The New York Rangers continued their winning ways this evening and picked up two more crucial points with a 5-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. With the Rangers chasing the Hurricanes in the standings, tonight’s big win moves the Rangers just four points out of the final wild card spot. Igor Shesterkin also continues to pick up wins in incredible fashion and improved to 8-1 on the season.
Mika Zibanejad (27) - Unassisted - 16:41 1st Period
New York was extremely good early on in this game, and after missing on a couple prior chances, they finally jumped out to a 1-0 lead. Mika Zibanejad made a great defensively play at his own blue line, and turned that chance in a breakaway down the other end of the ice. Zibanejad finished off the rush with a quick head fake and moved to his backhand to bury the puck past Petr Mrazek.
Brock McGinn (7) - Jordan Staal (14) & Jaccob Slavin (26) - 3:25 2nd Period
After trailing through 20 minutes, the Hurricanes were able to jump back into the game courtesy of Brock McGinn. McGinn was able to enter the zone with a little hand off from Jordan Staal, and patiently worked his way through the middle of the ice. Adam Fox was unable to pivot in time, and McGinn snapped a quick wrist shot just under the crossbar to tie up the game at one.
Jesper Fast (9) - Artemiy Panarin (50) & Jacob Trouba (18) - 9:48 2nd Period
A little under six minutes after Carolina tied the game, the Rangers were able to dominate at the other end of the rink and regained their one-goal lead. The magical work by Artemiy Panarin forced a turnover as Carolina was exiting the zone, and it turned into a mini 2-on-1 rush the other way. Jesper Fast’s attempted pass back across the crease took a deflection off of a Hurricanes’ defender and ended up in the back of the net.
Brady Skjei (8) - Ryan Strome (37) & Mika Zibanejad (31) - 16:09 2nd Period
Similar to Fast’s goal just a few minutes earlier, the Rangers scored in similar fashion with some friendly fire in front of the net leading to a goal. This time around it was Brady Skjei flying in behind the net, and he attempted to make a centering pass as he wrapped around the net. The puck redirected into the air off of Jake Gardiner’s skate and flipped over the top of Petr Mrazek to make it a 3-1 game.
Artemiy Panarin (31) PPG - Mika Zibanejad (32) & Filip Chytil (9) - 1:10 3rd Period
With the Rangers needing to continue playing their game in the third period, Artemiy Panarin broke the game wide open with his 31st of the season on the power play. Following some good work in the corner by Kaapo Kakko, Mika Zibanejad sent a spinning pass across the crease into open ice. Artemiy Panarin was able to walk on the shot with plenty of space, and sniped the puck by Marzek to give New York a commanding 4-1 lead.
Sebastian Aho (35) PPG - Andrei Svechnikov (32) & Jaccob Slavin (27) - 5:12 3rd Period
Despite trailing by three goals, Carolina wasn’t going down without a fight and pulled back within a pair of goals early in the third period. After making an incredible save just seconds prior to the goal, Igor Shesterkin wasn’t able to close his leg pads on top of the puck. The rebound just barely slipped out from under Igor and Sebastian Aho was able to slam home the loose puck.
Ryan Strome (16) ENG - Jacob Trouba (19) - 18:12 3rd Period
The Rangers were able to ice the game with just a tick under two minutes remaining in regulation as Ryan Strome converted on the empty net. A clearing attempt by Jacob Trouba took a bounce back the other way, and Ryan Strome was able to chase down the loose puck. Strome’s goal gave New York their third straight victory of the road trip and moves them even closer to the playoffs.
There’s not much else you can really say about this team that hasn’t already been said. It’s pretty amazing to see this much of an improvement after the struggles early in the season, and how much closer they’ve become as a team. The hockey is extremely entertaining and mixed with some of the personalities on this team, they are just downright fun to watch on a nightly basis. This late season surge was a little bit unexpected, but it’s going to be one heck of ride until the end of the regular season.
On to San Jose.