- There’s not a single complaint one can have about the offensive output so far this season — especially last night. The big guns got it done (Zibanejad went 2-2, Panarin was 1-3, Trocheck finished with 1-1), the kids got it done (Kakko and Lafreniere both had goals in 15 minutes of ice time), and the defense did their thing too (Adam Fox led the way with three apples).
- First of all: Panarin looks like a different human entirely. We talked last year about how he looked “off” all season despite still putting up 96 points in 75 games, but this is just different. He has the most points through the first four games in New York Rangers’ history (10), and legitimately is the most dangerous player on the ice every time he’s out there. His look-off, delay the pass, feed to Zibanejad for his second goal of the night was a thing of beauty. So was his snipe of a goal.
- It might be a byproduct of how well Panarin is playing, but Zibanejad also looks like a damn monster again and then some. He’s getting some help in his power play office with the way the power play is creating space, but he’s finishing those opportunities more often than not, and is impacting the game all over the ice.
- Between those two — and Fox — the power play is a nightmare for the opposing teams. I don’t remember any time in my adult life the Rangers’ man advantage ever looking anything even close to this. It’s simply a formality they will score at times.
- Oh! And Trocheck. Have I mentioned yet how good of a fit he is and how much I love him? No. OK I’ll keep saying it.
- Speaking of different, the kids. Kakko literally might have played his best game as an NHLer last night, and Lafreniere wasn’t far behind. The two of them have gotten consistent ice time, with actual top-six players, and are showing what they can do with such opportunities. Kakko is using his body well, he’s taking shots when he has them, and he’s crashing the net. Exactly what you saw from him in his draft year.
We as a people are not ready for Kakko and Lafreniere to break out at the same time— Joe Fortunato (@JoeFortunatoBSB) October 18, 2022
- Tell you what, that wasn’t the best game Igor Shesterkin has ever played, but when the Rangers needed him he came up huge. That save at the end of the second to keep the score 4-2 before Panarin’s last-minute snipe was one of the best saves you will see all year.
- Zac Jones had his best game as an NHLer, coming in after being a healthy scratch for Libor Hajek in the loss to Winnipeg. I thought Jones was fantastic, and apparently so did Gallant because Jones saw over 18 minutes of ice time.
- I am not shocked Frank Vatrano scored. I am very very shocked Ryan Strome did not.