Rangers don’t get the win, but come away with a point after an impressive comeback.
The New York Rangers head into Sunday’s game against their cross-town rivals, the New York Islanders, having come off a decisive victory against the same opponent on Friday.
They’d look to make it back-to-back wins against the best team in their division. This is a milestone for Kaapo Kakko, who would be skating in his 100th career game.
It would also be important for Igor Shesterkin. Shesterkin would be taking on his longtime friend and countryman, Ilya Sorokin, for the very first time. The beginning of a seemingly great rivalry.
The only lineup change would be Shesterkin getting the start in net.
1st period: In a hole already
The Rangers showed some flashes of promise in the first, but this wasn’t a good period for them. A top-five penalty kill in the league, they didn’t look like it here and ended up conceding a goal while short-handed.
After showing signs of life in the middle of the period, they gave up a goal and subsequently found themselves in a hole heading into the second. At least it would be one of the best second period teams in the league going up against one of the worst.
2nd period: The kids/third D-pairing are definitely alright
The Rangers shined in another stellar second period. They climbed out of their hole and came back to tie the game. The kids continue to absolutely shine.
Libor Hájek scored the Rangers’ first goal, which is always entertaining to see, but this goal doesn’t happen without the “Kid Line”. Great hustle and assertiveness by the three guys on this line resulted in the goal. Kakko is now on a career-high four-game point streak. A nice accomplishment in Game 100.
The third defensive pairing was buzzing this period. Brendan Smith, Hájek’s linemate, tied the game for the Rangers, but that wasn’t the highlight of the goal. Vitaly Kravtsov got the secondary assist here for his first (hopefully, of many) career NHL point.
This was an excellent period for the Rangers, who would look to maintain their momentum and not let this go to waste.
3rd period: Not too disappointing
The Rangers didn’t score in the third period and couldn’t come up with a regulation win like they did on Friday. However, the fact that they came back from a 2-0 hole and got a point out of it is impressive and not something they’ve been great at this season.
The players continue to grow and exhibit fight and perseverance.
Shesterkin deserves a shoutout for coming up with two massive back-to-back saves that saved the game and allowed the Rangers to get to overtime.
Overtime: They’ll take the point
Overtime was basically as bad as the first period for the Rangers. They looked bad from the get-go and a Filip Chytil turnover allowed the Islanders to score the game-winning goal.
Even though they got the loss in a bad overtime, this wasn’t a game fans should be upset about. Not only did the kids look great and the team showed fight, but they did it against one of the best teams in hockey.
A win would have been especially great, but getting a point on a day that both the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers lose is an accomplishment.
Key Moment: Congrats, Krav
The key moment of the game was Smith’s game-tying goal. It reflected how dominant the Rangers were in the second and was poetic- his linemate, Hájek, scored the first goal.
It was also the moment that ensured the Rangers would come out of this one with at least a point. Perhaps most importantly, Kravtsov earned his first NHL-point on the goal. He’s been great and has even exceeded expectations and greatly deserved this.
Player of the game: Brendan Smith
Old man Smitty gets the honors in this one. He was excellent up and down the ice and has shown his value to this team as a veteran blueliner throughout the season. Will the Rangers look to keep him around or ship him out at the trade deadline?
Smith’s numbers: 15:58 TOI, 1 G, 66.67 CF%, 0.21 iXG, 0.54 xGF, 0.25 xGA, 2.03 GF, 0 GA, 2.64 Game Score, 1.03 defensive rating, 0.6 offensive rating, and 0.87 individual rating.
Stats are courtesy of Hockey Stat Cards and Natural Stat Trick.