The Blueshirts will hope to keep things rolling against their rivals.
The New York Rangers have won two in a row and are getting hot at the right time.
Head coach David Quinn had a tough decision to make regarding who would get the start in net against the New York Islanders: Igor Shesterkin has looked much better, but Alexandar Georgiev has been unbelievably good against the Islanders throughout his career.
It was close, but Quinn decided to ride the hot hand and went with Shesterkin. Was it the right decision?
1st period: Getting dizzy
The first period was very fast-paced and involved a great deal of back-and-forth, but the Rangers were the more dominant team. There weren’t many stoppages in play, at all.
The Rangers did have a power play and looked pretty good, but the Islanders killed it well. Defensively, the Blueshirts were visibly excellent.
2nd period: Go on, Rooks
The second period was quite similar to the first. It was up-tempo and dominated by the Rangers. To the Rangers’ delight, Shesterkin was having another strong game and made some important saves.
The Rangers did have another chance on the power play and they looked good again, but couldn’t score. The fourth line was very noticeable this period and the rookies came to play.
Alexis Lafrenière and K’Andre Miller made some-highlight reel plays that made it hard to remember how inexperienced they are.
3rd period: One that got away
A missed opportunity by Artemi Panarin on the breakaway should’ve been the sign that the Rangers wouldn’t have any puck-luck in this game.
A careless back pass by Libor Hajek, who had actually been playing well, became a turnover that the Islanders’ gritty fourth line took advantage of to score.
The fourth line would do it again for the Islanders not two minutes later, and the Rangers were forced to play catch-up. The fact that they spent two of those precious minutes short-handed didn’t help.
Overall, the Rangers didn’t play poorly, but some mistakes and a struggle to finish led to the shut-out.
Key Moment: Roo-KEY
Miller made several outstanding defensive plays, but his best, as well as the key moment of the game, was his excellent play in the second that saved a goal.
K'Andre Miller doing K'Andre Miller things. pic.twitter.com/UsNRyXILKL
— x – New York Rangers (@NYRangers) February 9, 2021
He makes a goal-saving play at least once a game, it feels like, and the skill and intelligence he displays whilst making such plays are beyond his years.
Player of the game: Julien Gauthier
Julien Gauthier hasn’t played every game this season, but he sure has looked good when he has been on the ice.
He didn’t do anything significant offensively, but he made some great defensive players (he was one of the Rangers’ best players, in that regard).
At under 10.5 minutes of ice-time, Gauthier played less than any other Rangers player. However, he made those minutes count. He had a 0 GF, 0 GA, 0.32 xGF, and 0.21 xGA. His offensive score of -0.03 isn’t good, but was better than many of his teammates.
All stats are courtesy of https://hockeystatcards.com/.