The New York Rangers entered Saturday night with a chance to send a message to the rest of the NHL regarding their recent dominance.
Artemi Panarin tallied four goals, the first hat trick for the Rangers this season, and New York blasted through the home-crowd Caniacs by a 6-2 final.
On the second night of a back-to-back, the Rangers came out on fire early. Mika Zibanejad scored on the first powerplay of the night to give New York a 1-0 lead after one period. Carolina would strike back in the second period with two goals within three minutes.
Then Panarin took over. After being demoted to the second line midway through the second period, the Rangers all-star tallied three straight goals, two of which came in the final period to stretch New York’s lead to two. Kaapo Kakko would net an empty netter before Panarin sealed the game with his fourth of the night to send the Carolina home-crowd home disappointed.
Even with Panarin’s dominance, the strength of the Rangers Saturday night came from their goaltender. Jaroslav Halak won his seventh straight start with New York and made 27 saves on 29 shots. He repeatedly made key saves that not only kept the Blueshirts in the game but also propelled them to victory.
Carolina’s loss to New York ended their seven-game winning streak and was the second time this season they lost to the Blueshirts after giving up 3+ goals.
New York, on the other hand, moved to 31-14-8 with their fifth straight win. They will travel north of the board next week with contests against Vancouver, Edmonton, and Calgary.
- After their first game together that saw New York beat Seattle on Friday, it took just a period for Gerard Gallant to switch lines in the second period. Chris Kreider moved up to play with Zibanejad and Tarasenko while Panarin worked with Trocheck and Vesey.
- Vitali Kravtsov was a healthy scratch for Saturday’s contest against Carolina. According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, Gallant defended the move before the game saying “Want a different mix and he didn’t do enough. Combination.”