Rangers at Kraken: Shesterkin, Rangers Escape Seattle With 3-1 Win

The Rangers were badly outplayed for most of the night, but came away with a victory thanks to more brilliance from Igor Shesterkin.

The New York Rangers met the Seattle Kraken for the first time on Sunday night, ultimately defeating the NHL’s newest team by a final score of 3-1.

On Halloween night, the Rangers turned in a frighteningly poor overall performance, as the Kraken out-shot the Blueshirts by a whopping 32-18 margin. The Rangers managed only 10 shots on goal over the final two periods, but goaltender Igor Shesterkin once again bailed them out in turning aside all but one Seattle shot. Shesterkin has been elite to start the season for the Rangers, but they cannot continue to rely so heavily on him if they want to sustain success the rest of the way.

After the Kraken absolutely dominated the second period, the Rangers somehow got to the second intermission with the score tied, 1-1. Adam Fox ultimately scored the game-winning goal a little over halfway through the final frame, as Shesterkin and the Rangers then held off the Kraken, with Barclay Goodrow adding an empty-net tally to ice the victory.

1st Period

Chris Kreider (7) - Barclay Goodrow (1) - 3:38

The first period was not the dumpster fire that the second period would evolve into, especially during the opening few minutes, which saw the Rangers generate some chances. They finished on one, as Barclay Goodrow made a long pass through the neutral zone that Chris Kreider was able to corral. Kreider then broke into the right side offensive zone on a two-on-one with Mika Zibanejad, and fired a quick shot that hit the top portion of the inside of the net before quickly bouncing out, giving the Rangers an early 1-0 lead.

The Rangers had a brief scare in the first period, as Fox missed a few shifts with an apparent injury, but he returned later in the frame, allowing fans to exhale. Nevertheless, the Kraken began to control more of the play in the latter half of the period — a trend that would intensify for the duration of the following frame.

Shots on goal: Rangers 8, Kraken 9

2nd Period

Jordan Eberle (2) - Jaden Schwartz (4) and Adam Larsson (3) - 13:46

The second period was eerily reminiscent of the Rangers’ putrid second period in Toronto back on Oct. 18. The Leafs out-shot the Rangers 17-2 in that period, but scored only once to tie the score. Tonight, the Kraken out-shot the Rangers 13-2 in the second period, but also managed only one goal to tie the score, as Shesterkin made several highlight-reel saves, including several during a dizzying sequence when he lost his stick.

Seattle finally broke through with just over six minutes left in the period. Jaden Schwartz eventually gained control of the puck at the right boards in the offensive zone after Adam Larsson’s long clear. He was then able to get the puck to Jordan Eberle, who fired a spinning backhand shot from the right circle that beat Shesterkin high, through a screen from defenseman Jacob Trouba. It was a pretty goal and excellent shot from Eberle, which is the kind of play it took to beat Shesterkin.

The teams also traded some power-play chances, with the Rangers failing to generate much at all.

Shots on goal: Rangers 2, Kraken 13

3rd Period

Adam Fox (2) - Artemiy Panarin (7) - 12:10

The Rangers’ play improved slightly in the third period, but the Kraken still seemed to be getting the better of the chances. New York also survived its second too-many-men penalty of the game early in the period. Then the team’s star power came through, with Fox connecting with Artemiy Panarin on a long zone-entry pass, before Panarin pulled up, waited, and eventually got the puck back to Fox in the middle. Fox cut towards the high slot before wristing a shot past Seattle goalie Philipp Grubauer to put the Rangers ahead for good.

Barcly Goodrow (3) - Mika Zibanejad (6) - 18:21

With the Kraken having pulled Grubauer in the final couple of minutes, the Rangers were able to seal the win when Goodrow and Zibanejad teamed up to take the puck away from Eberle and force it out of the zone. With Seattle pressing in the Rangers’ zone, Goodrow was freed up for a clean breakaway towards the empty net, which he converted.

Shots on goal: Rangers 8, Kraken 10

It was another ugly win for the Rangers. The positives are that they are finding ways to win while not playing their best, and that Shesterkin and Fox continue to be stars. The hope is that they can settle into head coach Gerard Gallant’s system and limit games like this, where they play poorly and need Shesterkin to steal the victory. The negative, of course, is that if the Rangers do not improve, they will eventually start dropping games like this.

For now, it’s another win, and the Rangers are 6-2-1. Their next game will be up in Vancouver on Tuesday night, as they take on the Canucks at 10:00 PM EDT.