Rangers Reactions Week 6: W, W, W

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Rangers Reactions Week 6: W, W, W

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Rangers Reactions Week 6: W, W, W

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I’m not even sure where to begin this week of Rangers Reactions. I truly believe that this level of play that the Rangers are seemingly sustaining is an indication of the positive change that has flowed through the locker room. The quality of the product on the ice is higher than anything in recent memory for this franchise. I could dwell here for hours waxing poetically the feats of this young hockey team but that’s not what we’re here for. Let’s get to the games.

Game 19: Win vs Sabres (5-4)

This game was a battle from start to finish. The first period ended 1-1, the 6-goal second period ended 4-4, and in the last second of play, Ryan Lindgren scored the game-winning goal to put the Rangers ahead for the last time.

I actually believe that this game was more one-sided than the score would suggest, and I feel as though the play of Alexandar Georgiev in net gave Buffalo more life than they should have had. But on a night where this team could not lean on its goaltending to secure a victory, this team found a way to get it done.

Five different skaters scored for the Rangers, as follows in order: Chris Kreider, Jacob Trouba, Kaapo Kakko, K’Andre Miller, and Ryan Lindgren. 12 different skaters registered points in the game. Adam Fox contributed two assists while Artemi Panarin notched three helpers. Georgiev played two periods, allowing four goals on 18 shots. Igor Shesterkin was in net for the third period and stopped all four of the shots he faced. The Rangers put 36 shots on net compared to the 22 by the Sabres, while Aaron Dell stopped 31 of the 36. The Rangers went 1/1 on the powerplay while Buffalo went 1/3. 

Game 20: Win @ New York (4-1)

I should preface this write-up with a small bit of information. This game arguably shouldn’t have happened given the state at which the Islanders’ roster was left after losing players to positive COVID tests. This opinion is boosted by the postponement of the Sunday rematch, a mere five days separating one game from the other. The Islanders roster was in disarray for this game and the resulting score was not surprising given how many AHL players had to stand in.

Now, looking at this objectively, this was a game the Rangers should have won. But that is what good teams do, they win the games that they are supposed to. This was an ugly game due to what felt like over-the-top officiating, as the teams combined for 11 powerplays. The Islanders, who were without their top powerplay unit, went scoreless across six man-advantage scenarios. The Rangers, who had their top unit intact, went 1/5.

The Rangers jumped out to a two-goal lead in the first period and never looked back. They got two goals apiece from Chris Kreider and Kevin Rooney. Kreider had the one powerplay goal, which came off a deflection from near the side of the net. This exact play has been used successfully all season so far, and Kreider has been relentless with getting the puck to the back of the net on deflections.

Perhaps the most exciting development from this game was actually the play of Ryan Reaves. The fourth line of Reaves-Rooney-Goodrow played better than the famous fourth line of the Islanders and was one of the best line combinations of the day for the Rangers. Reaves notched two assists, the second coming after an exquisite display of soft hands.

This team is rolling four lines confidently and are showing how beneficial it can be to generate offense across your whole lineup. Igor Shesterkin returned to his starting role in net, and he posted 20 saves on 21 shots. Semyon Varlamov faced 21 shots as well and only stopped 17.

Game 21: Win @ Boston (5-2)

It was Black Friday in Boston and it felt like the Bruins were offering discounts on goals. Boston staked themselves a 1-0 lead in the first when Craig Smith took advantage of a turnover by Jacob Trouba. A Ryan Strome goal with six seconds remaining in the opening period tied it at one. Then the Bruins again took the lead, this time on a Patrice Bergeron tip-in during the second period, but again the Rangers would respond, this time with a goal from Dryden Hunt to tie it at two.

The Bruins wouldn’t lead for the remainder of the game as it was all Rangers in the third period. The blueshirts got goals from Artemi Panarin, Alexis Lafrenière, and Jacob Trouba. Julien Gauthier notched a pair of assists on the goals by Panarin and Lafrenière. The Trouba goal was a rink-length, empty-net goal while the teams were skating 4v4. It certainly made up for the goal surrendered in the first period.

Perhaps the most impressive play of the evening, despite it being unsuccessful, came on a play by Chris Kreider. The game was still tied at two about a minute before Panarin would finally break the tie. Kaapo Kakko dove full force into the corner to dig out a puck, battling with Charlie McAvoy. He managed to successfully strip the puck and move it to Kreider, who wrapped around the net in an attempted Michigan.

The goal-scoring move, first brought to fame by Mike Legg who famously utilized it against Minnesota in a 1996 NCAA Tournament game, is also called a lacrosse-style move. The first NHL player to score a goal with the move was Andrei Svechnikov in 2019. The Rangers Twitter account joked that Kreider almost broke the internet with the attempted goal.

The other somewhat newsworthy development from this game was actually a conflict between Panarin and Brad Marchand. Marchand has always been known as an antagonistic player, and he clearly got under Panarin’s skin. Eventually, Panarin would throw his glove at Marchand, sending the equipment from one bench to the other. This move resulted in a $5,000 fine by the NFL levied at Panarin. Marchand joked that the dispute was started when Marchand joked about Panarin’s thanksgiving meal, though a more serious explanation was offered by Panarin.

Panarin claims that Marchand made remarks towards Panarin about his popularity in Russia, specifically commenting on the political scare that spooked Panarin into spending a month away from the team last season while dealing with the fallout of his anti-Putin interview. Considering the safety of Panarin and his loved ones were at risk, this is a fairly classless move by Marchand. Marchand avoided a fine from the whole debacle, and Panarin even offered a bit of humor about it all, brushing off the fine amount and thanking the Rangers for paying him $11.6 million.

Fan Sentiments and What to Look Forward to Next Week

Well fans, there is only positivity brimming from this organization this week. This team has bought into the scheme of head coach Gerard Gallant, and the new gritty identity provided by the likes of Reaves has trickled down to the rest of the lineup, and the offense is rolling. The young guys are really stepping up. I’d specifically like to highlight the play of Julien Gauthier who is making a case for serious NHL minutes. Similarly, Kakko has found a way to produce on every line he skates with, and Dryden Hunt is slotting in consistently as a top 6 winger despite being thrust into that role suddenly.

These were the last games for the Rangers in November. They start December with a three-game homestead on the first, third, and fourth days of the month. They have the Flyers on Wednesday, the Sharks on Friday, and the Blackhawks on Saturday.

With the way the Rangers are playing they really could win that whole stretch. The Flyers are talented and would project to give them the most trouble. The Sharks have had a disappointing recent stretch of games despite playing a relatively weak Pacific division. The Blackhawks have offensive ability but are within the bottom five teams of this year with seemingly no hope to turn it around.

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