Rangers Week in Review: The Good, The Bad, and The Sadby Liz Pendergraft March 7, 2021 1 comment
It was good news, bad news, and sad news this past week for the New York Rangers.
The good news started with Filip Chytil being back in the lineup after missing 14 games due to a hand injury. Also, Kaapo Kakko has been taken off the COVID-19 list for the second time this season and made his return in the Saturday matinee game against the New Jersey Devils. Jacob Trouba might also be close to being in the lineup again after participating in the Rangers’ morning skate ahead of their Thursday night game against New Jersey.
The sad news came in the form of hearing that Mark Pavelich, former Ranger player and member of the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” Olympic hockey team, passed away this week at the age of 63. He was found dead on the morning of March 4 at a treatment facility where he had been staying.
The cause of death is yet to be determined. His family has donated his brain to be analyzed to see if he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, also known as CTE. He will be missed by hockey fans and everyone who remembers 1980.
New York Rangers vs. Buffalo Sabres
Madison Square Garden
March 2, 2021
It is a rare occasion when the Rangers score mere seconds into a game. This time, Pavel Buchnevich pulled it off 28 seconds in, with a little help from Mika Zibanejad and Adam Fox. However, that good feeling didn’t last too long because Sam Reinhart scored for Buffalo less than 30 seconds later to tie the game. It would take another minute or so for the Rangers to get back on top on a shot by Buchnevich, which deflected off Alexis Lafreniere into the net.
The second period was similar to the first. New York appeared to be in manage mode and was still a little on the sluggish side. Things seemed to perk up when Chris Kreider scored, assisted by Ryan Lindgren and Fox. Everyone, including Kreider, seemed to be surprised that the puck went in the net. With less than five minutes remaining in the second, Tobias Rieder scored for the Sabres, making it a one-point game.
The third period was not much to care about. It was more of a snooze fest, watching players just skate around. Hardly any shots on goal were made by either team, Buffalo managing five while the Rangers only eked out three. It seemed more like a game of keep-away than a hockey game. It is easy to imagine that both teams were relieved when the buzzer sounded at the end of the game.
The Rangers gave their fans a 3-2 win.
New York Rangers @ New Jersey Devils
March 4, 2021
The Blueshirts kicked off a six-game road trip with a visit to New Jersey. The Devils had defeated the Rangers in the two previous matches, so New York needed to step up and make some magic happen. The game also marked the return of Chytil to the lineup after being out due to an injury.
The first period was a little on the slow side for the Rangers. Jack Hughes started the party for the Devils by netting a goal, giving his team the lead. Other than the penalty by Chytil near the end of the period, not much else happened.
Then came the second period.
Welcome to the Chris Kreider show because he’s the only one who scored in the second. Almost nine minutes in, he scored a power-play goal on a penalty taken by Kyle Palmieri for slashing. Ryan Strome and Buchnevich were credited with the assists. Almost five minutes later, Kreider did it again, with help from Lindgren and Strome.
The third period arrived and Kreider netted another goal, getting the hat trick, with the assist credited to Chytil. It’s the second hat trick of the season for Kreider and the fourth of his career.
Apparently, Kreider has proven to be proceleusmatic, as three other Rangers scored to make way to the victory over the Devils. A little over three minutes after Kreider’s goal, Buchnevich scored with an assist from Lafreniere. The game continued until around five minutes remained and Shesterkin sustained a non-contact lower-body injury.
Brendan Smith knocks one in with a little help from Phillip Di Giuseppe and Kevin Rooney a few seconds after Shesterkin left the game. Lafreniere was able to sneak one in with less than two minutes left, assisted by Zibanejiad.
The Rangers easily defeated the Devils 6-1, but it is interesting to note that despite losing the game, the Devils had almost double the shots on goal and a higher face-off win percentage than New York.
New York Rangers @ New Jersey Devils
March 6, 2021
With Georgiev in net due to Shesterkin’s injury, the Rangers appeared to have a better start to this game than the last. Fox would be the one to get the ball rolling, going coast-to-coast up the middle to knock one in for a power-play goal, assisted by Georgiev. Strome was the next up to put one in, a little over seven minutes into the period. Kreider and Kakko were credited with assists.
The Devils came back and tied the game with less than five minutes left in the period on goals from P.K. Subban and Mikhail Maltsev. Those two goals were under 20 seconds apart, and it seemed that the Devils might be getting back in the game. However, Rooney put the Rangers back in the lead with help from Chytil and Julien Gauthier.
The interesting part of the second period was the goal by Libor Hajek. It was his first goal of the season, and it helped get the Rangers back to a two-goal lead. Buchnevich and K’Andre Miller picked up the assists on his goal.
Almost halfway into the third, Chytil put the Rangers up by three on a pass from Gauthier. It’s his third goal of the season. With a little over two minutes left in the game, it appeared that the Devils might try to make a comeback with a goal from Nathan Bastian. Their hopes were dashed about a minute later when Strome put one into the empty net, with Fox getting the assist.
The Rangers were able to defeat New Jersey 6-3 for back-to-back wins. It gives them a three-game winning streak and now finally gets their points percentage over .500.
Keeping It Going
The Rangers have won five out of their last seven games despite the absence of several key players. In their absence, it seems players have stepped up to do what needs to be done, especially Kreider. They are only four points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers. New York will need to keep the momentum going if they want to go into this following week and grab some more points.
Shesterkin is considered day-to-day with a mild groin strain, and Zibanejad appears to be okay as well, per Coach David Quinn.
The Rangers have four games coming up against the Penguins and the Boston Bruins, beginning tonight in Pittsburgh at 7:30 p.m. EST.