Rangers Week in Review: Win Some, Lose Some, Set Some Recordsby Liz Pendergraft March 28, 2021 0 comments
This past week for the New York Rangers has been interesting, to say the least. Quite a bit went on, so let’s take a look at what happened for the boys in blue in the Week in Review.
New York Rangers vs. Buffalo Sabres
Madison Square Garden
March 22, 2021
Even though the Buffalo Sabres have one of the worst records in the NHL with only six wins, there were times it looked like they might make a game of it. The first period was a snoozefest, even though the Rangers had twice as many shots on goal as the Sabres did.
Buffalo kicked off the scoring nearly four minutes into the second on a goal by Rasmus Asplund. A few minutes later, Kaapo Kakko tied it up for the Rangers, assisted by Artemi Panarin. Chris Kreider would get a power-play goal to put them ahead 2-1, with credits going to Panarin and Adam Fox for the assists. Near the end of the second, Fox would make it 3-1 for the Rangers. Mika Zibanejad and Pavel Buchnevich would get the assists.
Buffalo would attempt to make a comeback in the third, getting a goal by Dylan Cozens about a minute in, and another one three minutes later by Jeff Skinner to make it a tied game at 3-3. Kreider would get another power-play goal about a minute later, with Ryan Strome and Fox’s help. Kakko’s empty-net goal with less than a minute to go in the game would be the icing on the cake, with decorating tips from Panarin and Strome, giving the Rangers the 5-3 win they deserved.
New York Rangers @ Philadelphia Flyers
Wells Fargo Center
March 25, 2021
If anyone on the Rangers had an opportunity for gasconade, it would be Zibanejad after this game against the Philadelphia Flyers. It’s no secret he has not been himself all season, thanks to COVID-19. Last week’s 9-0 game, combined with this one, has shown the player fans know him to be.
Coaches Jacques Martin and Greg Brown were cleared from protocol and joined the team in Philadelphia. The Rangers also welcomed Igor Shesterkin back into net after being out with an injury. A good start to the game before the puck drop.
The game was almost like a repeat of the previous one with the Rangers getting out to a lead, getting a crazy amount of goals, and throwing in a hat trick by Zibanejad just for kicks.
Here’s a list of the goals for both teams.
08:01-NYR: Strome, Panarin, Fox
08:53-NYR: Buchnevich, Kreider, Zibanejad
13:36-NYR: Zibanejad, Fox, Strome
00:54-NYR: Zibanejad, Fox, Strome
02:06-NYR: Zibanejad, Strome, Fox
02:42-NYR: K’Andre Miller, Brendan Lemieux, Zibanejad
03:46-PHI: Claude Giroux, Kevin Hayes, Joel Farabee
13:34-PHI: Kevin Hayes, Sean Couturier, Shayne Gostisbehere
Sure, Zibanejad got six points and another natural hat trick against the Flyers, but keep in mind a whopping 10 other Rangers got points in the game as well. It was a collective team effort against a defense that, at times, didn’t seem to know what to do. The Rangers took home with victory with an 8-3 game.
Why The Last Two Flyers Games Are Important
The games from March 17 and 25th are important because they showed everyone that Zibanejad is still the player the Rangers need him to be. He had been diagnosed as having COVID-19 before the season began. Despite being cleared to play as the season started, it was obvious that he was still feeling its effects through his play on the ice. All thanks to a virus we still know little about.
As if coming back from the illness was not impressive enough, look at a few interesting stats he racked up just from these two games.
- The first player in franchise history to record a natural hat trick with one even-strength goal, one power-play goal, and one shorthanded goal in a single period. (March 17)
- The second player in NHL history to record six points in one period of a game. (March 17)
- The eighth different player in NHL history to record 5+ points in consecutive games played against one opponent in a season. Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, and Evgeni Malkin are a few of the other players to have accomplished this.
- The second Rangers player after Anders Hedberg to have posted two different six-point games in franchise history. He’s the first to do so in the same season.
- Third player in NHL history to score a natural hat trick in consecutive games against the same opponent in a single season. Thomas Vanek and Peter Bondra were the other two.
- For the March 25 game, it makes the first time in franchise history that a forward and defenseman scored 5 or more points in the same game. (Zibanejad and Fox)
- Joined Frank Boucher and Jean Ratelle as the only three Rangers players who have recorded 15 or more points in a five-game span.
- This season marked the first time since the 1986-87 season that two Rangers players have registered multiple hat tricks in the same season. (Zibanejad and Kreider)
Is it safe to say Zibanejad is back on his game? The proof is in his play.
New York Rangers @ Philadelphia Flyers
Wells Fargo Center
March 27, 2021
Rangers fans hoped there would be a three-peat of Zibanejad putting goals away against the Flyers, but sadly it ended up being only one. It came midway through the first, and the assists were credited to Strome and Fox. It would be the only goal the Rangers would have in the game.
Thanks to Nolan Patrick‘s goal, the Flyers were able to get on the board in the second period. From there, the Rangers kept taking penalties, and their play on offense and defense looked nothing like it did in the previous games. Samuel Morin got his first goal of the season late in the third period, with a little over five minutes to go in the game. The Flyers were able to hold on to win 2-1.
Not unlike a ship had suddenly righted itself, and the Rangers were mediocre again. If it was not for Shesterkin making some great saves and Fox doing a great job defending the empty net, the score might have been worse for the Blueshirts.
Suprise Trade On a Lazy Saturday Afternoon
On March 27, after the early afternoon loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, it was reported that the Rangers had traded Lemieux to the Los Angeles Kings. In return, New York received a 4th-round pick in the upcoming 2021 draft.
It appeared to take Rangers fans by surprise, especially since he had not been held out of the game, which is normal if a team knows they’re about to trade a player. It ensures that no injuries occur to the player being traded. Perhaps the reasoning behind the trade will become known eventually. Until then, speculation by Rangers fans will run rampant.
New York Rangers @ Washington Capitals
Capital One Arena
March 28, 2021
The Rangers traveled to face the Washington Capitals, finally getting coach David Quinn back behind the bench. It was what Rangers fans expected, especially after playing a game yesterday. As the game progressed it became apparent that the Capitals were in the game to wear the Rangers down, and it finally worked in the second period.
After going scoreless in the first, two different Capitals players scored to give them a 3-0 lead in the second period. Tom Wilson kicked off the scoring a little over midway through, and then almost two minutes later, Alex Ovechkin tallied a goal. Wilson put another one in the net with about five minutes left in the period. Through the end of the second, the Capitals were outshooting the Rangers 19 to 11.
The third period brought some signs of life from the Rangers. Evgeny Kuznetsov kicked off the scoring about five minutes in, giving the Capitals a 4-0 lead. A little over a minute later, Colin Blackwell scored for the Rangers, on his birthday no less, making it 4-1. The assist was credited to Fox. Three minutes later, Blackwell scored again, this time assisted by Kevin Rooney. T.J. Oshie put the Capitals back up to a three-goal lead a few minutes later.
Not to be outdone, Lafreniere added another goal for the Rangers to make it 5-3, assisted by Julien Gauthier and Rooney. Kreider, assisted by Strome and Fox, knocked in a power-play goal to bring the Rangers within one. New York could not quite make a comeback, and the Capitals would go on to keep the Rangers out of the net and win the game 5-4.
The Rangers are scheduled to face the Capitals again, this time at home. They will travel to Buffalo to take on the Sabres for two games afterwards.