Recap: Fox Ends Drought, Rangers Win 2-1

The Hurricanes will have to wait to officially clinch their playoff berth.

The Rangers took on the Canes for the second time in a row, this time without Ryan Lindgren, who tweaked the upper-body injury for which he missed four weeks. Even so, the Rangers managed to eke out a victory against the Metro’s best team.

First Period:

It took the Rangers more than ten minutes to register their first shot on goal, and even then came on a five-on-three. At first no one wanted to shoot, and Artemiy Panarin looked like he was still trying to force feed Patrick Kane. The unit eventually started shooting, but only put two pucks on Frederick Anderson. Panarin and Mika Zibanejad both missed the net on the best looks. No bueno.

Late in the period, Carolina took the lead on a Sebastian Aho goal. Adam Fox, Jacob Trouba, and Zibanejad seemed to suffer a communication breakdown while defending a Canes rush. Aho took the blueline uncontested and had all day to shoot.

For the entire first period, the Rangers did not muster even a single shot attempt at even strength. In 14:40 of five-on-five play, they had no shots on goal, no missed shots, no shots blocked. Literally. Zero. Attempts. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that.

Second Period:

The Rangers were better in the second, though that might be damning with faint praise. You know who deserves full praise? Igor.

Halfway through they managed to tie the game. Vladimir Tarasenko carried the puck into the zone and absorbed a hit to leave it for Zibanejad. He corralled the puck and fired a pass cross-ice to Panarin, who blasted home a one-timer. The assist was number 300 for Tarasenko’s career.

Third Period:

The Rangers saved their best hockey for the final frame. They took their first lead of the game when Adam Fox scored his first goal in 24 games. He and Panarin linked up for a half-ice give and go that ended with a perfectly placed wrister.

The Rangers largely owned the puck from that point on, spending a significant amount of time in the offensive zone while preventing the counterattacks to which they’ve been so susceptible. They held on for a 2-1 victory.

. . .

The Rangers got better as the game went on, they made the most of their chances, and Igor continued his strong play. The Hurricanes defense seemed insurmountable after the first period, but by the third the Rangers were in control. Fox obviously has still played well and piled on assists prior to breaking his goal drought, but it was nice to see him get on the board regardless. With the regulation win, the Rangers only need eight more points to clinch the playoffs, and nine more to clinch third in the division.

They’ll continue their trip down the Atlantic coast when they take on the Panthers in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday.