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 pick up an Important Victory over the Islanders

After a difficult loss on Thursday night, the New York Rangers rebounded to defeat the New York Islanders by a score of 4-1. Alexandar Georgiev was outstanding in goal after not seeing action for the last 11 games.

The Rangers are the second NHL team that has earned a regulation win at Nassau Coliseum this season. The Islanders came into the game with a 17-1-2 home record on the season. They have won each of their last five games at Nassau Coliseum, dating back to Feb. 16, 2015.

Alexis Lafreniere opened the scoring for the Rangers by scoring at 6:05 of the first period.

Colin Blackwell scored the second goal for the Rangers, extending his goal streak to three games, which is a new career-high. He ranks third on the Rangers in even-strength goals this season with nine.

K’Andre Miller scored the third goal for the Rangers as Mika Zibanejad added an empty-net goal to finish up the Blueshirts scoring. Miller now leads all rookie defenders in scoring.

Artemi Panarin had two assists on the night. He has 93 career assists, passing Mark Messier for the most assists by a player within his first 100 games with the franchise.

Georgiev was a big factor in the New York Rangers win.

The young Russian made 31 saves on the game, only giving up an Andy Greene goal in the second period. Georgiev hadn’t started a game since March 19.

“I haven’t played for a while,” Georgiev said in his post-game Zoom conference. “But I felt comfortable coming into it. I just did my job, the same as I usually do. It felt like kind of like a playoff game and it was really fun to take part in it.”

Georgiev gave credit to Ranger’s goaltending coach Benoit Allaire for keeping him ready while he waited to get his turn in goal. “Every practice I would come out early and spend with Benny,” Georgiev said. “A lot was more mental, trying to be better every day. Tried to take it one day at a time to make my game better.”

Head coach David Quinn was very pleased with his goaltender’s performance. “I liked a lot about his game tonight. I thought Georgie was sharp, as he usually is against the Islanders. It is not easy to sit as long as he has and come out and play the way that he did.”

The New York Rangers will face their cross-town rival again on Sunday afternoon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The New York Rangers use big First Period in Victory over Pittsburgh

The New York Rangers jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the first period and cruised to an 8-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Eight different Rangers scored goals, which happened for the first time since Jan. 19, 2010, vs. Tampa Bay.

Artemi Panarin had three assists and a goal to lead the Blueshirts in their scoring outburst. Panarin has certainly enjoyed the Broadway spotlight as he has recorded a three-point game in six different games this season. All of these have been at MSG Arena.

Pittsburgh goaltender Tristan Jarry allowed four goals in the first period before being replaced by Casey DeSmith to start the second period. The Rangers also scored four times off of DeSmith.

Colin Blackwell celebrated his promotion to the second line by scoring the first Rangers goal and providing one of the assists on Kappo Kakko’s goal.

Adam Fox continues his red-hot play as he added a goal and two assists on the night. Per NYR Stats&Info, Fox has registered 30 or more assists in each of his first two NHL seasons. He is the first Rangers defenseman who has tallied at least 30 assists in each of his first two NHL seasons since Reijo Ruotsalainen in 1981-82 and 1982-83. He also has an 11-game point streak, the longest by a Rangers defenseman since Brian Leetch had a 14-game streak in the 1996-97 season.

Ryan Strome, Alexis Lafreniere, Pavel Buchnevich and Mika Zibanejad also scored goals for the Rangers. Igor Shesterkin had 41 saves on the night.

The New York Rangers discuss their offensive outburst.

In his post-game Zoom conference, Fox talked about the Ranger’s fast start. “I think when the power-play scores goals, it helps,” Fox said. “I think we just capitalized on our chances and got some goals around the crease.”

“I thought we were very opportunistic, our power-play was very good,” said head coach David Quinn in his post-game Zoom conference. “It was a funny game. We found a way to win tonight but we are going to have to play better than that if we want to win consistently.”

The Rangers went three for three on their power-play, which tied their single-game season-high.

The two teams square off again on Thursday night at MSG.

 

Mika Zibanejad Helps the New York Rangers from Looking Foolish in Buffalo

Mika Zibanejad saved the New York Rangers from a really bad April Fools prank. Zibanejad scored off an Artemi Panarin pass to lead the Blueshirts to a 3-2 overtime win over the Buffalo Sabres. The Rangers appeared to be destined for a regulation win until Buffalo scored late in the third period to send the game to overtime.

The goal and the win spared the Rangers from a loss against the team with the worst record in the NHL. On Wednesday, the Sabres ended a shootout-era record of 18 games without a win by beating the Flyers 6-1.

In his post-game interview, Zibanejad talked about his overtime goal. “It’s a little bit of different game 3 on 3. We got a 2-on-1 and we took advantage of it. We took the two points and we move on.”

Zibanejad tallied his sixth overtime goal with the Rangers, which is the fourth-most in franchise history.

After giving up a first-period goal to Sabres Rasmus Asplund, Colin Blackwell tied the game with a goal in the second period. Blackwell has registered three goals/points in the last three games, according to NYR Stats&Info. He currently ranks fourth on the Rangers in even-strength goals and is tied for fifth on the team in goals his season with nine.

Ryan Strome assisted on Blackwell’s goal. Strome now has an 11-game point streak, which is the longest active point streak in the NHL. It is also tied for the third-longest point streak in the league this season.

The New York Rangers controlled the action in the last two periods

Filip Chytil scored at the 6:14 mark of the third period. His goal gave the Rangers the lead which held up until Buffalo’s Tage Thompson scored with 3.6 seconds left to send the game to overtime.

The Rangers controlled most of the action in the last two periods. The Blueshirts outshot the Sabres by a margin of 47-23, including a 37-11 margin in the final two periods and overtime.

Even though the Rangers had 47 shots on goal, head coach David Quinn still feels that the Rangers still need to shoot more often. After describing how the Sabres overtime goal gave them a kick in the butt, Quinn said in his post-game Zoom conference that “we still have to have more of a shooting mentality.”

Igor Shesterkin stopped 21 of the 23 Sabres shots on goal. He appeared to have been hurt when form Ranger Steven Fogarty was called for interference after sliding into Shesterkin. Shesterkin told the media after the game that he feels fine.

The two teams meet again in Buffalo on Saturday night with a 7 p.m. puck drop.

 

 

 

 

 

Late Third Period Goal Dooms the New York Rangers

New York Rangers, Mika Zibanejad

After two straight blowouts, the New York Rangers were finally held in check by the Philadelphia Flyers. The Blueshirts were defeated by the Flyers when Samuel Morin put the Flyers ahead 2-1 for good with 4:27 remaining in the game.

After scoring 17 goals in the last two games against the Flyers, the Rangers were held to one goal in Saturday’s contest. Mika Zibanedjad scored the goal and was assisted by Ryan Strome and Adam Fox. Strome extended his point streak to eight games (two goals, 11 assists) and his assist streak to seven games.

Zibanejad registered his 50th career power-play goal with the Rangers, and he has tallied four power-play goals in the last two games. He is tied for fifth in the NHL in power-play goals since the start of the 2018-19 season according to NYRStats&Info.

Coming into the game, Fox had led the Rangers with 23 total assists and has 26 points. According to the NHL Public relations, That was his 15th assist in the month of March. His 15 helpers lead all players in the NHL over that span.

Shesterkin is playing well in his return for the New York Rangers

Igor Shesterkin stopped 35 shots on Saturday afternoon after stopping 41 in Thursday night’s win.

Jacob Trouba had a few very positive things to say about the play of Shesterkin in his post-game Zoom conference. “He’s looked great, definitely made a lot of big saves and made the saves you need a goalie to make to win the game,” Trouba said.  “He did his job tonight.”

Acting head coach Kris Knoblauch could not confirm if Shesterkin will start in goal tomorrow at Washington. He also added that is not sure if he will be behind the bench in that game.

Head coach David Quinn is coming to the end of his NHL COVID protocol leave but will have to go through some testing and procedures before being allowed to return.

The New York Rangers will travel to play the Capitals on Sunday at noon that will be televised nationally, starting at noon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York Rangers Win Behind Mika Zibanejad’s Hat Trick

For the second game in a row against the Philadelphia Flyers, Mika Zibanejad scored a natural hat to lead the New York Rangers to an 8-3 victory. The Rangers had jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the second period before hanging on for the win. The Rangers have recorded eight goals in a road game for the first time since Mar. 18, 2014, at Ottawa.

The Flyers got a goal from Claude Giroux in the second period. This ended, to coin a basketball phrase, a 15-0 run of goals the Rangers had scored against Philadelphia in the last two games. Per the NHL Public Relations, the 15 consecutive Ranger goals against the Flyers were tied for the third-most against one opponent in franchise history. The top two were 17 consecutive against the New York Islanders in 1972-73 and the California Golden Seals in 1974-75.

Adam Fox had five points and five assists in the contest while Ryan Strome added four points with a goal and three assists. Pavel Buchnevich has two goals in the win. Two of the team’s younger players, Filip Chytil and K’Andre Miller also added goals.

Igor Shesterkin returned to action after missing the last 11 games due to a groin injury. He saves 41 shots in the game.

Carter Hart started in net for the Flyers. He was pulled after giving up five goals on the first 11 Rangers shots.

Recently, the New York Ranger’s offensive outburst has lead to many records and streaks.

Thanks to the fine people at the NHL Public Relations and NYR Stats&Info, the New York Rangers have had many accomplishments in recent games, including this one.

The list starts with Zibanejad. With his second consecutive six-point game, Zibanejad has become the first player in NHL history to record 6+ points in consecutive games played against one opponent within a regular season. Also, he is the second Ranger who has posted two different six-point games in franchise history (along with Anders Hedberg) and the first to do so in the same season.

A modest Zibanejad talked about his recent hot-streak in his post-game Zoom conference. “The puck seems to be going in right now. It’s nice to be able to contribute offensively for this team, especially since the first part of the season. Obviously, it is a great feeling when you win and you can contribute.”

For Fox, he tied single-game Rangers franchise records for defensemen with five assists and five points in tonight’s game. The other defenseman with five was Brian Leetch,  who did that on April 18, 1995, against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Between Zibanejad and Fox, the Rangers have had a forward and a defenseman each tally five points in the same game for the first time in franchise history. The last time the New York Rangers had two players record five or more points in the same game was when Mark Messier and Adam Graves did that in November of 1992 at Pittsburgh.

Finally, Zibanejad, Strome, and Fox have each recorded four or more points tonight. Prior to tonight’s game, the last time the Rangers had three players tally four or more points in the same game was Dec. 28, 2005, at the New York Islanders.

The teams will square off again Saturday afternoon. It will be interesting to see how the game starts as the Flyers were clearly frustrated by the second straight big loss to the Blueshirts. There were a handful of physical altercations within the last couple of minutes of the game.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The New York Rangers mid-season report card

With the New York Rangers playing just over half of their games for the 2020-21 season, it is time to assess how the Blueshirts have played to this point.

Going into Sunday night’s action, the Rangers are 13-13-4, sitting in sixth place in the East Division. They are six points behind the Boston Bruins for the fourth and final playoff spot.

Having one of the youngest teams in the league, inconsistency was to be expected, and it has happened.

New York Rangers forwards grade: C

Much of the forwards issues center around Mika Zibanejad. To be fair, his slow start could have been due to his bout with COVID-19 during training camp. Even though he will not say it, this appears to have been a huge factor in his slow start.

Nevertheless, the Ranger’s offense was not as it was last year, even though they have many of the same cast, along with the addition of the first overall pick.

In 2019-20, the Rangers averaged 3.33 goals per game to rank fifth in the NHL. This year, they are averaging 3.00 goals per game, good for just 15th place ranking in the league.

It has not helped that Artemi Panarin missed 11 games with an injury and a personal leave of absence. He was sorely missed during this time.

The Ranger’s power play has struggled, possibly missing Tony DeAngelo who did do a fine job of being the quarterback for that unit. Lost

Lost faceoffs have been an issue for the offense and the power play. too many times this season, the Ranger’s power play seems to be chasing the puck back in their own end, after losing a faceoff and having their opponents clear the puck.

New York Rangers defense-grade: B+

New assistant coach Jacques Martin has done an outstanding job of getting this unit ready for the season.

In addition to Adam Fox and Jacob Trouba, K’Andre Miller has been a pleasant surprise in his rookie season.

Last year under defensive coach Lindy Ruff, the Rangers ranked 23rd in goals against (3.14 per game) and 30th in shots allowed (34.0 per). This season, the Rangers rank 11th in goals against (2.68) and eighth in shots allowed (28.6). This is even with some inconsistent goaltending.

The penalty kill has been superb. A group that finished 23rd last season is ranked fourth this year. They are pressuring the puck more and force opposition power plays to move it quickly. The defense still needs to be a little tougher in front of the net (think Alex Ovechkin‘s two goals Friday night), but overall this unit has been very solid.

New York Rangers goaltending grade: C

The Rangers can thank Keith Kinkaid for receiving even this high of a mark.

Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev were supposed to be the one-two punch in the net for now and the future. Besides the Islander’s shutout, Georgiev has given up way too many soft goals. He is also getting himself out of position, leaving the net open for opponents. (Again, reflect back on Ovechkin’s first goal on Friday)

While Shesterkin still recovers from a “minor” groin strain, he has also been guilty of giving up too many soft goals.

Think about it, have the Rangers won a game this year when they were outplayed? No, because the goalies have been unable to steal even a single one in the first half of the season.

New York Rangers coaching grade: Incomplete

While basing head coach David Quinn has been fashionable, the reality of what is going on in the world has made it necessary to not evaluate a coaching staff until the entire season has been completed.

Plus, it would be a bit insensitive to grade a coaching staff who is sitting home due to the NHL COVID protocols. It is possible that one or even more of the coaches have contracted the virus.

While it is great to win games, one of the other tasks of a coach is to teach and develop players. One can argue that he has done that with some, and not so much with others.

Overall, Quinn and the Rangers are sitting exactly at the point in the standings that many pundits thought they would be at, and where they will be at the end of the season.

After the season is the best time, especially during a pandemic, to look at how the coaching staff has done their jobs.

 

 

 

 

New York Rangers: different night, different result

The New York Rangers “flipped the script” in defeating the Washington Capitals 3-1. Coming off last night’s disappointing loss, Mika Zibanejad broke a tie with 2:32 remaining in the third period to lead the Rangers to the victory.

Brett Howden scored into an empty net with 28 seconds left for the final Rangers goal.

Adam Fox continues his solid play for the Rangers. Fox made an excellent pass to Pavel Buchnevich on the Ranger’s first goal. Per NYR StatsandInfo, Fox recorded his 50th career assist and 60th career point in his 99th career NHL game. The only Ranger defensemen who recorded more assists and points than Fox has within their first 100 career NHL games are Brian Leetch, Sergei Zubov, and Reijo Ruotsalainen. Also, ten of Fox’s 16 assists this season have been primary assists, and he is tied for seventh among NHL defensemen in primary assists in 2020-21.

The New York Rangers will be without Quinn for a few more games, Johnson for the season.

Jack Johnson will miss the remainder of the campaign after undergoing core muscle repair surgery, the team announced Saturday.  Johnson had a limited role with the Rangers, averaging a career-low 16:58 per game while only finding his way into the lineup 13 times. He finishes the season with one goal and no assists.

Head Coach David Quinn will probably miss at least two more games, based on the NHL’s Positive Test Protocol as speculated by the NY Post’s Larry Brooks. The protocol states that “Upon the passage of 10 days since the first positive test, provided the individual has remained asymptomatic during the entire period of their self-isolation; and Satisfaction of the Additional Criteria in 4.3 [that mandates the team physician and infectious disease expert must conclude the individual, ‘no longer presents a risk of infection to others.’”

There is also the condition that pertains to persons with symptoms at the time of testing or thereafter states that quarantine may end, “If at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared and at least 24 hours since last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.

All of this points to a possible return next Friday or Saturday for Quinn.

Keith Kinkaid talked about how important this win was after last night’s loss. “It was basically the same script but I guess you would say that we flipped the script,” Kinkaid said in his post-game Zoom conference. Our attention to detail and our blocking shots at the end of the game were huge.”

Kinkaid stopped 28 of 29 shots faced, including 11 in the third period.

The Rangers will be back in action on Monday night when they host the struggling Buffalo Sabres.