There hasn’t been a team playing better hockey than the Toronto Maple Leafs over the last month. Yet the New York Rangers did more than enough to end two big streaks Thursday night.
Jimmy Vesey scored twice, Igor Shesterkin made key saves, and the New York Rangers shut down the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1 at Madison Square Garden to win their fifth game in a row.
“Coming into the game, Toronto was on a roll. The way they were playing…I thought it was a good team effort from start to finish.” Gerard Gallant said after the game.
The win snapped Toronto’s streak of 15 games with a point as well as Mitch Marner’s 23 straight games with a point.
“When you play top players like him you know you highlight them a little bit and make sure you play him hard,” Ryan Lindgren told AMNY after the game. “It’s not something we talked about, but he’s obviously a top player and we just want to do our job and try to shut them down.”
New York certainly did that Monday night while getting key contributions from unlikely heroes.
While New York’s second powerplay unit rarely had gotten ice time throughout the season, they took advantage of extended time to score the first goal of the game when Kaapo Kakko found Filip Chytil for the score. It was the Rangers’ fifth powerplay goal in their last six games, while it was Chytil’s fourth point in his last four.
Toronto would later tie the game shortly after the Rangers killed a Jacob Trouba powerplay. Michael Bunting found an open position in front of the net to convert a rebound into a tied score.
While the second period would see only 10 total shots on goal between the two teams, it wasn’t completely devoid of action. New York struggled to clear the puck for over three minutes during one stretch yet did not allow a goal. Later, Vincent Trocheck would lose his stick and begin to kick the puck up the ice before it was stolen away.
Play would settle down though and it would be the Rangers who responded in a major way. Late in the second period, a Miller deflection started a breakaway with Trocheck and Vesey that ended with the latter scoring his fourth goal of the season and giving the Rangers a 2-1 lead.
All the way through the craziness of the second period, the Rangers had their reigning Vezina winner stay stout. Shesterkin saved 22 out of 23 shots on the night. His biggest save came in the third period. After the Rangers’ defense was caught out of position, Shesterkin robbed Zach Aston-Reese to keep New York up a goal. Shesterkin would later rob Mitch Marner on a break.
Vesey would later empty net goal would be all the Rangers would need as they would end Toronto’s four-game winning streak and continue their recent stretch of wins against top teams in the league.
“It’s always rewarding to get on the scoresheet. I think the first few games I was getting my feet wet, getting adjusted to the team and since then I think I’ve been steady.” Vesey said after the win.
The win is New York’s fifth straight while they move to 16-10-5 on the year and in sole possession of the fourth place in the Metropolitan division. Their next contest will be in Philadelphia on Saturday.
- Vitali Kravtsov received ice time for the first time in four games replacing Sammy Blais. Ben Harpur made his first appearance of the season replacing Libor Hajek. Gerard Gallant said before the game that both roster moves were not due to injury.
- A game of streaks continued for the Rangers’ offense. Trocheck’s two assists to Vesey were the 400th of his career and the sixth point (2G-4A) in his last five games.
- The Rangers aren’t the only New York team dealing with success either. According to Marc Ernay of 1010WINS, it’s the first time both the Rangers and New York Knicks are on simultaneous five-game winning streaks since November of 1993.
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