New York Rangers Finish Season in Style with win over Boston

The New York Rangers could have just played out the season and left for vacation. Instead, the Blueshirts put in a strong effort in defeating the Boston Bruins 5-4 to wrap up their 2021 season.

Mika Zibanejad scored two of New York’s four third-period goals, and the Rangers ended their season by halting their five-game losing streak.

Keith Kinkaid made 28 saves before leaving with an injury midway into the third period. Igor Shesterkin finished up in goal with seven saves.

Alexis Lafreniere and Vitali Kravtsov also scored in a wild third when the Rangers overcame a 2-1 deficit. K’Andre Miller started the scoring with a goal in the first period. Pavel Buchnevich seemed a little snakebit with his puck shooting but did add three assists in the victory.

The victory will bolster the spirits of the New York Rangers

Heading into the offseason, the win against a playoff-bound Bruins team should help bolster the spirits of a young Rangers team.

That sentiment was echoed by Zibanejad in his post-game Zoom comments. “It means more than what you would think right now. Especially the way things have been going the whole season, especially the last 10 days or so, that’s been kind of crazy with the guys that are not here right now. The way we battled through it and get the win, that was good.”

In his post-game conference, head coach David Quinn noted that it was nice to give newly appointed general manager Chris Drury his first win. “I know all of us were very happy that we were able to get him that first one.”

After the firing of John Davidson and Jeff Gorton earlier in the week, it will be Quinn that decides which direction the franchise is heading, including on whether or not to retain Quinn as head coach.

Quinn also was pleased with the effort and the win stating that “it’s been difficult. It was great to finish the way we did.”

With the win, the Rangers will finish in fifth place in the NHL’s East division.

 

New York Rangers Cannot Solve the Shorthanded Washington Capitals

The New York Rangers could not take advantage of the Washington Capitals missing a handful of players, including one of the best in the NHL. The Capitals trailed by one late in the second period but rallied to defeat the Blueshirts 6-3.

With Boston winning earlier, the Rangers have been eliminated from the playoffs.

The Capitals were missing a few players, including Alex Ovechkin, who only skated one shift in the first period before leaving the ice. Washington later announced that he would not return due to a lower-body injury.

Evgeny Kuznetsov and Ilya Samsonov also missed Monday’s game for disciplinary reasons while T.J. Oshie was out for a personal family matter.

Mika Zibanejad scored twice for the Rangers while Kappo Kakko added their third goal. Artemi Panarin had assists on Zibanejad’s goals.

The New York Rangers have a scrum with the Capitals Tom Wilson

Things got interesting in the second period when Capitals forward Tom Wilson was handed three penalties in the second quarter. One of the penalties was a 10-minute penalty for misconduct, after roughing Artemi Panarin and going after Pavel Buchnevich in the crease after play had stopped. This included a few punches in the back of the head while Buchnevich was face down.

Panarin had a cut above the eye and appeared to have hit his head on the ice in the scuffle. He did not return at the start of the third period.

After the game, Zibanedjad had this to say about the Wilson incident: “You should have more respect for the game and the players. I honestly don’t know where to start. It’s just horrible, zero respect.”

Head coach David Quinn also shared his thoughts on the incident in his post-game Zoom conference. “There are lines that can’t be crossed in this game. It’s just zero respect for the game. You have one of the star players in this game who could have been seriously, seriously hurt. It’s totally unnecessary.”

The two teams will play again on Wednesday at MSG.

 

 

 

New York Rangers face the Washington Capitals as playoff elimination nears

The New York Rangers face the Washington Capitals Monday night mathematically still in the playoff hunt but realistically looking towards next season.

Rangers: 26-20-6 (58 pts)
Capitals: 32-14-5 (69 pts

With only four games reaming in the regular season, the New York Rangers welcome the Capitals to MSG Monday night. The Blueshirts will try to rebound following two horrific games against the Islanders where they were shut out in both contests.

The Numbers

The Rangers are 6-4 in their last ten games, 3-3 in their last six games, and currently have lost their last 2 consecutive games.

Power Play:

  • The Rangers were 0-for-2 (4:00) on May 1 at NY Islanders.
  • New York is tied for 13th in the NHL in power-play efficiency this season (21.1%).
  • The Rangers have recorded a power-play goal in three of the last five games (4-for-12; 33.3%).
  • The Blueshirts have tallied eight power-play goals in the last nine games (8-for-25; 32.0%) and 20 power-play goals in the last 22 games (20-for-62; 32.3%).
  • Since Mar. 22, the Rangers’ 32.3% power play efficiency is the second-best in the NHL.
  • New York ranks third in the NHL in power-play opportunities in 2020-21 (171).r

Penalty Kill:

  • The Rangers were 1-for-1 (2:00) on May 1 at NY Islanders.
  • The Blueshirts have not allowed a power-play goal in 30 of the last 45 games (111-for-130; 85.4%), including 24 of the last 38 games (89-for-107; 83.2%).
  • The Rangers have killed off 114 of their opponents’ 134 power-play opportunities over the last 46 games (85.1%) and have held their opponents to only 174 shots on goal during their opponents’ 134 power-play opportunities over the span.
  • New York ranks seventh in the NHL in penalty kill efficiency this season (83.1%).
  • The Rangers are tied for second in the NHL in shorthanded goals in 2020-21 (eight).
  • Since Jan. 30, the Rangers’ 85.4% penalty kill efficiency is tied for the second-best in the NHL.

Since Mar. 17, several Rangers are among the NHL’s leaders in various categories:

  • Mika Zibanejad’s 17 goals are tied for the most in the NHL and his 35 points are the second-most in the NHL.
  • Adam Fox’s 29 assists are the most in the NHL, his plus-18 rating is tied for the second-best in the NHL, and his 32 points are the fifth-most in the NHL.
  • Artemi Panarin’s 23 assists are the third-most in the NHL and his 34 points are tied for the third-most in the NHL.
  • Ryan Strome’s 22 assists are tied for the fourth-most in the NHL.

The Adam Fox Effect

Adam Fox tied for the NHL lead in assists in April after leading the NHL in assists in March. According to NHL Stats and Information, he was the first defenseman who either led the NHL or tied for the NHL lead in assists in two consecutive calendar months since Paul Coffey in February and March of 1984. Fox leads NHL defensemen in points (47) and assists (42), ranks third in takeaways (33) and is tied for 10th in plus/minus rating (plus-20) in 2020-21. He has recorded 47 points and a plus-20 rating in 51 games this season after recording 42 points and a plus-22 rating in 70 games last season; only one defenseman in NHL history has recorded 40 or more points and a plus-20 rating or better in each of his first two seasons (Bourque). Fox is averaging 0.82 assists per game this season, which would be the seventh-most by a Rangers defenseman in one season (min. two games played) in franchise history (Leetch – 1.00 in 1991-92; Zubov – 0.99 in 1993-94; Leetch – 0.90 in 1990-91; Leetch – 0.85 in 1995-96; Leetch – 0.83 in 1992-93; Park – 0.83 in 1972-73). According to NHL Stats and Information, only seven defensemen in NHL history have averaged at least 0.80 assists per game in a season while 23 years old or younger (min. 50 games played): Orr (3x), Coffey (3x), Leetch (2x), Zubov, Suter, Potvin, and Bourque. Fox won the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award this season.

UPCOMING MILESTONES

  • Pavel Buchnevich – 2 games away from 300 in his NHL career/with the Rangers.
  • Phillip Di Giuseppe – 2 games away from 200 in his NHL career.
  • Mika Zibanejad – 4 goals away from 200 in his NHL career.

The Rangers will conclude their home regular-season schedule on Wednesday night when they host the Washington Capitals.  The Blueshirts will then travel to the Boston Bruins for the last two games of the regular season with games on May 6 and May 8.

Stats provided by NYR PR.

Follow Frank on Twitter @RangerProud

New York Rangers Overcome Sluggish Start to Defeat the Sabres

Igor Shesterkin made 36 saves, and the New York Rangers keep pace in the East Division playoff race with a 3-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres.

In the playoff race, the Rangers are still four points behind the Bruins, who defeated the Penguins on Tuesday night. However, the Blueshirts are now just five points behind the New York Islanders, who fell to Washington. The Rangers and Islanders play in a home-and-home series on Thursday and Saturday.

Brendan Smith put the Rangers in front 1-0 at 2:22 of the second period. The Sabres tied the game on a Sam Reinhart goal.

Alexis Lafreniere broke a tie in the third period for the Rangers, who won their third straight to sweep the two-game series.

Mika Zibanejad extended the lead to 3-1 on a power play at 13:49 of the third period.

Ryan Strome picked up two assists in the game, which gave him his 300th career NHL point.

With Zibanejad’s goal, the Rangers are the only NHL team that has five players (Artemi Panarin, Adam Fox, Mika Zibanejad, Pavel Buchnevich and Ryan Strome) who have recorded at least 44 points in 2020-21.

Lafreniere nets game-winner to help keep the New York Rangers in the playoff race.

Lafreniere talked about his game-winning goal during his post-game interview. “It was a great forecheck by our line. Stromer made a nice pass and I just tried to shoot it as quick as I could and was lucky enough to go in. Great play by my linemates.”

Per the NHL Public Relations, Lafrenière is the fifth teenager who has recorded 10+ goals in a season in Ranger history.

“The fact that we won six games from the Devils and Sabres is no small feat”, head coach David Quinn said in his post-game Zoom conference. “It’s the National Hockey League and it is not easy to beat teams.”

On the Lafreniere goal, Quinn said, “It was important that he scored that goal because of the circumstances. He’s really played well lately. He’s played really well in the last month. People have made a big deal about his stats earlier in the season but he has had a really good rookie year.”

The Rangers have won nine of their last 11 home games and have also earned at least one point in 11 of its last 13 home games.

 

 

Zibanejad’s Hat Trick Propels the New York Rangers to Victory

The New York Rangers got another hat trick from Mika Zibanejad as the Blueshirts defeated the Buffalo Sabres 6-3. Kappo Kakko added two goals and Adam Fox contributed three assists to help keep the Ranger’s playoff hopes alive.

The Rangers are now only four points behind the Boston Bruins for the last spot in the playoffs. However, the Bruins have also played two fewer games.

Zibanejad is the only player so far in the NHL who has recorded three hat tricks this season. The Rangers are also the only team in the NHL who has recorded six hat tricks in a season. Chris Kreider and Pavel Buchnevich have added the other ones. He completed the hat trick at 2:05 of the second period, giving the Rangers a 4-1 lead with a shot through the legs of Buffalo goalie Dustin Tokarski.

Kakko scored his first goal with a one-timer from the right circle off a diagonal pass by Fox from the top of the left circle at 12:02 of the first period. His second tally came on a power-play goal to make it 5-2 at 7:06 of the third period. Zac Jones had an assist for his first NHL point.

Kevin Rooney added a shorthanded empty-net goal at 19:05 of the third period for the 6-3 final.

The New York Rangers have won six out of their last eight games

Zibanejad was more focused on what his team accomplished instead of what he did during his post-game interview. “I thought we did what we had to do today. They (Buffalo) made it hard on us.” He also credited his teammate’s passing for most of what he accomplished in the game.

Head coach David Quinn discussed the keys to his team’s success during his post-game Zoom conference. “We need to keep playing meaningful hockey until someone tells us that these games are no longer meaningful. But we need to learn how to manage a hockey game and understanding the score. We have guys that are offensively driven but we are better when we don’t have to force offense. When we find that balance, we are a dangerous team.”

The Rangers and the Sabers will square off again at MSG on Tuesday night with a 7 p.m. puck drop.

 

 

 

 

 

The New York Rangers are Finally Getting to see Lafreniere’s Potential

Ever since that New York Rangers ping-pong ball jumped up from the NHL’s lottery machine, people have been waiting for Alexis Lafreniere to show the hockey skills that an overall number one pick should show.

On Thursday night, head coach David Quinn shuffled his lines and put the overall number one pick on the top line with Mika Zibanejad and Pavel Buchnevich. On Friday, that move paid off big dividends as all three players on the line had two points in the 4-1 win over the Flyers. Lafreniere had a goal and an assist for his two points.

After Friday’s game, Quinn talked about the move and Lafreniere’s development. “One of the things I think has happened to him is he understands how to create offense at this level right now better than he did maybe a month ago,”

So what took so long?

The pandemic hindered the young New York Rangers’ development.

Lafreniere got off to a little bit of a slow start to the season, something that is not really anyone’s fault. The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic threw a huge monkey wrench into the plans, including the New York Rangers.

Before Lafreniere hit the ice for training camp in January, the last time he skated in a meaningful game was in March of 2020. Those games came in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Good hockey of course, but it is a league for players under 20 years old. It is not the NHL.

The Rangers could have decided to let Lafreniere play in the World Junior Championships in December. Much to the dismay of some Ranger fans and the entire country of Canada, the Rangers decided to have their top draft pick sit the tournament out. It was a move that looked a lot better after the Chicago Blackhawks lost one of their top young players in Kirby Dach before the tournament even started.

All of this meant that Lafreniere had to acclimate himself to the NHL with an abbreviated training camp that included no exhibition games.

Of course, it should have taken him a little longer to get up to speed.

Lafreniere’s progress will more than likely carry over to next season

Lafreniere talked about his progression and development in his post-game Zoom conference Friday night. “I’m making a lot more plays, I think, and I kind of found my game a little bit but still need to get better. That’s what I’ll try to do for the rest of the season.”

Part of the reason that very few think that he will continue to improve quite a bit is that Lafreniere has an excellent work ethic, something that his coach has definitely noticed. “I think his effort has been elevated to an NHL level'” Quinn said Friday night. “I think that’s the biggest thing players have to learn when they get to this level. There’s a whole new definition of hard work, and I think that’s something that he’s embraced and he realizes it, and it’s allowed him to have a lot more success here over the last few weeks.”

After that slow start, Lafreniere now has nine goals and seven assists on the season. As much as playing with Zibanejad and Buchnevich can help development, it will also mean that he should see more ice time. Before the promotion, Lafreniere was on the third line, a line that did not see as much recently as Quinn leaned on his first two lines in an attempt to keep the Rangers firmly in the playoff hunt.

But as the season winds down, the New York Rangers will look for ways to continue to develop Lafreniere and all of their young players so that they will all hit the 2021-22 season in full stride.

 

 

 

 

New York Rangers keep Their Feint Playoff Hopes Alive

The New York Rangers kept their slim playoff hopes alive with a 4-1 victory of the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday night. They moved back to six points behind the Boston Bruins, thanks to a Buffalo Sabres victory of the Bruins.

Alexandar Georgiev stopped 26 shots and improved to 8-5-2 on the season. He has allowed two goals or fewer in five of seven career appearances against the Flyers, including one goal or fewer in four of those games.

Chris Kreider opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 6:02 of the first period. It was his 11th power-play goal of the season, tying him for the most in the NHL.

Artemi Panarin had an assist on the Kreider goal, giving him his 100th career assist as a New York Ranger.

For Thursday night’s game, head coach David Quinn did some changing of the Blueshirts lines. One of the changes was to move Alexis Lafreniere up to the first line with Mika Zibanejad and Pavel Buchnevich. That line was very effective as each player on that line contributed two points in the victory.

Buchnevich put the Rangers ahead 2-1 at 7:56 with his 20th, assisted by Lafreniere and Zibanejad. Lafreniere made it 3-1 at 9:24 of the third for his ninth of the season. Buchnevich and Zibanejad assisted. Zibanejad has seven goals and 10 assists this season against the Flyers, including two six-point games.

Filip Chytil completed the scoring with his eighth at 13:40, with assists to Kaapo Kakko and Panarin.

The New York Rangers rebound after a tough loss Thursday night.

“I’m just trying to learn every day at practice,” Lafreniere said in his post-game Zoom conference. “It’s fun to play with Mika and Buch and I just gotta learn from them and get better every day.”

“I thought we were a little more opportunistic,” Quinn said after the game. “I don’t think there was a big dip in our game, but the 5-on-3 kill was huge. That third goal really put us in a different mindset.”

The game was part of the “Garden of Dreams” night at MSG, a fundraising effort for that foundation. The Garden of Dreams Foundation is committed to helping children who are facing challenges such as homelessness, extreme poverty, illness, and foster care, and since it began in 2006.

The Rangers will play the Buffalo Sabres twice at MSG, on Sunday and Tuesday night.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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.