For a team playing its third game in four days with two on the road across the country, the New York Rangers could be excused for a dud of a performance.
Even after a slow start though, Igor Shesterkin and the Rangers’ penalty kill jumpstarted the offense and were rewarded with a 4-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes Sunday night.
“We couldn’t get our legs going, and then all of a sudden we had a couple of good PKs and that started to jump from that point on.” Gerard Gallant said after the game. “It was a tough travel for us with three games in four nights for us. You don’t make excuses but the PK’s got us going.”
Much like last year, a lackluster offensive approach was saved early on by the excellence of Igor Shesterkin. The reigning Vezina winner tallied 17 saves in the first period to keep the game scoreless while tallying 30 saves total on the night.
“I felt good before the game but saw the first 15 shots in the first period. We’re playing a good game, we blocked a lot of shots, the PK was great, and it meant a lot to me.” Shesterkin said after the game.
New York wasn’t without their chances. An Adam Fox pass found Kaapo Kakko in front of the crease but the young star couldn’t finish. Later in the second, Ryan Carpenter was robbed with an excellent chance to score.
The Rangers wouldn’t be denied later in the second though. Vincent Trocheck found Barclay Goodrow who netted his fourth goal of the season for the 1-0 lead. Adam Fox broke through a double team to score his fifth of the year shortly after to make it 2-0 New York.
“I got going and started creating some chances and got rewarded for it.” Fox told reporters after the game. “I think we were able to get chances and get behind them and play in the o-zone more.”
Chris Kreider would later get a powerplay goal off a Zibanejad one-timer that deflected perfectly off his stick for a 3-0 lead. Back-and-forth goals saw Clayton Keller end the Shesterkin shutout while Ryan Carpenter netted his first goal as a Ranger to keep the score a 4-1 game.
With the win, the Rangers moved to 8-6-3 and a tie with the Carolina Hurricanes for third in the Metropolitan division. New York has a four-game layoff before traveling to the west coast for a game against the Seattle Kraken.
“It’s a good feeling. Last night was a tough loss, but it feels good when you’ve got a day off so a win definitely helps us.” Gallant concluded.
- Although the Rangers avoided injuries to key players after Saturday’s loss, Vitali Kravtsov missed his second straight game due to a toothache that had been bothering him according to the coaching staff.
- Adam Fox’s goal extended his point streak to six games. The former Norris Trophy winner tied Erik Karlsson and Rasmus Dahlin for the second-longest point streak by a defenseman this season according to the Rangers Stats & Info Twitter account.
- Sunday’s win was not without some controversy. Late in the second period, Mika Zibanejad had a breakaway chance but Connor Ingram went out of the crease to make the save. Zibanejad then collided with Ingram which caused a brawl between the two sides with Mika going to the penalty box for interference. No one in the scruffle was given a penalty much to the chagrin of the Rangers’ home crowd.