Recap: Rangers Shutout St. Louis 4-0

Recap: Rangers Shutout St. Louis 4-0
Mar 9, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers right wing Kaapo Kakko (24) celebrates with goalie Igor Shesterkin (31) after a 4-0 win against the St. Louis Blues at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Between the trade deadline and the Rangers having four days off, it has certainly been a long week. With two fresh faces in the lineup, the Rangers had a great chance to shake off the little slump they found themselves in after dropping a pair of games to the Maple Leafs and Panthers earlier in the week. Not only did they get back on track, they executed a great team effort to blank the Blues and kickstart the post-deadline portion of the season with a big win.

1st Period:

The Rangers got off to a good mix of shaking off the dust while still appearing to be the better team against a team much further than them in the standings. It only took two minutes for the Rangers to get the advantage as Zach Bolduc was sent off for slashing Erik Gustafsson. The Rangers wouldn’t get much done on their first power play attempt but lucky for them, they’d get another chance just 36 seconds after the first one ended.

This time it was Kevin Hayes getting called for slashing Matt Rempe who did a good job of protecting the puck to draw the penalty. On a much better showing, Vincent Trocheck redirected a shot from Artemiy Panarin that went off a St. Louis defenders stick and past Jordan Binnington to give the Rangers an early 1-0 lead.

Between the two power plays and the Rangers getting on the board first, they had a pretty good grasp on things but as the period went on, the Blues became more active. After a couple of particularly strong shifts from the Blues, Igor Shesterkin came up with some key saves to help the Rangers hold onto their lead which they would end up extending on in the final minute of the period.

A quick clearing pass from Barclay Goodrow sent Jimmy Vesey on a breakaway with Rempe trailing not far behind. Vesey made the right decision and let a quick shot go that trickled through Binnington to make it a 2-0 game heading into the first intermission.

Despite the Blues out-shooting the Rangers 14-11, the Rangers played a good opening period where they had the edge in scoring chances and face-offs. With the two goal lead, it felt as though they were just a goal or two from really running away with things.

2nd Period:

The Rangers kept the pace going through the early parts of the second period and continued to get help from their net-minder who was playing with some visible confidence. On more than one occasion throughout the night, Shesterkin did not hesitate to come out and play the puck, setting up some scoring chances and taking away potential opportunists for the Blues.

With just about twelve and a half minutes to go in the second, Matt Rempe made a great play in the Rangers end to set up a scoring chance for the fourth line which ended with him putting the puck in the back of the net. Or so we thought. After being declared a good goal, the league issued a quick review as it was hard to tell for certain if it crossed the line. Upon review, they indicated that the puck did not completely cross the line which led to a very unhappy crowd at the World’s Most Famous.

This could have been a momentum shifter for the Blues. Had they been able to find a way to crack Igor and the Rangers, there could have been a major turnaround but thankfully, the Rangers stayed the course. Not long after the no-goal, Igor came up with an old-school highlight reel type of save where he was aggressive on the puck, executing a successful poke check that left him flailing afterwords to hold down the fort.

With seven minutes to go in the second, the Rangers were called for their first penalty of the night as Erik Gustafsson caught Brayden Schenn up high with the stick. It wouldn’t end up being a full power play chance for St. Louis as Alex Wennberg drew a hooking penalty while coming down on a potential breakaway shorthanded. This gave the Rangers the edge through the remainder of the second where they would end up out-shooting St. Louis 12-6 in the second.

3rd Period:

To the third we go and just as play started to settle, the Rangers drew another penalty against St. Louis. This time, it was Alexis Lafrenière getting taken down on the partial breakaway but not enough for a penalty shot to be awarded. Another strong power play for the Rangers ended with Chris Kreider chipping a back hander over the pad of Binnington after the shot from Panarin went wide and banked off the boards. Kreider’s 32nd of the season gave the Rangers a 3-0 lead.

Soon after, St. Louis was awarded a bit of a pity penalty as Zac Jones was called for tripping Jake Neighbours. The Blues still wouldn’t see a full power play opportunity as Pavel Buchnevich was called for tripping just a minute or so after Jones was sent off for a similar infraction. As the Rangers got their man back and returned to the power play, Kaapo Kakko would put home a rebound off a shot from Gustafsson on a play that started with a pass from Alex Wennberg. That would become his first point as a New York Ranger.

For what it’s worth, both Wennberg and Jack Roslovic had great first impressions in a Rangers uniform. That third line of Cuylle – Wennberg – Kakko has potential to be a real solid third line that can really control the puck and drive play. Roslovic on the other hand, kept up with Kreider and Zibanejad very well and showed indications of being able to fit in quite nicely in that position.

The Rangers held onto their 4-0 lead to ride out the period and pick up a massive team win. From top to bottom, everyone had a solid showing and the trade deadline reinforcements showed a bright light of what’s to come as the team navigates the final stretch of regular season & gets ready for the post season. On top of that, a respectable 26 save shutout for Shesterkin was the exact performance you wanted to see from Shesterkin after a rough finish to Monday night’s outing.

The Rangers are right back at it at the Garden on Monday as they kick off an incredibly busy week of five games in seven days.