Jaroslav Halak came into Saturday night on a six-game personal win streak, while the Rangers as a team had won four in a row. Unfortunately, Vitali Kravtsov was scratched for Jake Leschyshyn. Fortunately, those winning streaks would continue despite being outplayed for most of the game.
Both offenses came flying out of the gates, but Halak and Frederick Anderson were equal to the tests, at least for the first 15 minutes. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but Mika Zibanejad scored a powerplay goal. Artemiy Panarin took a speculative shot that Chris Kreider got his stick on. The puck trickled over to Mika, and he roofed it for his sixteenth powerplay goal of the season. Kreider and Zibanejad have linked up for that type of goal for three games in a row, even if this one wasn’t as clean. Kreider parks in front, he and slips a cross-crease pass to Zibanejad for shot in close.
ANOTHER MAGICAL MONTH OF MIKA CONTINUES pic.twitter.com/SOrUvrqayx— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) February 12, 2023
The second period was one to forget for the Rangers. The Canes consistently hemmed them in their own zone with neutral zone play so strong that the Rangers might as well have been playing with the two-line pass rule.
Carolina tied the game at around the halfway mark. After three Rangers failed to make a strong play defensive play in the slot, Teuvo Teravainen tossed a puck from the right circle toward the net. He got a lucky bounce, as the puck deflected off the skate of K’Andre Miller and past Halak.
Turbo was right on time pic.twitter.com/HVNtRhpGaV— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) February 12, 2023
Minutes later, the Carolina grabbed their first lead of the game. Jesperi Kotkaniemi took a shot that Halak handled, but the rebound ate up Barclay Goodrow. Kotkaniemi followed up to put the Canes up 2-1.
Yes Jesperi!! pic.twitter.com/fNR4RZpoSs— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) February 12, 2023
The Rangers were held shotless for 12 minutes, leading Gallant’s Line Blender finger to get itchy. It seemed to work, as Artemi Panarin scored the game-tying goal, assisted by his new, old linemates, Vincent Trocheck and Jimmy Vesey. The tally was Panarin’s two-hundredth career goal.
2⃣0⃣0⃣ GOALS FOR OUR FAVORITE LOAF. pic.twitter.com/DguAOBnPaK— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) February 12, 2023
The Rangers were lucky to get out of the second period tied, and in the third, Panarin scored again to put the Rangers back on top. Trocheck caused a turnover below the goal line and set up Braden Schneider with a good shot. Anderson made the save, but kicked the rebound to Panarin, who buried it, giving him his first two-goal game of the season.
WHEN THE BREAD GETS HOT pic.twitter.com/IkX3CG6nfA— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) February 12, 2023
The middle chunk of the period was pretty rough, with both teams struggling to put shots on net in between lots of starts and stops. In the final five, Sebastian Aho coughed up the puck to Panarin, who found himself on a breakaway. A quick release gave him the hat trick. Kaapo Kakko notched a quick empty-netter, and moments later Panarin fired home is fourth goal of the game. Wild!
Artemi Panarin completes the hat trick pic.twitter.com/dvJWhYF6CM— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) February 12, 2023
Make it a four-goal game for Panarin. Credit to Vesey for that pass pic.twitter.com/KXQQmjAaPm— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) February 12, 2023
Overall, it wasn’t a great performance for the Rangers, but getting four goals and an assist from Panarin will make up for a lot. It’s funny that he went off after being separated from his buddy Vladimir Tarasenko. Halak also played well again, and he’s quietly been much better after a rough start to the season. I know it’s futile to keep banging on about this, especially after the new Panarin line single-handedly won this game, but I do wish Kravtsov would have gotten more than 10:42 of ice-time before heading back to the press box.
The Rangers will head out to Vancouver and will look to continue their winning ways on Wednesday.