The Rangers skated into second place in the Metropolitan Division with an impressive win over the Penguins on Tuesday night.
The 3-2 win — which saw goals from Chris Kreider, Frank Vatrano, and Braden Schneider — gave the Blue Shirts their 91st point, to overtake Pittsburgh in the division. The team now sits just 5 points behind the first-place Carolina Hurricanes.
The Penguins scored first in the Tuesday night matchup, when Brian Boyle scored against Rangers phenom goalie Igor Shesterkin, but Vatrano’s goal on a Kreider assist tied the game in the second period. Schneider then struck again for the team from MSG, when Artemi Panarin passed the puck to his charging defenseman for an open look in front of the net.
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Kreider later scored on a power play goal in the third period to put New York up 3–1, but another power play goal from Penguins’ legend Sidney Crosby brought his team within 1 score.
Shesterkin managed to hold on for the rest of the contest, and bring another crucial win to the Garden. The goaltender continues to boast the best save percentage in the NHL.
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The team now has 15 games remaining, and, after working out some lineup kinks brought on by a succession of roster moves, they could look to overtake the Hurricanes for the first place spot.
New York has two crucial contests against Carolina remaining on their schedule (April 12 and April 26, both at Madison Square Garden). They could potentially overtake the Metropolitan rival for the top divisional spot, and give them an easier road in the playoffs.
The team currently has a tie for 10th best odds to win the Stanley Cup Trophy, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, which lists the team as +2000 odds — meaning that bettors would win $20 for every $1 wagered.
The team’s success has largely been driven by the team’s star-heavy roster, with five players accounting for over 50% of the team’s total points. Artemi Panarin (77), Mika Zibanejad (69), Adam Fox (65), and Chris Kreider (64) have recorded a total of 275 points, out of the Rangers team-wide 548.
Kreider, meanwhile, sits as the 3rd highest goal scorer among all NHL players this season, as he’s found the back of the net 45 times this year — behind only Oiler Leon Draisaitl’s 48 and Maple Leaf Auston Matthews’ 49.
In just the last 5 games, the winger has scored 5 goals and assisted on 4 others, for a total of 9 points.