Recap: Kids Beat Cats, 4-3

The third lines fueled yet another comeback victory.

First Period:

For the second consecutive game, the Rangers took the first period off. Aleksander Barkov opened the scoring on a goal that was unsuccessfully challenged. Barkov gained the offensive zone and left the puck for Gustav Forsling, who fired the puck from the point. Seemingly every player on the Panthers followed up the shot before Barkov jammed it in.

Florida’s second goal came courtesy of Ryan Lomberg. With a screen in front, he fired speculative shot that deflected off Ben Harpur and found twine. Jaro, I just wrote an article defending you. I know there was a deflection, but you gotta make those saves, buddy.

Second Period:

But oh how the turns did table, as the Rangers, led by the Kids Line, dominated the second and reset the score.

Kaapo Kakko put the Rangers on the board. After a blue line keep-in by Harpur, Filip Chytil drove up the middle before going wide to Alexis Lafrenière. Radko Gudas got some wood on the pass, but not enough, allowing Laf complete the give and go. Sergei Bobrovsky made the initial save on Chytil, but Kakko cleaned up the rebound for this 14th goal.

Late in the second, Lafrenière tied the game with his 15th goal of the season. The Rangers had numbers entering the zone, and the Panthers lost track of Lafrenière. Jacob Trouba found him with a cross-ice pass, and the winger deked around Sergei Bobrovsky for the game tying goal.

Third Period:

Once again, the Rangers took their first lead in the third period. After Brandon Montour gave the puck away to Patrick Kane, Kane attempted to pass the puck to Trocheck. Instead, it took a lucky bounce off Carter Verhaeghe and past Bobrovsky to give the Rangers a 3-2 lead.

The Kids struck again to put the Rangers up two. Kaapo Kakko banked the puck up ice, and Aaron Ekblad failed to corral it, leaving him exposed. Chytil turned on the jets and blew past him to score his 21st goal of the season. Each member of the third line scored a goal. How fun!

The Cats drew back within one shortly after on Barkov’s second of the game. The Panthers won an offensive zone draw, and Ben Harpur let Sam Reinhart carry the puck freely behind the Rangers net. Reinhart centered the puck to Barkov, who was largely uncontested in front. Just awful stuff from Harpur there, though Schneider and Goodrow aren’t exactly blameless either.

The Rangers held on from there, securing a 4-3 victory.

. . .

The Rangers just keep rolling. The first period was rough yet again, but they recovered from there. They now have 21 comeback wins this season, so you can’t say they’re not resilient. A goal and an assist from each of Chytil, Kakko, and Laf is a beautiful thing. When that line is on, it’s really on. On the other hand, third defensive pair got less than 12 minutes of ice-time and they were really rough. Obviously Lindgren’s absence is still being felt, but at this point, it’s all about being healthy for the playoffs. Either way, the Rangers are another two points to clinching their clinchables.

They’ll look to grab another two against the lowly Blue Jackets on Tuesday.