Rangers dominate Kraken 6-3 in electric debut of Vladimir Tarasenko

Rangers get win in Tarasenko debut
New York Rangers’ Vladimir Tarasenko (91) celebrates with teammates after scoring during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Seattle Kraken, Friday, Feb. 10, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
AP Photos

Chris Drury and the New York Rangers traded for Vladimir Tarasenko as someone who could score consistently. 

It took two minutes for the former Stanley Cup winner to show just right they were. 

Tarasenko, Vincent Trocheck, and the kids led a massive offensive charge, and the New York Rangers doubled up the Seattle Kraken 6-3 on Friday night.

“I was kind of nervous going in this morning. Everyone’s been really nice to me. It’s been a lot of emotions but it was amazing.” Tarasenko said about his debut. 

Artemi Panarin found his “good friend” early in Friday’s contest on a cutting pass that put New York up 1-0 early. Minutes later, the Kid Line would continue its dominance with a score from Kaapo Kakko to give the Rangers a two-goal advantage five minutes in. 

“It was a great way for him (Tarasenko) to start his Ranger career. He’s excited to play and he’s a good hockey player. He’s going to help our team become a really good one.” Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant explained. 

New York’s hot start wouldn’t end there though. After the first two lines connected with points, Chris Kreider found Vincent Trocheck who pushed the puck past the goalie on a dive to send Madison Square Garden into a frenzy after one. 

One period of domination wasn’t enough for the Rangers though. A powerplay opportunity to kick off the second period found the Rangers extending their lead to four with a Jacob Trouba shot and score. Even with Seattle getting on the board later in the second when Oliver Bjorkstrand netted his 10th of the season by Igor Shesterkin, the Rangers went into the final frame with a comfortable 4-1 advantage. 

The Kraken wouldn’t go away easily though in the third period. After Mika Zibanejad scored on the powerplay to give New York a 5-1 lead, Seattle had back-to-back scores within 22 seconds of each other to keep the pressure on the Rangers. 

But a Ryan Lindgren empty-net goal was all New York needed to win their fourth game in a row and celebrate the arrival of a new star at MSG. 

“Obviously we came out hot, got a couple of goals early. We stayed on the gas the whole game, I thought special teams were good. We gotta stick to this.” Trocheck told AMNY after the win. 

New York moved to 30-14-8 on the season and play the Carolina Hurricanes Saturday night on the road. 

Game Notes

  • Tarasenko was not the only new acquisition making his debut for the Rangers. Niko Mikkola was a part of the deal that sent Sammy Blais and Hunter Skinner to St. Louis as well. Mikkola was called for two penalties and played 13 minutes of game action. 
  • Kakko’s first-period goal tied a career-high in scores during the regular season with 10. The former second-overall pick has already set career-high marks in points and has been a part of a dominant Kid Line that has put up over 11 points in their last three contests. 
  • New York scored two powerplay goals with the changing of their lines. Filip Chytil moved to the first powerplay group while Tarasenko and Trocheck were bumped to the second group. Both groups ended up scoring goals though with balanced ice time. 

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