It’s been nearly five years since we’ve had a moment like this, but the New York Rangers are officially PLAYOFF BOUND after decimating the Ottawa Senators 5-1 on home ice. Chris Kreider added another pair of goals to his total, and moved within a single goal of reached the 50 mark. The Rangers controlled a majority, if not all of the play, throughout the game this evening and gave Ottawa problems at both ends of the ice. Igor Shesterkin had his moments, but had a relatively light workload tonight with the Senators not being able to generate much of anything offensively.
Austin Watson (7) - Mark Kastelic (2) & Parker Kelly (3) - 2:22
Despite the Rangers controlling play for the first couple of shifts, one chance by the Ottawa Senators was enough to give them the early lead. A hardworking shift down below the goal line by the Senators gave the Rangers some trouble, and Austin Watson tapped home his seventh of the season. Mark Kastelic made a great centering pass while holding off a check from Braden Schneider, and put the puck right on the tape of Austin Watson.
Artemiy Panarin (21) - Unassisted - 12:32
The Rangers were a little caught off guard by the early goal against, but from that point on they gave Ottawa absolute fits in the offensive zone. About ten minutes later, the Rangers were able to locate the game tying goal with Artemiy Panarin’s 21st of the season. New York wound up losing the initial faceoff, but Panarin stuck with the play and was able to force an immediate turnover. Panarin one-timed a shot from just inside the hashmarks and beat Anton Forsberg over the right leg pad to tie up the game at 1-1.
Andrew Copp (17) - Artemiy Panarin (66) & K’Andre Miller (11) - 6:56
After a strong end to the first period, the Rangers completely took over this game during the middle frame and left the Senators looking stunned. Andrew Copp started off the onslaught with his 17th of the season, and buried an absolute snipe as he opened up for a shot in the right faceoff circle. Artemiy Panarin created the entire sequence with an unreal elevated cross-ice pass from the far corner, and put the puck right on Copp’s tape to give them the lead.
Chris Kreider (48) - Ryan Lindgren (10) & Mika Zibanejad (47) - 9:05
A little over two minutes later, the Rangers would double up their lead with yet another quick counter attack through the neutral zone. Mika Zibanejad started the play off with a great chip pass through the middle of the ice to create space for Ryan Lindgren. The Rangers entered the zone with a 3-on-2 man advantage, before Lindgren deferred to Chris Kreider streaking down the left wing. Kreider stepped into an immediate shot and snapped the puck under the crossbar for his 48th of the season.
Ryan Strome (17) - Artemiy Panarin (67) & Ryan Lindgren (11) - 17:27
In nearly identical fashion to the previous goal, the Rangers completely burned the Senators through the neutral zone yet again, and jumped out to a 4-1 lead. Adam Fox made an unreal no-look reverse pass to the center of the ice, and started the rush after a far side pass from Ryan Lindgren. Artemiy Panarin muscled the puck through the neutral zone, burned Artem Zub to the outside, and put the puck into the middle of the ice. Ryan Strome was in perfect position with his stick on the ice and tapped home the feed to give the Rangers a commanding three-goal lead.
Chris Kreider (49) - Frank Vatrano (12) & Justin Braun (12) - 17:31
The Rangers had settled into conserving their lead throughout the third period, but Chris Kreider wasn’t done adding to his insane goal totals. With just under three minutes remaining in the game, Frank Vatrano found Chris Kreider wide open along the right side as they entered the offensive zone. Kreider was able to collect the crisp pass, moved the puck to his forehand, and absolutely sniped a shot over the shoulder of Anton Forsberg.
This was probably the most dominating effort we’ve seen from the Rangers this season, and while it was Ottawa, they handled their business. Their playoff spot is officially locked up with nine games to go, and now they have a shot at first place on Tuesday night. The Carolina Hurricanes will be in town, and the Garden should be rocking as the Rangers close out their remaining schedule.