Rangers Playoffs in Review: Pass the Baguettes

Rangers Playoffs in Review

The New York Rangers took on the Pittsburgh Penguins in Round 1 of the 2022 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. It came down to overtime in Game 7 to determine the winner. But, they say there’s no quit in New York, and this team embodies that mantra perfectly.

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No Quit in New York

The Rangers are no strangers to coming back from a 3-1 deficit in the playoffs. However, this team is not the same one from years past. They do not have tons of veterans with experience. One of the youngest teams in the playoffs, there are quite a few players who were about to get their first taste of the playoff pie. It was served up with a side of a huge overtime Game 7 win. Not a bad combination.

Despite the abysmal play throughout the series, the Rangers shuffled on the ice both ways, barefoot and without a coat. At least that is how it appeared at the time. They let the Penguins control the majority of each game, always finding it difficult to clear the puck out of their own end. Even in Game 7, they were still letting the Penguins control the game, but it wasn’t as bad as the previous six games. Although often, during each match, it seemed as if the Rangers didn’t know what to do or were having difficulty getting set up and in their normal routine. You can thank Pittsburgh’s ability to make adjustments for that.

At times it felt as if the Rangers were also playing against the officiating crew. Missed calls, questionable calls, or ridiculous calls occurred throughout the seven games. Rangers fans will tell you the refs favored the Penguins, while Pittsburgh fans say they favored the Rangers. Instead of getting frustrated, the Rangers continued to play their game and keep doing what they were supposed to. As a kid, you are told that if you keep doing what you are supposed to, everything will turn out fine. It worked out pretty good for the Rangers.

The Kids Are Gonna Be Alright

Many were worried about how being in the playoffs would affect players like Alexis Lafreniere, Kaapo Kakko, and Filip Chytil. It was interesting to see them go from just being the third line to one of the reasons the Rangers stayed in the game during Game 5. Perhaps once the nervousness had worn off, they started having fun and enjoying the game. Throughout all the games, they were the definition of not giving up no matter what the situation looked like. Those three combined for four goals and four assists. However, those stats don’t tell the entire story.

They were getting scoring chances, and they improved in defending the ice. Ranger fans should be pleased with their progress and look forward to seeing more of the kids. However, do not forget about another young player named K’Andre Miller. He has come a long way over the regular season, and the improvement has shown through during the playoffs. Miller has one goal and three assists, but do not let the 14 giveaways overshadow the 11 takeaways. He has the most takeaways throughout the series, and several other Rangers were just as bad with giving the puck away.

Hopefully, this ride in the playoffs will give the boys a taste of what is to come in their future. Maybe it will motivate them even more in the coming matchup against Carolina.

Veterans Finally Seal the Deal

If the Rangers were to win against Pittsburgh, their top two lines would need to play better and be more productive in the playoffs. Most of the time, they looked lost or unsure of how to counteract what the Penguins were giving them. It was great that the team veterans were able to finally find their footing and join the young ones in the game. But, it almost came a little too late. If you think the kids kept them in it for Game 5, then it was Game 6 that the top lines looked alight better. The Penguins were still in control, but all five goals in Game 5 were from players in the top 2 lines.

After being absent for much of the first five games, it was exciting to see them finally succeed. Was it pretty? No, but it was still the delivery we needed. Then, in Game 7, they really delivered. Chris Kreider with the game’s first goal and Mika Zibanejad‘s goal tied the game and sent it to overtime. Artemi Panarin must have heard the Rangers fans yelling at the screens telling him to shoot the puck because he finally did in overtime. With only a few seconds, he got one past Tristan Jarry to send the Rangers to Round 2.

Czar Igor

Igor Shesterkin was incredible in Game 1. Although playing almost two games in one night will wear even the best goalie out. After winning Game 2, Shesterkin did not seem to be playing to his full Vezina Trophy finalist skills. Games 3 &4 found Shesterkin unable to keep pucks out o the net. Although it was not all his fault, there was a breakdown in the defensive coverage in front of him. This led to him getting pulled in Games 3 and 4.

Gerard Gallant put him right back in the next game. He was looking better in Games 5 and 6, though he was still not entirely up to what fans had seen during the regular season. Shesterkin looked more like himself in Game 7, making some fabulous saves along the way to a victory. If he has found his way back, then the upcoming games in the playoffs should be interesting.

What We Learned

  • The Rangers still are dreadful at faceoffs
  • Czar Igor is still the backbone of the team
  • The young ones will be just fine
  • The veterans need to be more noticeable on the ice
  • The top two lines need to show up
  • They need to stop taking penalties
  • Their power play needs a refresher course
  • Maybe Gerard Gallant knows what he is doing

All of these are obvious conclusions after watching all seven games. However, it doesn’t take into account the will to win to play another game. While it may have appeared that throughout the series, Gallant wasn’t making adjustments or worrying about matching lines, on the flip side, it puts more responsibility on the players. They know what they are supposed to do and where they are supposed to be. Perhaps it is simply a matter of letting them play, therefore allowing them to “find themselves” in relation to the game and the opponent. And by “find themselves,” it means finding the resilience, drive, and heart in themselves and their teammates to get the job done.

Stay golden, Rangers.

Scoring Summary

New York Rangers vs. Pittsburg Penguins
Game 1
May 3, 2022
Madison Square Garden
L 4-3

1st Period

09:19-Adam Fox, Mika Zibanejad & Chris Kreider

2nd Period

03:08-Andrew Copp, Ryan Strome & Jacob Trouba
04:32-Jake Guentzel, Sidney Crosby & Bryan Rust
11:47-Jake Guentzel, Sidney Crosby & Bryan Rust
17:07-Chris Kreider & Mika Zibanejad
18:30-Bryan Rust, Evgeni Malkin & Kris Letang

3rd Period

No Scoring

OT 1

No Scoring

OT 2

No Scoring

OT 3

05:58-Evgeni Malkin, John Marino & Kasperi Kapanen

New York Rangers vs. Pittsburg Penguins
Game 2
May 5, 2022
Madison Square Garden
W 5-2

1st Period

06:50-Andrew Copp, Artemi Panarin & Justin Braun
08:52-Jake Guentzel, Marcus Pettersson & Sidney Crosby

2nd Period

02:59-Ryan Strome, Adam Fox & Artemi Panarin
12:06-Chris Kreider, Frank Vatrano & K’Andre Miller
18:34-Sidney Crosby, Bryan Rust & Mike Matheson

3rd Period

08:02-Artemi Panarin, Frank Vatrano & K’Andre Miller
09:49-Frank Vatrano & Braden Schneider

New York Rangers @ Pittsburg Penguins
Game 3
May 7, 2022
PPG Paints Arena
L 7-4

1st Period

01:57-Brock McGinn
05:08-Kaapo Kakko, Alexis Lafreniere & Filip Chytil
08:18-Jeff Carter, Evan Rodrigues & Mike Matheson
10:31-Evan Rodrigues, Mike Matheson & Louis Domingue
15:15-Evan Rodrigues & Brian Boyle

2nd Period

06:51-Frank Vatrano, Chris Kreider & Mika Zibanejad
07:58-Artemi Panarin, Adam Fox & Ryan Strome
15:59-Andrew Copp & Kevin Rooney

3rd Period

11:02-Danton Heinen
17:46-Jake Guentzel, Sidney Crosby, &Mike Matheson
18:53-Jeff Carter, Sidney Crosby & Brock McGinn

New York Rangers @ Pittsburg Penguins
Game 4
May 9, 2022
PPG Paints Arena
L 7-2

1st Period

02:06-Alexis Lafreniere & Braden Schneider
11:17-Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel & Kris Letang

2nd Period

03:14-Mike Matheson & Sidney Crosby
03:38-Jake Guentzel, Bryan Rust & Sidney Crosby
11:22-Mark Friedman, Teddy Blueger & Brian Boyle
14:04-Adam Fox, Artemi Panarin & Mika Zibanejad
18:53-Danton Heinen & Kris Letang
19:28-Jeff Carter & Jason Zucker

3rd Period

12:22-Evgeni Malkin & Kasperi Kapanen

New York Rangers vs. Pittsburg Penguins
Game 5
May 11, 2022
Madison Square Garden
W 5-3

1st Period

10:28-Jake Guentzel, Bryan Rust & Mike Matheson

2nd Period

07:58-Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin & Jason Zucker
15:11-Adam Fox, Andrew Copp & Ryan Strome
16:41-Alexis Lafreniere, Kaapo Kakko & Jacob Trouba
17:53-Jacob Trouba, Artemi Panarin & K’Andre Miller
18:06-Jake Guentzel & Evgeni Malkin

3rd Period

02:53-Filip Chytil, Alexis Lafreniere & Frank Vatrano
19:44-Ryan Lindgren

New York Rangers @ Pittsburg Penguins
Game 6
May 13, 2022
PPG Paints Arena
W 5-3

1st Period

14:12-Jeff Carter, Kasperi Kapanen & Marcus Pettersson
15:48-Bryan Rust & Jake Guentzel

2nd Period

05:05-Mika Zibanejad, Ryan Strome & Adam Fox
06:21-Mika Zibanejad, Adam Fox & Ryan Lindgren
13:48-Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad & Igor Shesterkin
16:36-Evgeni Malkin

3rd Period

18:32-Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad & Adam Fox
19:33-Andrew Copp, Kevin Rooney & Adam Fox

New York Rangers vs. Pittsburg Penguins
Game 7
May 15, 2022
Madison Square Garden
W 4-3

1st Period

07:36-Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad & Braden Schneider
18:51-Danton Heinen, Jeff Carter & Evan Rodrigues

2nd Period

10:18-Jake Guentzel, Bryan Rust & Sidney Crosby
11:23-K’Andre Miller, Andrew Copp & Ryan Strome
17:24-Evan Rodrigues

3rd Period

14:15-Mika Zibanejad & Andrew Copp


04:46-Artemi Panarin, Adam Fox & Mika Zibanejad

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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images

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