The New York Rangers blank Boston in Artemi Panarin’s return

New York Rangers, Artemi Panarin

The New York Rangers finally got the total 60 minutes of complete play that head coach David Quinn wanted. The Rangers scored in each of the three periods in defeating the Bruins 4-0. The game also saw the return of Artemi Panarin, who had missed the past nine games for personal reasons.

The Rangers got goals from K’Andre Miller, Chris Kreider, Pavel Buchnevich, and Ryan Strome. Mika Zibanejad had two assists. Panarin got an assist on Strome’s goal, but it was obvious that his presence gave the Rangers a huge emotional boost after losing three straight games.

Kreider continues to be one of the main contributors to the Blueshirts. Per NYR Stats&Info, Kreider’s nine goals since Feb. 24 are the most in the NHL over the span. His 13 points over the span are the third-most in the NHL.

Keith Kinkaid made 18 saves for the shutout victory. He earned his first win since Oct. 31, 2019, and his first shutout since Nov. 15, 2018. Kinkaid was bolstered by a solid defense, led by Adam Fox and Miller. With over 23 minutes of ice time, Miller has logged 20 or more minutes of ice time in more games than any other NHL rookie thus far in the season.

While the veterans stepped up for the Rangers, so did many of their younger players. Over the last 10 games, at least one Ranger who is 23 years old or younger has tallied a point on 23 of the team’s 29 goals. In addition, at least one Ranger who is 23 years old or younger has tallied a point on nine of the team’s last 10 goals.

The New York Rangers got a huge boost from the return of Panarin

“It was definitely a huge boost getting him (Panarin) back,” Zibanejad said in his post-game interview. “Not only just for the game but for having him around all the guys again. I thought the whole team really came together today. A real team win, as we played really solid over the 60 minutes and I think he had something to do with that.”

Head coach David Quinn echoed those sentiments in his post-game Zoom conference. “Having back meant so many things. Not just on the ice but mentally.” Quinn said. Our guys certainly hold him in high esteem. He is a well-liked teammate. Our guys were dying for him to come back for a lot of reasons. We put him back in our lineup and all of a sudden we got a little more swagger. Having him in our lineup certainly gave us a jolt.”

Strome talked about the importance of this win during his post-game interview. “I thought we all came to play today,” Strome said. “Up and down the lineup, everyone contributed whether it was on the score sheet or not. Everyone was a part of the game and everyone was part of the win. We need to string them together and we need to be a little more consistent.”

The Rangers return home from this six-game road trip on Monday against the Philadelphia Flyers.








Takeaways From the New York Rangers Playoff Loss to Carolina

New York Rangers, Artemi Panarin

Nobody really likes the phrase “a good loss” or something related to that and most in the New York Ranger organization probably subscribes to that. But there are lessons to be learned that can be used moving forward, for a team that is very young and talented.

Another thing that the Blueshirts and their fans will also realize is that despite beating the Hurricanes all four times in the regular season, Carolina is a really good hockey team. The team that made the conference finals last season is mostly intact. The Canes did a great job of being good with the lead, and who made it really difficult for the Blueshirts to get any kind of offense going.

Head coach David Quinn even said “The better team won the series. Let’s call a spade a spade. You played three games and the best team won.”

The top players on the New York Rangers needed to play better

The Rangers only scored four goals in three playoff games. One each by Artemi Panarin, Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad, and Marc Staal. Team leaders need to step in the playoffs, especially with a roster that has so much youth and inexperience on it.

Kreider knows this and at least stepped up and admitted as much. In his post-game comments, he said: “We thought the playoffs were a blood sport and we were out there running around looking to hit instead of playing the puck possession style that we play. A big part of that is on me obviously. We needed to snap out of that sooner. We needed to acknowledge that. I should have done whatever I could to get us on the right track there.”

Even as tough as the Hurricanes played, the Rangers only scored one goal on the power-play, and that was on a two man-down situation for Carolina. They were completely shut out on the 5-on-4 power plays, not to mention being completely smothered in 5-on-5 situations.

This lack of production from top players led a Rangers team that did not play smart or efficiently, and did not play the way they played before the season was paused.

The New York Rangers should be happy with the improved play of Kaapo Kakko

The 19-year-old made a nice impression as soon as he stepped on the ice when summer camp began.

“I feel like he feels much more comfortable coming back,’’ said teammate Jesper Fast. “You see he’s smiling, he’s happy — I mean, like it’s a new energy for him. The way he’s been looking so far this camp . . . he’s looking real sharp. He looks strong on the puck, and [he] had a good scrimmage, so after that giving him more confidence going forward.’’

That confidence carried forward into the three playoff games. Kakko played the most five-on-five minutes of any Rangers forward in Saturday’s 3-2, Game 1 defeat to the Hurricanes, his 12:51 clocking in at 65 seconds more than  Panarin. He appeared to have more “hop in his step” then he had during the regular season.

The expectations were high for Kakko, and somewhat unrealistic, after he was chosen second overall in the NHL Draft last summer. The 6-3, 199-pounder led Finland to the gold medal in the World Junior Championships in 2019, scored 22 goals in 45 games as a 17-year-old in Finland’s professional league, and helped Finland win the World Championship tournament.

The pause seemed to refresh Kakko, who just turned 19 in February. While much of the world was on lockdown in April and May, he was able to work out and skate back home in Finland. The benefits have been obvious and hopefully continues into next season.

But for now, the Rangers will step back and evaluate their team in preparation for next season, whenever that takes place.