“Out-manned” Rangers pull off gutsy win over contending Kings, 5-2

Rangers pull out gutsy effort in win over Kings
New York Rangers’ Alexis Lafreniere, left, celebrates with Vincent Trocheck after Trochek scored his second goal of an NHL hockey game, during the second period, against the Los Angeles Kings Sunday, Feb. 26, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
AP Photos

The 2022-23 season has been one of the most bizarre for the New York Rangers. Recently, the team has taken the moniker of one of the famous songs from Broadway’s musical “Hamilton.”

“Out-gunned and out-manned” against the playoff-tested Kings, the New York Rangers still found a way to pull off one of their gutsiest wins of the season by a 5-2 final. 

“I said to the guys back in your minor hockey days everybody loved playing every second or third shift & the defense rolled and just played. You get into the game that way. Fortunately for us, we got away with it. The guys played one of their better games in a long time.” Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant said after the win. 

In a game that saw goalie changes, key injuries, and bizarre penalties, each period brought something new and wacky to a game featuring two title-contending teams. It all started in the first period when an Alexis Lafreniere shot went off LA’s starting goaltender, Jonathan Quick for the game’s first goal. It was the first lead the Rangers had accumulated since February 15th. 

From there, the game went off the rails with plays better to be believed in a television program.

Late in the first period, defenseman K’Andre Miller was ejected for spitting on Drew Doughty. The announcement came after a lengthy review in which the call was confirmed and put the Rangers, who were already down to five defenders, to run with just Adam Fox, Jacob Trouba, Niko Mikkola, and Ben Harpur for the rest of the night.

Linesman Kilian McNamara (93) escorts New York Rangers’ K’Andre Miller (79) off the ice after Miller received a penalty during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Los Angeles Kings, Sunday, Feb. 26, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

“I didn’t see it. I’m not saying it didn’t happen. The kid feels bad about it.” Gallant explained.

Still, New York’s undermanned defense was able to kill off the major penalty, and shortly later Vincent Trocheck would score twice within a minute and a half to put the Rangers up 3-0. Quick was quickly replaced by Pheonix Copley after giving up a goal where Trocheck’s pass was deflected by him by a LA defender. 

Even with the lack of defensemen depth and a short bench, the Rangers still found a way to control the contest throughout. Even if they got a scare later in the second.

Up by three, Mika Zibanejad left the game late in the second period after taking a hit to the ankle, leaving him hobbling straight to the locker room. A Viktor Arvidsson goal off Shesterkin would compound the Rangers’ exhausted issues. 

“Obviously it’s scary but it was all good. He hit me pretty hard. He told me last game that he didn’t have that hard of a shot but I guess he worked on it.” Zibanejad said with a smile. 

But Mika would return to start the third period and find a way to produce in a big way. 

Up by two after Artemi Panarin and Matt Roy traded goals early in the third, Zibanejad sent a one-timer past Copley to get the MSG crowd on their feet and roaring with approval over the gutsy performance from their superstar.

“You’re scared whenever someone stays down. We were happy to see him come back. It was great to see him come back and it was nothing too serious.” Adam Fox said after the win. 

Zibanejad’s score would be it thanks to Igor Shesterkin preserving the win with a 26-save night that pushed his save percentage over 90% for the first time in weeks. 

New York moved to 34-17-9 on the season with the win and will play the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night. They remain in third place in the Metro division. 

Game Notes

  • New York was without Ryan Lindgren Sunday due to an upper-body injury the defenseman suffered in Saturday’s 6-3 loss to Washington. While Gallant said he doesn’t expect the injury to be serious, the team has considered him “day-to-day.”
  • With the number of skaters depleted due to trades and waivers, the Rangers called up Ryan Carpenter from Hartford. Carpenter and Braden Schneider both did not play in Sunday’s game as a way to get the team cap compliant for a trade with Chicago. One of the two would need to be sent down on Monday to give the team enough cap space for a potential Patrick Kane deal. Both players were notified before the game according to Gallant. 
  • Outside of the craziness that transpired throughout the entire contest, Vincent Trocheck quietly had one of his best games since signing with the Rangers in the offseason. Trocheck tallied two goals and an assist on the night while getting the first star of the game. 

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