There are no moral victories in the NHL, but the New York Rangers accomplished something close to it on Tuesday night.
Alexander Georgiev outdueled Igor Shesterkin, Evan Rodrigues scored the winning shootout goal, and the Colorado Avalanche beat the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden Tuesday night, 3-2 in a shootout.
“After the first period, I thought we played pretty good hockey after that so we battled back in the second and played pretty sound hockey.” Gerard Gallant said after the loss.
Nichuskin got the scoring started in the first period on a powerplay goal that rocketed past Igor Shesterkin for the Avs’ early lead. Colorado led in almost every facet of the first period including an 18-11 advantage in shots.
New York would not go away in the second period though. The Blueshirts outshot the Avalanche 15-9 in the second period and ultimately tied the game up at one when a three-on-two rush turned into a Barclay Goodrow goal to get the home crowd excited. Jacob Trouba and Sammy Blais were credited with assists on the Goodrow goal. For Blais, he was the 15th different player on the Rangers to score a point through the early portion of the season.
“They had an odd-man rush coming our way, we kind of broke it up. Blais and I played a give-and-go and he made a great pass over to Trouba and he made a great one over to me.” Goodrow told AMNY afterward.
Goodrow’s score tilted the tide of the game throughout the second period, but also highlighted a tremendous duel between two goaltenders that had known each other quite well.
Igor Shesterkin and Alexander Georgiev were both masterful throughout the night. Shesterkin saved 42 of 44 shots while Georgiev followed suit with 44saves on 46 shots. “They both made some unbelievable saves,” Gallant added later.
But a back-breaking mistake from Shesterkin in which he came out to try and move the puck on the powerplay ultimately led to another Rangers’ deficit. Again, the Rangers would battle back though with Adam Fox causing a turnover and leading an odd-man rush to tie the game late in the third period at 2.
“He’s a talented player. He and Makar looked pretty good going back and forth with each other but two really good hockey players and a good hockey game.” Gallant said afterward.
After a scoreless overtime brought the league’s best onto the ice for a shootout, Mikko Rantanen and Artemi Panarin both scored back-to-back but Rodrigues’ goal in the fourth round was followed by an Alexis Lafreniere miss that sent the home crowd away disappointed. Following the final save, Georgiev was seen demonstrably celebrating the win against his former team.
“It was a good game. One goalie saved the shot and the other one missed the shot and that’s the difference.” Igor Shesterkin said through his interpreter after. “He (Georgiev) did good. I definitely need to focus on my game, and work on it a little bit more.”
The loss left the Rangers at 3-2-2 at a disappointing 1-1-2 on their four-game homestead. They will be on the ice tomorrow night when they kick off a three-game road series against the New York Islanders.
- Tuesday’s contest was the 100th start for Igor Shesterkin. The reigning Vezina winner signed a 4 year, $22,666,667 deal with the Rangers last season and was the reason New York moved on from Alexander Georgiev during the offseason.
- Tuesday’s game was also the return of Dryden Hunt, who was put on waivers by the Rangers last week to clear up cap space. Hunt was called for an interference penalty on Sammy Blais to set up the Rangers’ first powerplay of the night to start the second period.
- The most consistent offensive line for the Rangers has come from their second group to start the season. The Artemi Panarin-Vincent Trocheck-Alexis Lafreniere line generated several key scoring chances throughout the contest to keep their former teammate on his toes.