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.







New York Rangers rally behind substitute coaches in beating the Flyers 9-0

On an unusual night, the New York Rangers showed some unusual offensive prowess in beating the Philadelphia Flyers 9-0.

What made this game unusual was that head coach David Quinn and assistants Jacques Martin, David Oliver, and Greg Brown were not available for the game. They are were out due to the NHL COVID-19 protocol guidelines.

Kris Knoblauch, coach of Hartford of the American Hockey League, the Rangers’ affiliate, replaced Quinn as acting coach for the game. Hartford associate coach Gord Murphy and Rangers associate general manager Chris Drury were the assistants.

The Rangers responded in a big way with their 9 goal output. In his post-game Zoom interview, goalie Alexandar Georgiev said of the nine-goal effort: “I have no words, to be honest. It was surreal. I obviously tried to focus on my job but you could not ignore how unbelievable the guys were playing.” Georgiev stopped all 26 shots to earn the shutout victory. This was a big win for the young goaltender after being pulled in his last two games.

Mika Zibanejad tallied six points in the New York Ranger victory

Mika Zibanejad was nothing short of brilliant in tying an NHL record by scoring six points in the second period of the New York Rangers’ win. Zibanejad scored a natural hat trick and had three assists to join former New York Islanders center Bryan Trottier as the only players to score six points in a period of an NHL game.

Pavel Buchnevich scored four points (two goals, two assists) after missing the game Monday, a 5-4 overtime loss against the Flyers because he was on the NHL COVID-19 protocol list. Buchnevich was only told of him being eligible to play this morning. After the game, he told the media that “I don’t know what was going on there, I have the antibodies.”

Artemi Panarin, Brendan Lemieux, and Filip Chytil also scored goals for the Rangers.

In his post-game Zoom conference, Zibanejad talked about how the team came together after hearing about the coaches who were placed on the list. “You get a little shock when you hear that, you just have to be able to adapt. We came together as a group and played for each other.”

They will need to come together regardless of who is on the bench as the Rangers travel to Washington on Friday and Saturday to take on the division-leading Capitals.





New York Rangers doomed by poor stretch of 61 seconds in loss to Penguins

New York Rangers

The game started well for the New York Rangers. After scoring an early first-period goal, the Pittsburgh Penguins scored three times in a matter of 61 seconds late in the first en route to a 5-1 victory.

Mika Zibanejad opened the scoring for the Rangers with a goal at the 1:18 mark of the first period. Pavel Buchnevich had the primary assist, which was his 100th career NHL assist. After a slow start to the season, Zibanejad has tallied a point in three of the last four games (one goal, two assists). He has now registered six points (two goals, four assists) in the last eight games.

Zibanejad was not really in a celebrating mood after the game saying in his Zoom conference: “It didn’t really matter this game, so we’ll just move on.”

Penguins quick three goals doom the New York Rangers

That was because the Penguins scored those three goals at the end of the first period. John Marino tied it 1-1 at 16:13, two seconds after a Penguins power play expired. Kaspari Kapanen then scored on a breakaway to give the Penguins a 2-1 lead at 16:52. Sidney Crosby made it 3-1 at 17:14. After taking a pass from Brian Dumoulin, Crosby split the Rangers defense before scoring.

After the three-goal outburst, Alexandar Georgiev was pulled in favor of Keith Kinkaid, who had 16 saves in relief. He gave up two late third-period goals on odd-man rushes but was solid throughout his time in net.

Head coach David Quinn did not commit on which goaltender he would start on Tuesday night.

The Rangers played well in the second period and for most of the third period after the disastrous minute in the third period.

Jacob Trouba said after the game in his Zoom conference that the Rangers tried to regroup after the first period but added “Give the Penguins some credit too, they got the lead and they played a pretty tight game defensively.”

The Rangers and Penguins will tangle again on Tuesday night, part of NBCSN’s Hockey Happy Hour. The puck drop is scheduled for 6 p.m.


Chris Kreider’s hat trick leads New York Rangers to win over New Jersey

New York Rangers

You are not reading the game reports from Feb 24. Chris Kreider did get another hat trick on Thursday night to lead the New York Rangers to a 6-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils. Pavel Buchnevich, Brendan Smith, and Alexis Lafreniere scored the other goals.

The Rangers have tallied five goals in a road game at New Jersey (not including the 2014 Stadium Series, which was technically a Rangers road game at Yankee Stadium) for the first time since Dec.12, 2008.

Igor Shesterkin had 32 saves before leaving late in the third period due to an injury. Alexandar Georgiev came to relieve him and recorded three saves.

After the game head coach David Quinn said in his Zoom conference that Shesterkin has a lower-body injury and that the team will know more tomorrow morning.

If Shesterkin has to miss any time, Keith Kinkaid would likely be called up from the taxi squad.

Chris Kreider gets the second hat trick of the season for the New York Rangers.

With his second hat trick in his last five games, Kreider has recorded a goal/point in five of the last six games. Coming into the game, he was tied for eighth in the NHL in power-play goals and is tied for 13th in the NHL in goals this season, and will be moving up those ranks after tonight’s performance. In addition, Kreider is one of only two NHL players who have registered at least 10 goals and 40 hits this season. He is easily been the catalyst for the Blueshirts recently, has nine goals and two assists over the last 11 games.

There are other New York Rangers who extended streaks.

In addition to his own goal, Lafreniere earned an assist on the Buchnevich goal. He has tallied a point in five of the last six games. He also tallied his first multi-point game in the NHL. Speaking of Buchnevich, he has tallied eight points (four goals, four assists) in the last eight games. He leads the Rangers in points at 5-on-5 this season, and he has notched a point in eight of the team’s nine wins in 2020-21.

Mika Zibanejad spends a large period of time on the New York Rangers bench.

After having only just over three minutes of ice team in the first period, Mika Zibanejad spent the first part of the second period on the bench. He finished with just over 13 minutes of ice-time for the game but did get an assist on the Lafreniere goal.

When asked about Zibanejad’s playing time Quinn said: “I think he’s letting the stats and all the pressure slow him down a little bit. I think it’s getting to him. This is a guy that’s been a fearless and courageous player. He is just trying to find his game.” Quinn also added that he thought Zibnejad played better after the benching.

The two teams will play again on Saturday with a 1 p.m. puck drop.

New York Rangers quick start is enough to hold off the Buffalo Sabres

New York Rangers, Chris Kreider

The New York Rangers scored twice in the first two-and-half minutes of the first period and held off the Buffalo Sabres for a 3-2 victory. Pavel Buchnevich and Alexis Lafreniere recorded the first two goals, with Chris Kreider adding the game winner in the second period.

The Rangers continue their season-long trend of close games. Thirteen of the Rangers’ last 17 games, and 13 of the team’s 19 games this season, have been decided by two or fewer goals, and 10 of those contests have been decided by one goal.

Chris Kreider scores the game winning goal for the New York Rangers

Kreider‘s tenth goal of the season turned out to be the game winning goal for the Rangers, putting them up 3-1. The Sabres were able to close the gap with a Tobias Reider goal but could come no closer. Kreider has recorded a goal/point in four of the last five games. He is one of four NHL players who have registered at least nine goals and 40 hits this season.

Adam Fox had two assists in the game, including Kreider’s game winner. Fox also continues to be a bit of an ironman for the Blueshirts, especially since the absence of Jacob Trouba.  He has led the Rangers in ice time in each of the last 10 games, and he ranks 12th in the NHL in average ice time this season (24:53).

After the game, Fox talked about the solid defensive effort the Rangers had, especially in the third period. “They were in our zone but didn’t have too many grade A chances. And when they did, Shesty came up big.”

Igor Shesterkin made some critical saves for the New York Rangers

Shesterkin recorded 22 saves in the win with just five in the third period, However, many of his saves were on plays in which the Sabres had an excellent chance to slam the puck in the back of the net.

The Rangers defense and goaltending continue to do well in recent games. They have held their opponents to two goals or fewer in seven of the last 11 games (including two goals or fewer in regulation in eight games) and in eight of the last 13 games. The Blueshirts have allowed 2.68 goals against per game in 2020-21, which is the ninth-fewest in the NHL.

After the game in his Zoom Conference, Shesterkin said through his translator: “In the first period, it wasn’t a great thing when the first shot went in but the guys rallied and helped me out and we took care of business the rest of the game.”

The Rangers now embark on a six game road trip, starting Thursday with the New Jersey Devils.










Are expectations too high for this year’s New York Rangers?

New York Rangers

After making the play-in round of last year’s playoffs, winning the NHL draft lottery, and selecting Alexis Lafreniere, many thought that the New York Rangers should be making a run at the playoffs. After losing their last three games and seeing their season record fall to 4-6-3, many are thinking that the Rangers are underachieving through their first 13 games.

While the Rangers are not happy with their play, there are many factors in play as to why this year’s Blueshirts are just four points behind the Islanders for the last playoff spot.

That is really not that far away, even in a 56 game season.

The biggest thing to remember is that the average age of a player on the Rangers’ active roster this season is 25.6 years old, which is the youngest in the NHL. The Rangers have seven players 22 years old or younger on their active roster (Chytil, Fox, Howden, Kakko, Lafrenière, Lindgren, and Miller), and the Blueshirts have had more players who are 22 years old or younger play at least one game this season than any other NHL team.

Sure it is disappointing to see the overall number one draft pick have only one goal for one point on the season. Especially when one sees another rookie like Pius Suter of the Chicago Blackhawks not only get his first NHL goal recently but ended that game on January 23 against the Red Wings with a hat trick. Suter currently leads all rookies in scoring with 9 points.

Yes, it is frustrating to see that 40 other NHL rookies have more points than their overall number one pick.

But Lafreniere’s issues are just one of many other issues that the Rangers are having this year.

Outside of Artemi Panarin, many other Rangers are struggling. Mika Zibanejad has one goal in 13 games. Kaapo Kakko two in 12, Pavel Buchnevich one in his past 11. Players in the bottom six are also struggling such as Phil Di Giuseppe with no goals in 12, Brett Howden none in 13, Brendan Lemieux one in 12. Chris Kreider’s has four goals, but no assists.

After Friday night’s loss, head coach David Quinn summed his team’s frustrations in his post-game Zoom conference when he said “We pass when we should shoot and we shoot when we should pass.”

However, with all of the issues that the Rangers have had, there is still a silver lining that Quinn also mentioned in his post-game Zoom conference. “These games are going to be so valuable for our young players moving forward,” Quinn said. “Like I said, you can learn an awful lot from a team (Boston) like that. You’ve got to pay attention to teams that have sustained success for as long as they have. We’re trying to get to the level of the Bergerons and the Marchands and the Pastrnaks, the Krejcis.… These guys have been competing for Stanley Cup championships for a long time, close to a decade.

“It’s a great experience for our players. But at the end of the day, we’re not here for great experiences. We’re here to win hockey games and these are two hockey games we feel like we could have won.”

It is not like the Rangers have been blown out in the games they lost. Eleven of the Rangers’ 13 games have been decided by two goals or fewer, eight of those by one goal.

At some point, a young and talented team should be able to turn this around and start winning these one-goal games.

The Rangers and their fans hope this happens sooner rather than later. But make no mistake about it, this will happen at some point in the future.





New York Rangers pick up an important win against the Washington Capitals

After a slow start to the season, the New York Rangers had one of the better games of the season in defeating not only one of the better teams in the East Division but one of the better teams in the NHL. In defeating the Washington Capitals 4-2 on Thursday night, the Blueshirts have won two games in a row and are 3-0-1 in their last four games.

Ryan Strome had two goals and Artemi Panarin had three assists in the victory.

With the two goals, Strome tied a single-game career-high with two goals and has posted a two-goal game for the 10th time in his NHL career. He now has 99 goals in his NHL career, and he has tallied 98 points with the Rangers. Strome extended his point streak to four games (two goals, two assists), and he has also tallied a point in five of the last six games (three goals, two assists), per @NYRStatsandInfo

Despite the strong performance from Strome and Panarin, the goal of the night goes to Anthony Bitetto when in the second period, he carried the puck behind the net, regathered it in the corner after getting checked by Carl Hagelin, and then went up the left-wing boards. He then avoided a hit from Nick Dowd before cutting into the middle, avoided a stick check from John Carlson, and beat Capitals goalie Vitek Vanecek with a backhand.

Pavel Buchnevich scored into an empty net with 27 seconds left accounted for the Ranger’s final goal.

Igor Shesterkin made 31 saves for his third straight win.

In the loss, Capitals’ superstar Alex Ovechkin scored his 709th goal to move into seventh place in NHL history. Ovechkin is eight goals away from Phil Esposito, who is sixth in league history with 717 goals.

“I like a lot about our game right from the get-go,” a pleased head coach David Quinn said after the game in his Zoom conference. “We were all dialed in, we were mentally and physically ready to go. Our penalty kill stood tall again and Shesty had a good and I thought a bunch of people stepped up tonight.”

Quinn also addressed the fact that these two points are very important for a team that needs to do some catching up in this abbreviated 56 game schedule. “I don’t care where we are playing, on the moon or here, we need points,” Quinn said. “It is a little bit different with no crowds as playing at home is a little bit different as is playing on the road but we have to continue to be dialed in. We are starting to get a little Mojo and feeling good about ourselves. When you get seven out of your eight points you start to feel good about yourself.”

The Rangers were slated to play Saturday afternoon at New Jersey, but it was postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak for the Devils. The Rangers will have the weekend off before returning to action Monday night at home against the Islanders.





Early New York Rangers MVP: Pavel Buchnevich

Even though he was kept off the scoresheet on Monday night, the New York Ranger‘s Pavel Buchnevich has been the solid consistent force for a team that has been solidly inconsistent through nine games this season.

Head coach David Quinn is well aware of this and has trusted Buchnevich as the young Russian led all Rangers forwards in ice-time in Monday night’s 3-1 victory with a 21:41 TOI.

Buchnevich trails only Artemi Panarin for points scored for the Blueshirts, but his unselfish and energetic play has made him one of the more, if not the most valuable player for the team through nine games.

This was the kind of play that the Ranger’s brass was hoping for from the 25-year-old. At the beginning of training camp, Quinn talked about the impact that Buchnevich might have and tabbed him as one of the players who might have a breakout season.

“The guy that’s kind of jumping out to all of us is Buchnevich,” coach David Quinn said. “Obviously, he had a real good second half last year. This is the best camp he’s had since I’ve been here. I loved the way he played in the scrimmage Thursday night, I just love the way things are going for him. He and I have had long conversations about what his abilities are and we certainly know what he’s capable of doing. I’m excited for the fact that it looks like he’s got a chance to maximize his potential for a full season as opposed to just half.”

He jumped out of the gate during the Ranger’s first win of the season. It was Buchnevich who scored the Rangers’ first goal of the season at 2:12 of the first period, giving them a 1-0 lead over the Islanders with a far side wrist shot from the left circle off a pass from Mika Zibanejad. This goal seemed to settle the Rangers down a little bit and they played much better than they did when they were shutout in the season opener by the  Islanders.

Buchnevich scored again at 5:57 of the second period, giving the Rangers a 3-0 lead with another far side wrist shot from the left circle, a game the Rangers would eventually win 5-0.

Ever since then, Buchnevich’s play has provided the team the stable play while some of the other players have struggled out the gate, and while others have been lost due to injury.

Quinn has recently reward Buchnevich by bumping him up on the top power-play unit.

It is that model of consistency that coaches love and look for, especially when the team has not played well. Whoever ends up on a line with Buchnevich, those two players seem to play much better because of Buchnevich.

Buchnevich has been among the only Rangers who have come to play every game this season. He has been consistent and impressive, playing with an energy that rubs off on others around him.

The Rangers will need that to continue if they have any hopes of rebounding from their slow start and making a run at the playoffs.





The New York Rangers waste a solid effort by third line in shootout loss

While usually, the first and second lines lead the New York Rangers, tonight was a different story. The third line of Philipp Di Giuseppe, Filip Chytil, and Kappo Kakko provided the spark for the Blueshirts. However, the effort was somewhat wasted when the Rangers fell to the Penguins 4-3 in a shootout.

Di Giuseppe was a menace on the ice tonight, registering 8 hits along with two assists in allowing the Ranger’s third line to make an impact in this contest.

Chytil scored 2:41 into the second period when two Pittsburgh defensemen ran into each other. Adam Fox gave the Rangers the lead when he blasted a shot from the point into the net at 5:18 the second. Kakko needed just 24 seconds to extend the advantage to two goals when a rebound off a shot by Di Giuseppe landed right on Kakko’s stick.

The positive part of earning one point from the shootout loss is that the Rangers’ three goals in Friday’s game have been scored by players who are 22 years old or younger.

Igor Shesterkin started in net and allowed 3 goals on 29 shots. One of the goals was not Shesterkin’s fault as Ryan Lindgren accidentally put the puck in his own net trying to shuffle the puck pack to Shesterkin.

Artemi Panarin did pick up an assist on the Fox goal, recorded his 100th career point as a Blueshirt in his 73rd game with the team. This makes Panarin the faster player to get to 100 points in Rangers history, surpassing the record set by Mark Messier.

K’Andre Miller did notch his first career NHL assist/point with an assist on Kakko’s goal.

Meanwhile, first overall pick Alexis Lafreniere remains pointless in the season and did not perform well playing on the first line, as he didn’t record a shot on goal and was a -2 on the night. He appeared to pass up good shots in order to set up his linemates and was slow to get off his shots on a couple of occasions. Lafreniere also did not get a shift during the 3-on-3 overtime session.

While not explicitly addressed, it is apparent that the lack of a full training camp and exhibition games has affected the young forward’s acclimation to the speed and strength needed to play NHL hockey. Something that the Rangers and their fans hope happened quickly.

The Rangers and Penguins will meet again on Sunday night.





Can the New York Rangers take advantage of a depleted Penguins defense?

When the New York Rangers face the Pittsburgh Penguins Friday night, the one thing that they know is that they will have to deal with Penguin superstars Sydney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Crosby, in typical Crosby fashion, swept in a rebound 1:11 into overtime Tuesday for his third point to help the Penguins overcome a pair of two-goal deficits to defeat the Washington Capitals 5-4.

However, Pittsburgh played the third period of that game with only four defensemen. Marcus Pettersson left late in the second after taking a blindside hit from Washington’s T.J. Oshie at center ice. Juuso Riikola‘s injury status was uncertain as he did not return to the bench for the third period. The Penguins already had Mike Matheson (undisclosed) and Zach Trotman (right knee) on injured reserve. This could force Pittsburgh to dig deep into their roster for replacements. The three leading candidates to step in are Cody Ceci, Pierre-Olivier Joseph, and Kevin Czuczman.

Chad Ruhwedel did not participate in practice Thursday after becoming a first-time father, which means that potential line pairings will have to wait until game time.

This also comes on the heels of an expected line change based on the lines assembled for Friday’s practice, as Alexis Lafreniere skated on the first line with Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad. After practice, head coach David Quinn told the media that he moved Pavel Buchnevich to the second line in hopes that he could provide some help for Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome.

Zibanejad seemed to feel that Lafreniere is ready for the first line, telling’s Vince Mercogliano that “Lafreniere is very mature for his age, and the speed he plays at and the way he sees the ice. He’s a real pro, so I’m just excited to get to play with him.”

The Penguins also had some help on the offensive side join their team on Tuesday in 24-year-old Kasperi Kapanen. The young forward, son of former NHL star Sami Kapanen, was delayed in joining his team after difficulties in securing a work visa. When the visa was finally processed, Kapanen was allowed to enter the country on Jan. 9, but he had to undergo a seven-day quarantine as per the NHL’s rules regarding the coronavirus pandemic.

The Rangers and the Penguins will see a lot of each other, as they play each other in four of the next six games in this modified 56 game schedule.