Rangers look to make it three straight wins in Saturday matinee.
The New York Rangers beat up on the New Jersey Devils on Thursday 6-1, but had a scare when Igor Shesterkin sustained an injury late in the third and had to be helped off the ice.
To everyone’s relief (and surprise), it was revealed that Shesterkin’s injury was a mild groin strain and that he is day-to-day. To add to that good news, Kaapo Kakko would be rejoining the lineup after missing six games with COVID-19.
Phillip Di Giuseppe was scratched to make room for Kakko. Alexandar Georgiev would get the start in net with Keith Kinkaid backing him up.
1st period: That was fun
Brendan Lemieux, who hasn’t been playing great hockey lately, did what he does best and drew a double-minor penalty early. This would be a huge chance for the Rangers against the worst penalty kill in the NHL.
This season, many have been saying Adam Fox is the best Rangers defenseman since Brian Leetch, and he sure looked like him on a coast-to-coast goal scored on the power play. He caught the Devils sleeping and looked fantastic up and down the ice.
Georgiev also recorded his first career assist on the play. This was the first primary assist for a Rangers goalie since the great Henrik Lundqvist did it in 2014.
Kakko may have missed some time, but he sure didn’t look like it. He created a turnover, something he’s done so well this season, and is the reason why Ryan Strome was able to score the team’s second of the game.
Chris Kreider also had an assist on the play as he and Strome remain red-hot.
Georgiev went on to give up two bad goals, but was bailed out by his forwards shortly after.
Filip Chytil is still fantastic, even after missing so much time. He made a beautiful pass to Kevin Rooney, who scored against his former team to put the Rangers up 3-2.
The Rangers did give up some bad goals, but did enough offensively to come out of the period in the lead.
2nd period: Ok, Libor
K’Andre Miller made a fantastic play behind the Devils’ net that resulted in an unexpected Libor Hajek goal. This was Hajek’s first goal of the season and his first goal in almost two years.
The Devils brought some pressure to the Rangers’ zone late in the period, but New York got out of it fine. Credit must be given to Georgiev, who was significantly better in the second.
3rd period: Make it three in a row
Julien Gauthier, who didn’t see much playing time in the second even after assisting the Rangers’ third goal, made some great defensive and offensive plays that resulted in a well-deserved Chytil goal. This line was great all game.
Georgiev conceded another bad goal, but the Rangers got on the scoreboard again with an empty-netter by Strome.
The Rangers have now scored six goals in back-to-back games and are on a three-game winning streak. Their schedule is about to get much tougher, but they’re going into this stretch with momentum.
Key Moment: Adam Fox or Brian Leetch?
The Rangers’ key moment was Fox’s beautiful power play coast-to-coast goal. This goal got the Rangers on the board and kicked off another Devils massacre.
Fox has been incredible for his team this season, especially on the power play, and all of that was embodied in this goal. He really does look like the best defenseman to put on a Rangers sweater since Leetch.
Player of the game: Filip Chytil
Before missing several weeks due to injury, Filip Chytil had been one of the Rangers’ very best players. His absence was very noticeable thereafter.
He picked up right where he left off and has been excellent again. This game was no different as he was the best player on the ice.
He made so many great offensive plays, including a spectacular pass to Rooney for the third goal of the game, and scored a beautiful goal in the third. He even defended well.
Chytil’s numbers: 14:25 TOI, 1 G, 1 A, 55.56 CF%, 0.23 iXG, 0.55 xGF, 0.18 xGA, 2.11 GF, 0.92 GA, 0.26 defensive rating, 1.09 offensive rating, and 1.58 individual rating.
Stats are courtesy of Hockey Stat Cards and Natural Stat Trick.