Rangers Week in Review: How Sweep It Is

Rangers Week in Review: How Sweep It Is

by April 19, 2021 1 comment

Everyone knows the old saying about insanity. What if, instead of wanting a different outcome on each attempt, people wanted the same one. Is that still considered insane? Perhaps, but the New York Rangers never back down from a challenge.

Another Potential Piece to the Puzzle

This past week, the Rangers signed defenseman Zachary Jones of the University of Massachusetts. He is coming off a championship win in the Frozen Four, the first for the Minutemen. Jones signed his Entry Level Contract (ELC) on April 13 and reported to New York.

Jones is expected to play in some of the season’s remaining games, burning the first year of the ELC. While the Rangers are in a playoff push, it is doubtful Jones would see playing time. However, if the team feels he is ready to take the ice, he will be out there regardless of where they stand in the playoff hunt.

New York Rangers @ New Jersey Devils
Prudential Center
April 13, 2021

The Rangers came into the game in New Jersey knowing they needed to win decisively. They accomplished that goal with a 3-0 shutout of the Devils. Things were a little bit chirpy with a few fisticuffs going on between players. However, it didn’t deter New York from scoring goals.

Chris Kreider and Damon Severson kicked it off less than two minutes into the first with what seemed to be a small kerfuffle, for which they each were rewarded with a five-minute major penalty. About six minutes later, Mika Zibanejad zoomed into the Devils’ territory and buried the puck in the net to open the scoring, giving the Rangers a 1-0 lead with the aid and abetment of Pavel Buchnevich and Adam Fox.

The second period came and went with little fanfare, except for a skirmish between Brendan Smith and Michael McLeod a little over five minutes in. Both players received a five-minute major penalty for the tussle. The Devils initiated a push back, showing improvement on both offense and defense. They allowed the Rangers just four shots on goal.

It is interesting to note that coach David Quinn didn’t address the locker room during the second intermission. Jacob Trouba spoke to the team, and whatever was discussed appeared to work because they came out for the third with an improvement in their play.

Panarin would be the one to give the Rangers a bit of breathing room with his goal that came almost eight minutes in, with Filip Chytil and Fox giving a helping hand. This goal helped Panarin break Mark Messier‘s career-record of 137 (45 goals, 92 assists) points in the first 100 games. The franchise record is 138 points (45 goals, 93 assists). Buchnevich’s short-handed, empty-net goal was the cherry on top of a delicious shutout of the Devils.

Igor Shesterkin was able to grab his first career shutout in the NHL with 27 saves, and Buchnevich scored the 20,000th goal in Rangers franchise history.

New York Rangers vs. New Jersey Devils
Madison Square Garden
April 15, 2021

The Blueshirts came out strong at home against New Jersey as they looked to capitalize on the previous game’s shutout. The only topic to ponder would be about which Rangers team would show up. A few seconds into the first, we could see that the team was there to play. Trouba put the puck in the net a mere 47 seconds into the game to put the Rangers up 1-0, and Colin Blackwell and Zibanejad were credited with the assists. Six minutes later, Ryan Lindgren got his first goal of the season with a little help from Artemi Panarin and Fox. Panarin made it 3-0 less than six minutes later, with contribution from Ryan Strome and Blackwell.

The second period only gave fans one goal, which came from the Panarin, Strome, and Blackwell line. This put the Rangers up 4-0 and would be the last goal in the game. The Rangers almost made it 5-0 on a goal by Vitali Kravtsov in the third. It would have been the first goal of his NHL career, but it was disallowed. Devils Coach Lindy Ruff challenged the play for being offside, and after a review, the refs agreed.

A Fine Line and Rookie Records

The Panarin, Strome, and Blackwell line recorded eight points in this game with two goals and six assists. Both Blackwell and Panarin were on the ice for each of the four goals against the Devils.

Shesterkin was on point again and recorded his second shutout with 16 saves. He is only the second rookie goaltender in franchise history to post a shutout in two consecutive games, with Lorne Chabot being the first in the 1926-27 inaugural season. Shesterkin is also the third New York goalie to have a shutout in consecutive games against the same opponent. The other two are Chabot (1926-27) against the Ottawa Senators and Gump Worsley (1955-56) against the Boston Bruins.

New York Rangers vs. New Jersey Devils
Madison Square Garden
April 17, 2021

After holding the Devils to no goals for two games, they would inevitably score on the rookie goaltender. Even with those goals, the Rangers still routed them 6-3 with a little help from a hat trick from Buchnevich. What a way to celebrate a birthday. He is the only player in franchise history to score a hat trick on his birthday.

Buchnevich started off the scoring for the Rangers a little over seven minutes into the game. The assists were credited to Zibanejad and Panarin. Three minutes later, on a 5-3 power play, Strome would get one in off the right post. Zibanejad and Panarin were there once again to get the assists on the goal. With the Blueshirts still on the power play, Buchnevich grabbed another goal, this time with assistance from Blackwell and K’Andre Miller.

New Jersey Makes a Run

The second period would find Panarin putting one in the net 32 seconds in, with Strome and Lindgren assisting. A little over midway into the game, McLeod was able to jumpstart the Devils’ game, getting the puck past Shesterkin. This suddenly found energy would carry over into the third period.

Five minutes in, P.K. Subban knocked one in past Shesterkin, and a minute later, Yegor Sharangovich made it a 4-3 game. The Rangers called a timeout after Sharangovich’s goal, and it appeared to help settle the boys down; however, things were still looking a little shaky. New Jersey was on the cusp of completing their comeback, but Buchnevich put that idea to bed with his empty-net goal. The assists for his hat trick were given to Zibanejad and Panarin. A minute later, Kreider would also knock one into the empty net, with help from Strome and Lindgren.

New York Rangers @ New Jersey Devils
Prudential Center
April 18, 2021

After not winning more than three games in a row throughout the season, would the Rangers would be able to break through and get a fourth? They were able to close out the four games with a 5-3 victory, but not without resistance from the Devils.

Five minutes into the first, Subban and Trouba had a bit of a quarrel with each other, and Nico Hischier showed up a few seconds later. A penalty was called on him for roughing against Trouba. With the Rangers on the power play, Kreider was able to get the puck in with help from Zibanejad and Panarin. Eight minutes later, Kravtsov was finally able to get his first “official” NHL goal, putting the puck in net on a pass from Brett Howden. Alexandar Georgiev left the game with minutes to go, appearing to have a non-contact injury. He was helped off the ice, and Shesterkin took over goaltending duties for the Rangers, making two saves in the process.

A Post-Intermission Return

Georgiev was back in net at the start of the second, ready to play. After the game, he said that he had felt pain on the side of his kneecap and that it just needed to be put back into place.  Five minutes into the period, Alexis Lafreniere got one past Mackenzie Blackwood, putting the Rangers up 3-0. Chytil and Kaapo Kakko leant a hand on that score. Near the end of the period, New Jersey got a goal of their own by Mikhail Maltsev to make it a 3-1 game. It was similar to the previous game; the Devils appeared to be ready to make a comeback.

Two minutes into the third, Marian Studenic got his first NHL goal, make it a one-goal game for the Devils. Not long after, Hischier snuck one past Georgiev to tie the game 3-3. With less than five minutes left in the game, the Rangers were on a power play, and Zibanejad made it 4-3. A nice present to receive for his birthday, courtesy of Strome and Fox. Time was running out for the Devils, and as Strome was headed toward their empty net, he was hooked and was awarded an empty-net goal. The assists went to Blackwell and Panarin.

When the final horn was a mellifluous ending to a hard-earned sweep of New Jersey.

Playoffs Push?

The New York Rangers’ propinquity to a playoff spot is something the boys in blue need to consider over the few games left for the season. They are currently fifth in the Division with 52 points, and the Boston Bruins still have a few games in hand. So while it may be difficult or impossible to get in, the focus will need to be on playing the best 60 minutes each game.

What’s Next for New York?

This week’s first game is a road trip to face the New York Islanders on Tuesday at 7 p.m. EDT. They will then host the Philadelphia Flyers for back-to-back home games Thursday and Friday.

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