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Recap: Kids, Miller Lift Rangers Over Canucks, 4-3

The kids are alright.

NHL: Calgary Flames at New York Rangers Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers game against the Flames was a contender for game of the year. Physical, spirited, exciting—it was everything Wednesday night’s game against the Vancouver Canucks was not. The Rangers notched a 4-3 win, but it wasn’t pretty.

That said, the Rangers got off to a rollicking start, tilting the ice in their favor while jumping out to a 2-0 lead. Chris Kreider struck first, finishing a lovely, no-look pass from Vincent Trocheck. It was his twenty first of the season. It was also goal number 250 for his career, tying him with some guy named Mark Messier for career goals as Ranger.

I probably don’t need to tell you who scored next, because all he does is score. Yes, it’s another meeting of the Filip Chytil Appreciation Club. Kaapo Kakko made a strong play on the low boards and moved the puck to Chytil, who confidently took it to his backhand and pitched it past Spencer Martin. Chytil’s goal streak is up to five games, and Kakko has six assists in his last six.

Unfortunately, the Rangers seemed to ease up after going up two, and Vancouver made them pay. Quinn Hughes carried the puck unmolested through neutral ice. He was untouched by Ben Harpur and Braden Schneider has he gained the blue line, allowing him to find a streaking Conor Garland to get the Canucks on the boards. You just can’t give Hughes that kind of room.

Vancouver had some jump to their step to start the second, but the Rangers scored first. Jacob Trouba took a point shot that deflected off of two Canucks before trickling into the crease, where Alexis Lafrenière tapped the puck as it was on its way past the goal line. He’s now got goals in back-to-back games and has only been held off the scoresheet once in his last six. I haven’t even mentioned K’Andre Miller, but he notched the secondary assist on all three goals, giving him his first three-point game of his career.

The Canucks kept pace, however, when J.T. Miller set up Vasily Podkolzin for a wrister that deflected off Artemi Panarin and past Shesterkin to close the gap to 3-2. It was Podkolzin’s first goal of the year in 18 games played. Tough year for the kid, but then I guess that’s true for everyone in the Canucks organization. Miller’s assist was his 500th career point, so congrats to him, I guess.

The first 15 minutes of the third were slow to put it charitably, or boring to put it bluntly. It felt like a Friday afternoon at the office until a couple late goals injected momentary excitement. Mika Zibanejad redirected another shot from Trouba for goal number 25 on the season to give the Rangers a 4-2 lead that lasted for all of 11 seconds. Following the center-ice face-off, Vancouver threw the puck in, and everyone assumed icing would be called. Everyone except for Elias Pettersson, who beat Trouba back and stuffed the puck past Shesterkin. The Rangers would hold on from that point, securing a 4-3 victory.

So, again, not pretty, but it’s a win. The Kid Line continues to be the team’s best combination 5-on-5, Miller achieved another milestone (even if the assists were secondary), and the Rangers even managed to actually wear celebratory, pre-game practice jerseys without creating an embarrassing controversy!

The Rangers, who have now won three in a row, will wrap up their three game homestand against Seattle Kraken on Friday.