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Rangers Tame the Wild in 7-3 Victory

Tampa Bay Lightning v New York Rangers Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The New York Rangers are starting off their season with a bang. Capturing another win, it seems everyone and their mother got a point for the Blueshirts tonight. It was a chippy game that saw both teams going at in between whistles all night. Some scrums featured a familiar face, Mats Zuccarello of the Minnesota Wild, who often came to the defense of his teammates. With both teams embracing physical play, it ended up becoming a field day for the referees who called a total of fifteen minor penalties throughout tonight’s game.

It wasn’t a lack of effort that saw the Wild fall tonight, they outshot the Rangers in the first and second periods, but Igor Shesterkin was once again stellar and shut down the Wild’s potent offense. Now let’s get to the goal recap,

1st Period

Chris Kreider (1) - Mika Zibanejad (1) & Artemiy Panarin (2) - 4:06 - PPG

On the first power play of the game, Zibanejad carried the puck into the offensive zone. He dropped the puck back to Fox at the point who slid the puck over to Panarin who wasted no time in starting the tic-tac-toe play to Zibanejad at the bottom of the circle who then immediately connected with Kreider who slammed the puck into a wide-open net.

Adam Fox (1) - Alexis Lafrenière (1) & Artemiy Panarin (3) - 16:03

Artemiy Panarin went to work in the offensive zone. Carrying the puck and stick handling behind the Minnesota net. He evaded a few defenders and drew coverage to himself. He found Lafrenière at the side of the net who made a perfect pass to Adam Fox as he crashed the net. Fleury stood no chance.

Artemiy Panarin (1) - Alexis Lafrenière (2) & Vincent Trocheck (1) - 19:47

As the seconds wound down in the first period, the Rangers kept cycling the puck in the offensive zone. Trocheck backhanded the puck behind the net and Lafrenière scooped it up. He saw Panarin in the slot and hit him with a deftly made pass. Panarin cut further into the center stick handled for a moment and wristed a shot past Fleury.

2nd Period

Mats Zuccarello (1) - Kirill Kaprizov (1) & Marcus Foligno (1) - 7:45 PPG

First things first, of course it was a former Ranger who scored tonight. Zuccarello has made the Rangers pay the price several times now since leaving the team behind. With Minnesota on the power play, they controlled the puck. Foligno won a puck battle behind the net and was able to get the puck over to Kaprizov on the side of the net. Minnesota’s young superstar pivoted with the puck and put it right in Zuccarello’s wheel house who sent a rocket perfectly over Shesterkin’s blocker.

Filip Chytil (1) - Adam Fox (1) & Barclay Goodrow (1) 16:54

This play started with Fleury being unable to handle the dumped-in puck. Goodrow collected the puck and passed it back to Adam Fox on the point. Fox sent it towards the net and Chytil battled in front to take care of the rebound for his first of the year.

3rd Period

Vincent Trocheck (1) - Artemiy Panarin (4) - 4:18

The Rangers have capitalized on many of their steals and forced turnovers tonight and this one was no different. After a blocked shot, Minnesota tries to break the puck out of their zone only to have their pocket picked by Panarin. He saw Trocheck all alone just below the faceoff dot and took a nasty hit to get him the puck. Trocheck placed a perfect shot over a sprawling Fleury for his first goal as a New York Ranger.

Matt Boldy (1) - Jacob Middleton (1) - 5:16

Less than a minute after Trocheck’s first goal Minnesota kept themselves in the game. Adam Fox was pressured in the slot and turned the puck over, Boldy picked it up right in front of the net and after a small scramble was able to tuck the puck in past Shesterkin after dragging the puck niftily through his legs.

Kaapo Kakko (1) - Unassisted 5:46

Not to be outdone, just 30 seconds later as the Minnesota announcer was voicing Boldy’s previous goal, the Rangers got to work on their sixth of the night. Zibanejad checked the Wild defender off the puck and it was then gathered by Kakko. Kaapo Kakko channeled his IIHF World Championship form and carried the puck around the entirety of the zone losing the Minnesota defender as he skated. He cut in towards the net and slid the puck under a helpless Fleury for his first of the season. Perhaps the real Kaapo Kakko has arrived.

Matt Boldy (2) - Matt Dumba (1) - 6:20

Capping off an eventful two minutes Boldy and the Wild were able to get right back onto the scoreboard. Dumba almost had a breakaway but was caught by Jones and Schneider, he dropped the puck back to Boldy who waited patiently for Shesterkin to make the first move. He went around the net and tucked the puck in as he was pivoting behind the net.

Chris Kreider (2) - K’Andre Miller (2) & Mika Zibanejad (2) - 14:07

Skating 4 on 4 the Rangers won an offensive zone faceoff. Zibanejad got the puck back to Miller in a clean win, and Miller stepped in and deked right around Kaprizov to have a free shooting lane toward the net. He launched a wrist shot that Kreider got a piece of that went past an unaware Marc Andre Fleury.

There was a lot of concern that the game against the Lightning was a fluke. While the Wild had streaks of strong play throughout the night the Rangers showed up and grabbed firmly onto the win. While many of us were distraught with the kid line breaking up, tonight was proof that the kids are alright as they each found their way onto the score sheet with some stellar play. The Rangers face off against the Winnipeg Jets tomorrow night.