Another game and yet another victory for the New York Rangers who topped the San Jose Sharks 3-2 tonight at Madison Square Garden. We’re almost running out of ways to describe Igor Shesterkin because he just keeps winning hockey games. Shesterkin is currently riding a seven-game winning streak and turned in his fourth 40+ save performance.
Jesper Fast (10) - Artemiy Panarin (51) & Ryan Strome (38) - 9:35 1st Period
Despite only having half-a-dozen shots on goal, the Rangers found a way to break the scoreless tie midway through the first period. Artemiy Panarin created the goal with an unreal individual effort off to the left of Aaron Dell, and slipped the puck across to Jesper Fast. Not only did Panarin put the puck in front of the net, but he also intentionally passed the puck THROUGH Aaron Dell’s legs in the process. Jesper Fast tapped home the loose puck and gave New York the early 1-0 lead.
Joe Thornton (3) - Timo Meier (20) & Mario Ferraro (7) - 17:55 1st Period
Is was only a matter of time before the Sharks jumped back into the game, and Joe Thornton’s third goal of the season pulled San Jose even. This is probably a goal that Shesterkin will want back just because the shot from Thornton beat him from outside the faceoff circle. Either way, the Rangers weren’t do themselves any favors in this game by taking endless amounts of penalties.
Joe Thornton (4) PPG - Brent Burns (30) & Kevin Lebanc (18) - 13:47 2nd Period
The Rangers’ penalty woes continued into the second period, and it eventually burnt them as San Jose jumped out in front. Joe Thornton’s second goal of the game came just off to the right of the post, and Brent Burn’s point shot deflected in off of his leg. Shesterkin actually made the initial save on the shot, but the rebound immediately pin balled right back behind him and over the goal line.
Mika Zibanejad (28) - Artemiy Panarin (52) - 17:27 2nd Period
With the Rangers trailing late in the second period, Artemiy Panarin’s wizardry was put on full display once again as his chipped the puck off of Evander Kane’s stick. The puck wound up sliding perfectly across the crease as intended and landed right on the tape of Mika Zibanejad. Zibanejad didn’t waste any time at all and one-timed the puck over Aaron Dell to even up the game at 2-2.
Jesper Fast (11) - Jacob Trouba (20) & Ryan Strome (39) - 6:54 3rd Period
Following a faceoff win by Ryan Strome, Jacob Trouba’s seemingly harmless wrist shot caused a mad scramble in front of the Sharks’ net. Jesper Fast took two swats at the puck before it eventually popped up in the air and landed behind Aaron Dell. The puck just barely squeaked over the goal line as players piled in the crease, and New York took a 3-2 lead in this game.
This entire game had a playoff type of feel to it and the Rangers handled the roller coaster of emotions as best as they could. Artemi Panarin’s magic gave the Rangers a chance, and Jesper Fast sealed the deal early in the third period. We still have no idea what the Rangers are going to do ahead of Monday’s trade deadline, but one thing is for certain, this team doesn’t quit. Following tonight’s third straight win, the Rangers will have two scheduled off days before returning on Tuesday night against the New York Islanders.