The New York Rangers picked up a huge win this evening as they exploded for six goals, and defeated the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center. The game started slow for the Rangers as they weren’t able to generate much offense, but they took off in the final 40 minutes fueled by Chris Kreider’s hat trick. Even though everything went right for the Rangers tonight, they were dealt some bad news as Igor Shesterkin left the game with a freak non-contact injury.
Jack Hughes (5) - Sami Vatanen (1) - 7:12
The Rangers had a pretty miserable opening period all things considered, and they went from bad to worse when the Devils jumped out to an early 1-0 lead. A waved off icing call on New Jersey appeared to catch Igor Shesterkin by surprise as he had a chance to clear the puck. However, Shesterkin left the puck untouched and it deflected back out in front of the net off of the end boards. Jack Hughes was cruising into zone with speed, collected the loose puck and fired it over the shoulder of Shesterkin to make it a 1-0 game in favor of New Jersey.
Chris Kreider (11) - Ryan Strome (8) & Pavel Buchnevich (10) PPG - 8:28
Just prior to the midway point of the game, the Rangers finally had a chance on the power play and they made the most of the opportunity. A pretty passing play through the neutral zone gave the Rangers a clean entry into the offensive zone, and they went to work. Ryan Strome capped off the play with a beautiful cross-ice saucer pass through traffic, and right onto the tape of Chris Kreider. All in one motion, Kreider was able to redirect the puck and slipped it under the arm of Mackenzie Blackwood to the tie the game at 1-1.
Chris Kreider (12) - Ryan Lindgren (9) & Ryan Strome (9) - 13:57
Nearly four and a half minutes later, it would be Kreider striking again at the 13:57 mark of the second period. Kreider’s second of the night came off a broken play in the corner, and the puck made its way out to Ryan Lindgren just inside the blue line. Lindgren let a quick shot go with traffic setup in front, and the puck found the stick of Kreider as it came in on goal. Mackenzie Blackwood never reacted to the change in direction, and New York grabbed their first lead of the evening.
Chris Kreider (13) - Filip Chytil (2) - 0:23
Despite a rough start to the game, the Rangers came out absolutely flying to start the third period, and were rewarded with a goal just 23 seconds into the period. Chris Kreider would pick up his second hat trick of the season on an absolute snipe from just inside the hash marks. Filip Chytil created the entire sequence with a great forecheck, forced the turnover and immediately fed a pass back against his momentum.
Pavel Buchnevich (7) - Alexis Lafrenière (3) - 3:57
New York would continue to pour on the pressure in the third period, and jumped out to a commanding 4-1 lead on Pavel Buchnevich’s seventh of the season. Both Buchnevich and Alexis Lafrenière exchanged on a give-and-go through the neutral zone, and that separated the defensemen. Lafrenière laid an absolute dime over to Buchnevich on the far side of the ice, and he snapped a shot just under the crossbar. The goal would chase Mackenzie Blackwood from the crease, and the Rangers were sitting pretty early in the third period.
Brendan Smith (2) - Phil Di Giuseppe (6) & Kevin Rooney (3) - 15:25
With under five minutes remaining in the game, the Rangers were handed their second power play of the evening. David Quinn rewarded his bottom-six players for their effort and sent them out late in the game with the man-advantage. It wound up paying off as Brendan Smith located a loose puck in the high slot, and fired it into the empty net. Aaron Dell, who had replaced Blackwood several minutes prior, never stood a chance after losing sight of the puck.
Alexis Lafrenière (4) - Mika Zibanejad (6) - 18:27
Still fresh off of the freak Igor Shesterkin injury, Alexis Lafrenière added some happy thoughts as he sniped home his fourth of the season. Mika Zibanejad picked up the primary assist after forcing a turnover at the blue line, and softly tapping a pass over to Lafrenière in transition. The 19-year old capped off the play with an unreal shot from inside the left faceoff circle, and put the puck under the crossbar.
If you watched just the opening period of this game, you would have thought the Rangers were in for a long night. However, despite the slow start, they found a way to gain momentum and completely turned the ship around. Chris Kreider continued his dominance with his second hat trick of the season, and Alexis Lafrenière extended his point streak with a multi-point outing. Now, we await word on Igor Shesterkin, who went down in a heap and needed to be helped off late in the third period.
With everything that has gone wrong for the Rangers thus far, the last thing they need right now is a long-term injury to their starting goaltender. Following tonight’s thrilling victory over New Jersey Devils, they will have tomorrow off before returning to action on Saturday afternoon for a rematch.