The New York Rangers can’t be explained at this point. Filip Chytil can’t stop scoring goals. The Rangers can’t stop winning at Madison Square Garden. Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria I tell you! In all seriousness, the Rangers picked up their third win in a row by scoring not once, not twice, not three times, not four but five times against the New York Islanders. The victory was the team’s seventh straight at MSG, and it saw Alexandar Georgiev pick up his first career shutout. Here is tonight’s goal breakdown.
Filip Chytil (5) - Assists: Kevin Shattenkirk (6) and Chris Kreider (8)
The Blueshirts were rocking and rolling a scant 29 seconds into the game after Chytil surprised everyone by taking a low percentage shot instead of passing it across to Kevin Hayes. The puck deflected off Ryan Pulock and back to Chytil and he snapped it past Robin Lehner before he had a chance to get in proper position.
Cody McLeod! (1) - Assists: Tony DeAngelo (6) and Ryan Strome (1)
The Rangers got on the board for the second time in the first period after Cody McLeod tipped in a shot fired on goal by Tony DeAngelo. The goal was the big man’s first as a member of the Blueshirts, and it was a byproduct of him being in the right place at the right time while having the ability to get his stick in a position to tip the puck home. Ryan Strome picked up a secondary assist, and it was his first as a member of the Rangers.
Neal Pionk PPG (4) - Assists: Vladislav Namestnikov (7) and Mika Zibanejad (11)
Young Neal is having quite a time with the Rangers, and he continues to pick up points in a big way. He tallied his fourth of the season on an absolute howitzer of a shot on the power play. Namestnikov attempted to get a shot on goal, but it was blocked. Pionk skated into the path of the puck and ripped it. Pionk now has 14 points in 20 games, which is 13th best in the NHL as of this writing.
Kevin Hayes (5) - Assists: Kevin Shattenkirk (7)
Hayes has been on a torrid pace as of late for the Rangers, and he picked up his fifth goal and 14th point of the season on an absolute beauty of a play. Chytil got the play started by pressuring Scott Mayfield behind the net, and the puck was turned over to Shattenkirk. He skated with it a bit and then made a subtle drop pass to Hayes who skated in and dangled his way in before beating Lehner with a backhander. With the goal, Hayes moved into a tie for third place with Pionk in total scoring with 14.
Chris Kreider (12)
Chris Kreider is one bad mother... I am going to stop there. If you have seen Pulp Fiction, you know where I was going with this. If not, check this out. The Rangers’ leading scorer is putting it all together and his 12th goal of the season was an absolute snipe, very similar to the goal he scored vs. the Florida Panthers. Last season Kreider was limited to 56 games and he tallied 16 goals. Kreider is already at 12 goals in just 22 games, and is scoring at a clip of 0.545 goals per game which puts him on pace to score 45 goals this season.
There is bound to be a bit of a regression, but Kreider is playing amazing hockey. He’s scored six times and added five helpers this month for 11 points in 10 games. Every year it feels like we are asking if this will be the year he figures it out. This could be Kreider’s way of saying he wants to be a part of the solution for this team, and not become part of the second wave of trades that could come prior to the deadline.
After the game the team celebrated, and this was just a hilarious and heartwarming moment between Kreider, Chytil and Zibanejad.
Look how happy they are! The way the team is playing right now is unexplainable, and all I can say is enjoy it while it lasts.
- Congratulations to Georgiev on picking up his first career NHL shutout. He made 29 saves on the evening, including 13 in the third as the Islanders tried to get in the game and break up the shutout.
- Based on his performance it would make sense to start him on Friday vs. the Philadelphia Flyers which would free up Henrik Lundqvist for Saturday vs. the Washington Capitals. He deserves to be recognized, and Lundqvist can use every day off he can get.
- Thank you to everyone who has supported my efforts for Hockey Fights Cancer thus far. After each game I post an update, and here is where things currently stand.
- If you would like to support my efforts, check out this post which explains everything. You have a chance to win prizes, including the below.
- Thank you again to everyone for their support and generosity, it certainly means a lot to me.
- The Rangers play next on Friday at 1:00 p.m. on NBC in Philadelphia vs. the Broad Street Bullies.