Rangers Week in Review: Fair-to-Middling With a 99.9% Chance of No Playoffsby Liz Pendergraft May 2, 2021 1 comment
The New York Rangers went into this week with a small hope that they would sneak into the playoffs. The early-week victory over the Buffalo Sabres would give them yet another three-game winning streak, keeping hopes alive. However, as the week went on and they faced the New York Islanders for two games, those hopes slowly started to dwindle.
New York Rangers vs. Buffalo Sabres
Madison Square Garden
April 27, 2021
The Rangers were looking for another three-game winning streak. This season they have had three winning streaks of three or more games, and they hoped to extend it to four. They were able to defeat the Sabres 3-1 in a game that was a little questionable at first, but the Rangers were able to pull off the win.
The Rangers came out in the first with a lackluster performance. Buffalo outshot the Blueshirts 16-6, but Igor Shesterkin was able to turn all of them away to keep the game scoreless. He kept the Rangers alive when it appeared all hope might be lost for the night.
The second period brought a Rangers team playing a little more like themselves. Brendan Smith was able to get the Rangers on the board a little over two minutes in. The rest of the period was a back and forth between the teams until Filip Chytil took a penalty for tripping against Sam Reinhart. Reinhart was then able to get a power-play goal to tie the game at 1-1 with a few seconds left in the period. The Rangers had come back during this period, outshooting the Sabres 20-12.
For both teams, the third period started similarly to the second. Almost seven minutes in, Kevin Rooney took a minor boarding penalty against Drake Caggiula and a five-minute major penalty for fisticuffs against Dylan Cozens. Chytil served the boarding penalty for Rooney. Almost three minutes later, Alexis Lafreniere put the Rangers back on top 2-1. Mika Zibanejad scored a power-play goal four minutes later to give the Rangers a 3-1 lead and that was the final.
02:22 NYR: Smith
19:56 BUF: Reinhart, Casey Mittelstadt
Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award
Before the April 29 game against the Islanders, the Rangers presented the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award to the Ranger who “goes above and beyond the call of duty.” It’s an award voted on by the fans since the 1987-88 season. It bears the name of NYPD detective Steven McDonald, who was shot and injured in the line of duty on July 12, 1986. McDonald passed away on January 10, 2017, after suffering a heart attack at the age of 59.
It’s about going above and beyond. It’s about never, ever giving up.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) April 30, 2021
This year’s recipient was Adam Fox. He is just the second defenseman to win the award since it was first presented. Fox was acquired from the Carolina Hurricanes in 2019, and so far this season, he has skated in 49 games and leads NHL defensemen in assists and points in 2020-21. Earlier this season, he posted a career-high 12-game point streak, recording 22 points (three goals, 19 assists). The streak is tied for the fifth-longest by a defenseman in franchise history. Over 49 games, he has accrued five goals and 42 assists.
New York Rangers vs. New York Islanders
Madison Square Garden
April 29, 2021
Looking to keep their playoff hopes alive, the Rangers hosted their rival, the Islanders. They have had a difficult time against them, winning only two out of six meetings this season. The Islanders would win their seventh game against the Rangers with a 4-0 shutout. The home team Rangers were also facing the loss of Kreider; he’s listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury which occurred late in the April 27 game against Buffalo.
The Rangers attempted to be in the game, but it was obvious from the drop of the puck they were not ready to take on the Islanders. A little over six minutes into the game, Leo Komarov put the visitors on the board. It was his first goal of the season. Oliver Wahlstrom would make it a 2-0 game about six minutes later.
A minute into the second period, Anthony Beauvillier scored to put the Islanders up 3-0. They continued to smother the Rangers, not allowing them to get any type of game going. It would continue through the rest of the game until the final buzzer.
The third period found Mathew Barzal making it a 4-0 game with less than six minutes left in the game. The Islanders would win, and Semyon Varlamov would get his sixth shutout of the season in this one.
Throughout the game, the loss of Kreider was evident as he is usually the one to go to the net, which means fewer opportunities for deflections, screens, and rebounds. The Rangers also suffered the loss of Brett Howden, who will be out for the rest of the season with a fracture to his foot. Ryan Lindgren was also injured in this game, crashing head-first into the glass near the benches during the third period.
It may appear to some that the playoff-hopeful Rangers did not show up for this game, but they actually were indeed there. It turns out that they have a lot of deficiencies in their play that need to be addressed in the offseason.
14:26 NYI: Barzal, Mayfield
New York Rangers @ New York Islanders
Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum
May 1, 2021
The Blueshirts were on the road for the eighth and final game against the Islanders this season. Missing key players like Jacob Trouba, Kreider, Lindgren, and Howden would allow the Rangers to see what they’re made of. Morgan Barron and Tarmo Reunanen were called up from Hartford and suited up for this game. It was Barron’s first career NHL game.
From the drop of the puck, the game appeared to be a repeat of the previous one. The Rangers appeared to not have made any adjustments in their play, and the Islanders made them look like a junior varsity team. Beauvillier opened up the scoring for the Islanders almost five minutes into the first. Barzal made it 2-0 near the end of the first, beating Alexandar Georgiev on the blocker side.
The second period brought us more of the same. Beauvillier knocked another one past Georgiev on a nice wrist shot, extending the lead to 3-0. The Rangers were trying to get a puck past Varlamov but could not do so, despite getting eight pucks on net.
The start to the third continued to provide echoes of previous games against the Islanders. The visiting Rangers outshot them 10-4, and Georgiev was able to keep the Islanders’ shots on goal out of the net. Despite all of that, they were still unable to get anything past Varlamov. He gets his seventh shutout of the season with 28 saves.
With this 3-0 win over the Rangers, the Islanders clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the third straight season.
04:39 NYI: NYI: Beauvillier, Bailey, Leddy
16:22 NYI: Barzal, Bailey
01:02 NYI: Beauvillier, Nelson, Bailey
What’s Next for the Rangers?
It won’t be the playoffs. Their inconsistent play shows they are not ready to compete with anyone. There are four more games left in the season for New York. They will host the Washington Capitals for the last two home games of the season before hitting the road to take on the Boston Bruins for the final two.
New York Rangers vs. Washington Capitals: Monday, May 3 at 7 p.m. EDT