rally in the third period

In his post-game interview, Zibanejad talked about how the Rangers regrouped after the Devils had rallied to tie the game. “You try to calm down on the bench a little bit and you try not to panic. There was a lot of hockey left and we had to go back and play hockey like we should. But give them (New Jersey) credit, they work real hard.”

Georgiev also talked about how the Rangers were able to “weather the storm” when the Devils tied the game. “After the second goal, they kind of got the momentum going. I think they really wanted to break the streak. It was a great job by us to weather the storm and for Mika to get the goal.”

“I thought we had a good 2nd period,” head coach David Quinn said in his post-game Zoom conference. “That second goal gave them momentum and then all of a sudden it is three-three. We found a way to get it done. Playing a team four times in a row, no matter what league you are in, you have to find ways to win.”

The Rangers are fifth in the eight-team East Division, four points behind the fourth-place Boston Bruins. Boston has two games in hand in fighting for the fourth and final playoff spot.

The Blueshirts will head travel to Nassau County to take on the Islanders on Tuesday night.

 

 

 

 

The New York Rangers use a Buchnevich Hat Trick to Defeat the Devils

After dominating the New Jersey Devils for almost two and a half games, the New York Rangers almost lost a four-goal lead on Saturday afternoon. Pavel Buchnevich had his first career hat trick and the Rangers held off a Devil’s rally to win by the score of 6-3.

Buchnevich is the first player in franchise history to score a hat trick on his birthday. He is the 14th
NHL player with a birthday hat trick and only Wayne Gretzky did it twice.

After scoring the first four goals of the game, the Devils rallied back with three goals to narrow the margin. The Rangers then added two empty-net goals to seal the victory.

Artemi Panarin added four points in the effort, scoring a goal with three assists while Mika Zibanejad and Ryan Strome also added three assists.

Igor Shesterkin finally gave up a goal to the Devils after going over 199 minutes of holding them scoreless.

Per the NHL Public Relations, Shesterkin has established a Ranger franchise record for the longest shutout streak against one opponent. He broke the record held by Dave Kerr, who went 198:07 against the Montreal Canadiens during the 1939-40 season.

The Rangers jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period as Buchnevich scored twice. Strome scored the other goal in the first period. Panarin scored in the second period while Buchnevich and Chris Kreider added the empty netters.

The New York Rangers were not pleased with their third-period effort

In his post-game Zoom conference, Mika Zibanejad addressed the issues that led to the Devils almost coming back from a four-goal deficit. “We stopped playing a little bit. We just made it way too easy for them. They were good enough to take advantage of their chances. That obviously was not good but I like how we stuck it out and got the win.”

“They were winning way too many one-on-one battles,” head coach David Quinn said in his post-game conference. It really was a reflection of where we were mentally. Once we got up 4-0 we disrespected the game and our opponent. I wasn’t surprised by the pushback we got from New Jersey. We got outplayed in the second half of that game and we have a very, very difficult game tomorrow.”

The two teams will for the final game of their four-game series on Sunday afternoon in New Jersey.

 

 

 

 

 

The New York Rangers roll for a Second Straight win over New Jersey

Artemi Panarin scored two goals and added an assist to lead the New York Rangers to a 4-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils. The Blueshirts started the game hot as they scored three of their goals in the first period.

Igor Shesterkin shut out the Devils for the second game in a row, stopping all 16 shots. This was the first time that a Ranger goaltender has shut out a team in two consecutive games since it was last done in 1955.

Ranger nation was a little worried when the team announced that Panarin missed the morning skate due to maintenance. However, head coach David Quinn confirmed that he would be playing on Thursday night.

Quinn seemed very prophetic about Panarin’s performance as he discussed his star player in his pre-game Zoom conference.  “Artemi is a special player. There are not a lot of players in this league that can do what he does.”

Panarin scored the third and fourth goals for the Rangers. Jacob Trouba started the scoring for the Rangers and Ryan Lindgren tallied his first goal of the season for the first two Ranger tallies. Panarin has posted seven different three-point games at MSG this season. He is the first Ranger to post at least seven three-point games at home in the same season since Jaromir Jagr in 2006-07.

Colin Blackwell continues to do well with his promotion to Panarin’s line, adding three assists for the Rangers. Blackwell has established single-game career-highs with three assists and three points. Blackwell and Panarin were on the ice for each of the Ranger’s four goals.

The New York Rangers defensive unit has been excellent in all aspects.

In addition to Shesterkin’s fine play, the Rangers defense played well in front of him. The Blueshirts only allowed the Devils three shots in the first period and four shots in the third. The  Rangers were also credited for blocking 20 shots in the game.

The unit has not only been solid in their defensive end, but they have also contributed on the offensive end as well. Five different defensemen have tallied a goal over the last four games (K’Andre Miller, Libor Hajek, Brendan Smith, Trouba, and Lindgren), and each of the six NYR defensemen (Adam Fox, Miller, Hajek, Smith, Trouba, and Lindgren) have recorded a goal over the last six games.

Leading this offensive output has been Fox, who recorded his 35th assist of the season, establishing a career-high. He is the first Ranger defenseman 23 years old or younger to tally at least 35 assists in a season since Sergei Zubov in 1993-94.

The two teams meet again in a Saturday afternoon matinee at MSG.

 

 

 

Shesterkin’s First Career Shutout leads the New York Rangers to Victory

Igor Shesterkin recorded his first career NHL shutout in leading the New York Rangers past the New Jersey Devils 3-0. Shesterkin stopped all 27 shots that he faced.

Shesterkin came out ready to play as he stopped Jesper Bratt with his right pad on a breakaway attempt 22 seconds into the first. He later denied Miles Wood with his blocker on a breakaway attempt at 4:16 of the second period.

Mika Zibanejad opened the scoring for the Rangers with a goal at 7:02 of the first period. He has registered 12 goals since Mar. 17, which is the most in the NHL over that span. He also has scored 12 goals in his last 15 games.

Artemi Panarin scored the second goal, playing in his 100th game as a New York Ranger. That goal gives him 138 total points, passing Mark Messier for the most points by a player in their first 100 career games with the Blueshirts.

Adam Fox had assists on both the Panarin and Zibanejad goals. Not counting what Victor Hedman did tonight, Fox leads NHL defensemen in assists (33) and points (38) this season.

Pavel Buchnevich added an empty-net goal to round out the Ranger scoring. Buchnevich’s score was the 20,000th goal in New York Rangers history. They join the Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Detroit Red Wings to reach the milestone.

Shesterkin was outstanding in goal for the New York Rangers

In his post-game interview, Jacob Trouba had nothing but praise for his goaltender. “He’s been good. Ever since he got here, he has been a top-of-the-line goalie. Every night he seems to make some saves that you don’t expect a goalie to make and usually that is the difference in a game.”

“Igor has been great,” Zibanejad added in his post-game Zoom conference. “It was unbelievable last year as well. I feel that he gives us a chance to win games every night. He comes up with big saves at the right time.”

Shesterkin was pleased and humbled by his first career shutout. “It obviously means a lot,” Shesterkin said in his Zoom conference.  “I want to thank all the players who played in front of me and blocked shots all game, especially at the end when it was so meaningful to me to get this win and the shutout. They did it for me and I’m thankful.”

The two teams will meet for the second game of their four-game series Thursday night at MSG.

 

 

 

 

The New York Rangers Rally but fall to the Islanders in Overtime

The New York Rangers did pick up one point in their playoff run after falling to the Islanders 3-2 in overtime. Ryan Pulock scored his first goal of the season at the 1:13 mark of the overtime period to give the Isles the extra point.

The Rangers came very close to winning the game at 17:19 of the third period when a Ryan Lindgren shot from the left circle hit Scott Mayfield‘s skate and went off the crossbar.

After giving up two goals to the Islanders in the first period, the Rangers rallied in the second to tie the game.

The Rangers have done very well in the second period this season. Per NYR Stats & Info, the Blueshirts have outscored opponents, 52-36 in the second period this season. The Rangers rank third in the NHL in goals and rank fourth in the NHL in goal differential (+16) in the second period in the 2020-21 season.

The Rangers got their first two goals from a couple of defensemen, courtesy of Libor Hajek and Brendan Smith. Vitali Kravtsov earned an assist on the Smith goal, which is his first career NHL point. Mika Zibanejad had the other assist.

Igor Shesterkin stopped 28 shots in regulation, while also facing his former Russian National goaltending teammate and KHL opponent.

Shesterkin and Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin played against each other in the NHL for the first time. Shesterkin and Sorokin faced each other 11 times in the regular season and playoffs in the KHL. They were also teammates on the “Athletes from Russia” Olympic team in 2018.

New York Rangers were pleased by their response after a poor first period

Smith discussed how well the New York Rangers responded after falling behind in the first period. “The Islanders came out hot and I don’t think we weathered the storm as well as we wanted to,” Smith said in his post-game Zoom conference. “But then we go back to our game. We talked about it in the dressing room and I like what our leadership core said there. Our young players bought in and we played good in the second and third.”

Head coach David Quinn echoed Smith’s feelings in his post-game conference. “I certainly like what we did in the second and third periods. I am disappointed that we did not get the two points but every point is life and death now but we have got to be better three-on-three, something that we will probably work on in the next practice. But I did like how we bounced back after a tough first period.”

The Rangers will now face the New Jersey Devils for four straight games, starting with a game on Tuesday night at the Prudential Center.

 

 

New York Rangers Struggle in loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins

What a difference a couple of days makes. Two days ago, the New York Rangers scored four goals in the first period and chased Pittsburgh goaltender Tristan Jarry. On Thursday, the Blueshirts could only muster two goals against Jarry in a 5-2 loss to the Penguins.

Colin Blackwell scored the first Ranger goal at 2:02 of the second period. His power-play goal has given him six points in the last six games.

After falling behind by the score of 4-1, Kevin Rooney scored at 13:48 of the third period to close the gap. Adam Fox had the only assist. With the assist, Fox extended his point streak to 12 games. Per the @PR_NHL, his streak is the sixth time that a Ranger defenseman has posted a 12-game point streak or longer in franchise history.

The Rangers had plenty of chances to score more than two goals. Both Mika Zibanejad and Filip Chytil missed open nets. Chris Kreider came up empty on a penalty shot.

Igor Shesterkin made 27 saves as the Rangers’ four-game point streak and Artemi Panarin‘s streak of four straight multi-point games ended.

After the game in his Zoom conference, Zibanejad talked about the difference from the game two nights ago. “I think they (Pittsburgh) were obviously better this game. They made it hard for us and we might have been a little too stubborn with the puck. I thought we were trying to force plays too much.”

“I thought we had a bunch of things lacking tonight'” head coach David Quinn said in his Zoom conference. “Certainly taking advantage of a bunch of opportunities we had tonight and certainly it wasn’t what it was two nights ago. There were other issues that we had that caused us to be in this position.”

The New York Rangers and their road to the playoffs gets a bit tougher as they head out to Long Island to take on the Islanders on Friday night. The Islanders are 17-1-2 on the season at home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colin Blackwell: Player on the Rise for the New York Rangers?

Nothing separates the New York Rangers fan base, as well as all of New York sports, like questioning the decisions Big Apple coaches make in their lineups. Today, the Rangers raised a few eyebrows when head coach David Quinn shuffled his lineups in practice, as posted by lohud.com’s Vince Mercogliano:

Of course one of the first things that everyone noticed was the “demotions” of Kappo Kakko to the third line and newcomer Vitali Kravtsov to the fourth line.

It was not like either player deserved to be demoted and Quinn explained after practice in his Zoom conference that neither player should look at the line shuffles in this manner. “We like Kakko, it is certainly nothing with the way he has played,” Quinn said. “I am anxious to see how they (Kakko, Alexis Lafreniere, and Filip Chytil) play together.”

As far as Kravtsov going to the fourth line, Quinn said “That doesn’t mean that Kravstov will be down there forever, or even during the whole game, you can move people around. Right now we feel that it is the best lineup we have at our disposal.”

The New York Rangers shift Blackwell to the second line.

The other move was to put Colin Blackwell to the second line with Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome. Blackwell also received some time with the second power-play unit during Tuesday’s practice.

As for Blackwell skating on the second line, Quinn said: “One of the things that we thought were getting Blackwell on that line with Strome and Bread, it gives that line a little bit of a different look. This is the best lineup we feel we have for tomorrow night.”

With the move up from the fourth line to the second, Blackwell will bring a little more of a defensive presence to that line. He has also been a little more opportunistic than some other players and is not afraid to shoot the puck, something that Quinn has stressed with the team in recent games.

Blackwell discussed his new role in his post-practice Zoom conference. “I was just kind of waiting for my chance,” Blackwell said. “I have done it in the American Hockey League on many different occasions. That chance doesn’t always come, and a lot of good players do get their chance but then they don’t necessarily make the most out of it.”

The Rangers signed Blackwell as a free agent on a two-year contract worth $725,000 annually.

Blackwell had one of his best games in the NHL on March 28, which also happened to be his birthday. On that night, he scored a career-high 2 goals against the Washington Capitals.

The Rangers will start Igor Shesterkin in goal as they begin a two-game set at MSG against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday.