The New York Rangers picked up two crucial points in the standings tonight as they shutout the New Jersey Devils by a final score of 3-0. New York held a 1-0 lead for a majority and finally extended it to two goals early in the third period. Igor Shesterkin played a solid game once again in the crease and picked up his first career NHL shutout with 27-saves on the night.
Mika Zibanejad (15) - Pavel Buchnevich (21) & Adam Fox (33) - 7:02
The Rangers dominated the opening minutes of this game, and after missing on several occasions, they finally buried on a chance by Mika Zibanejad. New York was able to catch the Devils napping in the neutral zone, and a tap pass from Vitali Kravtsov shot Zibanejad out of a cannon. Mika was able to break in all alone on a partial breakaway after blowing by the defensemen, and snapped a shot under the crossbar. MacKenzie Blackwood appeared stunned with how quick the scoring chances came about, and Zibanejad put the Rangers up 1-0 early.
Artemiy Panarin (13) - Filip Chytil (9) & Adam Fox (34) - 7:50
The Rangers were playing well throughout the game thus far, but they just couldn’t find a way to add a much needed insurance marker. That’s where Artemiy Panarin entered the picture and gave New York just what they needed at the 7:50 mark of the second period. Adam Fox and Filip Chytil started the play with a beautiful give-and-go at the blue line, which led to Chytil all alone in the right corner.
Rather than shooting, Chytil elected to pass and fed a ridiculous pass through three defenders in the middle of the ice. Artemiy Panarin was ready and waiting in the left faceoff circle for the pass, and absolutely wired a one-timer past MacKenzie Blackwood.
Pavel Buchnevich (16) - Unassisted ENG - 19:32
With under two minutes remaining in regulation time, the Devils opted to pull their goaltender as they looked to jump back into the game. However, the Rangers did a great job of clogging up the passing lanes and Pavel Buchnevich created a turnover at the far blue line. He was able to quickly turn around and fire the puck into the empty net to ice the game for the Rangers. The goal also marked the 20,000 goal in franchise history.
The Rangers have three more games coming up against the depleted Devils, and they’re slowing creeping up the standings towards a playoff spot. New York got some help tonight thanks to the Washington Capitals, and they are now just three points behind the Boston Bruins for the final playoff spot.
Following a crucial win at The Rock, the Rangers will have a scheduled off day tomorrow before doing it all over on Thursday night back at Madison Square Garden.