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Rangers vs. Wild: Going crazy in Minnesota

New York Rangers v Minnesota Wild Photo by David Berding/Getty Images
  • It’s hard to overstate just how good of a two opening games these have been for the New York Rangers, really from soup to nuts. The team absolutely dominated Tampa Bay on Tuesday, and walked into Minnesota and did the exact same thing. Just an incredible performance on both nights.
  • It came in different ways too. Chris Kreider got off the “skid” and finished those chances he missed on Tuesday to the tune of two goals. Alexis Lafreniere had two ridiculous assists and looked like the guy he was drafted to be all night. Kaapo Kakko looked like the Kakko who dominated Liiga as a teenager — and my god was his goal something special. Filip Chytil joined the party and scored a big goal, and K’Andre Miller continued to be one of the best defenseman on the ice for the Rangers. The kids just got it done.
  • I’ll add a snarky “amazing what happens when you actually ... you know ... give top picks top-line minutes an opportunities.
  • Kakko, it should be noted, saw over three minutes of power play time, so that was good to see. Lafreniere had over two.
  • Vincent Trocheck continued his ascent, scoring a goal and adding an assist. Trocheck is one of those guys that you notice all night even if he’s not scoring. He’s a relentless puck chaser, can be a triggerman when needed, and fluidly moves to the softer areas of the ice. I’ve loved the way he’s fit with Artemi Panarin (I mean, who wouldn’t fit well with him?) but Lafreniere on that line seems to work wonders for the three of them. Part of that is likely Trocheck and Lafreniere are more than just volume shooters and can both feed or shoot the puck depending on the situation. Some of it is they’re just better hockey players than what the Rangers were running with at the time last year (not a shot at Ryan Strome, I promise). Either way, it’s working and they need to stay together.
  • Panarin, by the way, had another one of those signature monster performances that just make you shake your head. A goal and three apples for a four-point night.
  • Adam Fox is, and continues to be, the truth.
  • Mika Zibanejad, not to be forgotten, followed up his two goals on opening night with two assists Thursday — including the jaw-dropping give-and-go feed for the Kreider goal to kick off the scoring. He also looks on this year.