Madison Square Garden – When a team like the Rangers trades for two perennial All-stars and season award winners, the expectation is that it would take a few weeks for the team to completely gel together.
Saturday night might have just been the pinnacle of everything clicking at the same time.
The Rangers chased Tristan Jarry after just a period and a half of action, and Igor Shesterkin tallied 35 saves in a primetime shutout of the rival Penguins, 6-0.
“We played wonderfully today. Scored many, many goals. Honestly, I hope the fans loved it. We’re playing for them.” Shesterkin said after recording his second shutout of the season.
New York’s domination on Saturday began early and often. Mika Zibaenjad got the scoring started five minutes in with his 36th goal of the season. Artemi Panarin followed later in the period for a 2-0 Rangers lead after one.
It was the second period that saw the Rangers flex their overabundance of talent though. First, it was Vladimir Tarasenko scoring on a three-on-one breakaway with Zibanejad and Panarin to put the Blueshirts up 3-0. Kreider would follow with his 31st goal of the season to chase Jarry from the game.
“That play was a three-on-two. You’ve kind of seen that play a few times where they like to squeeze their defensemen forward. He (Kreider) is not going to miss too many of those.” Kane explained.
Newcomer Casey DeSmith didn’t have better success though. On his first shot attempt of the game, Jacob Trouba made the score 5-0 and set the home MSG crowd into a frenzy.
From there, the rout was on, sealing the Rangers’ third win in a row and fifth in six games, even if not everyone on the team was impressed with the win.
“At times it wasn’t the best tonight,” Kane stated. “It seems like we have a lot of talent, a lot of ability to make the plays when we get those chances. We’re building chemistry.”
The win moved New York to 40-19-10 on the season and just five points back of the rival Devils for second place in the Metro division. They’ll be back on the ice Sunday night when they take on the Predators at home.
- For the ninth straight game, the Rangers were without Ryan Lindgren. Although the team’s top defenseman skated with the team in practice Saturday morning, he did not partake in line rushes due to his recovery from an upper-body injury.
- Zibanejad’s first-period score was the 10th time the forward led a game with a score. It’s tied for the most in the NHL and was his eighth overall point in his last four games.
- Kane’s two assists on Saturday night gave him 1,232 points in his NHL career. He ties Phil Housley for second place on the League’s all-time list among U.S.-born players.