Recap: Rangers Rake Away Leafs in 3-1 Victory

Tonight the New York Rangers took on the Toronto Maple Leafs at Madison Square Garden. There were a few slight adjustments to the lineup, for starters, Kravtsov finally got a chance to play while Blais was scratched and the recently called-up behemoth of a defenseman Ben Harpur played instead of Libor Hajek.

Recently we’ve seen the Blueshirts go on a small tear, however, in a few of those wins they relied too heavily on an unsustainable model that depends on Igor playing exceptionally. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? But tonight we witnessed a different team as they went on to record their fifth win in a row against a powerhouse Maple Leafs team.

1st Period

Filip Chytil (7)- Kaapo Kakko (5) & Alexis Lafrenière (9)- PPG 3:52

A couple of things to mention, first can we get a hell yeah seeing the PP2 get a longer shift and seeing some success, and second ladies and gentlemen the real Filip Chytil has finally arrived. Since missing two games at the beginning of December, Chytil has 3 goals and 1 assist in his last four games. We’re all praying he can keep up this level of play and production. Now to the goal, the Rangers were controlling the puck during the power play and cycling as they maintained possession. Chytil skated in from the blue line and hit Lafrenière on the side of the net with a pass, Lafrenière shuffled the puck to his backhand and passed it to Kakko right in the high slot. Kakko paused ever so briefly as he had perhaps the Rangers best chance of the game so far, but moved the puck to a wide-open Chytil who wasted no time scoring the game’s first goal.

Michael Bunting (7)- David Kampf (8) & Conor Timmins (5)- 14:06

The Maple Leafs scored an opportunistic goal later in the first to tie the game which had Gallant furious on the bench. In the corner behind Igor’s net, Michael Bunting grabbed ahold of Trouba’s stick and tossed it away. Directly after for some bizarre reason, Trouba lackadaisically skated over to pick up his stick leaving Bunting uncovered to tap in a rebound.

2nd Period

Jimmy Vesey (4)- Vincent Trocheck (11) & K’Andre Miller (12)- 15:33

Per Joe Micheletti, the Maple Leafs are the best second-period team in the NHL this season, so the Rangers getting the best of them in this frame was a particularly rewarding thing to watch. This play started with K’Andre Miller making a great defensive play and getting his stick on an attempted pass and starting the breakout. Trocheck slid the puck up to Vesey who was leading the charge. As an informal two on one formed, we watched wondering would Vesey shoot or pass. Jimmy McDavid Vesey put his head down made a nifty move to deke around the sprawling Leafs defender and roofed the puck over Murray’s glove for his fourth and prettiest goal of the season. The Jimmy Vesey revenge tour officially continues.

3rd Period

Jimmy Vesey (5)- Jacob Trouba (9) & Vincent Trocheck (12)- 18:47

The Rangers continued to play well into the third period. While Igor definitely had to stand on his head and make several spectacular saves, the team held it together in front of him getting their own opportunities. Late in the third Toronto pulled their goalie, in an incredibly clutch faceoff Trocheck went the extra mile. The Rangers’ faceoff specialist got down on his knees to win the puck back to Trouba who immediately got the puck out to Vesey who was streaking down the side. Entering the offensive zone, Vesey hit the open net scoring his second goal of the game and securing the Rangers’ fifth win in a row.

  • This may have been the team’s best effort in some time, and the kicker is their star forwards had a relatively quiet game. Imagine what this win would have looked like if Panarin or Zibanejad connected for a goal or two.
  • Mitch Marner’s point streak ended at 23 games tonight, but that wasn’t due to his lack of chances. Shesterkin made several key saves throughout the night, and several defensemen made adept plays and kept him off the scoreboard.
  • Braden Schneider played perhaps the longest shift of his career tonight. The Rangers got pinned down in their zone for almost three consecutive minutes, but Schneider was a warrior through it all and ended the shift beating Auston Matthews in a one on one battle.
  • Hopefully Gallant at the very least keeps Kravtsov in the lineup, while not on the scoresheet tonight, the young forward had a great game. He won several key puck battles and his positioning was sound.
  • The Rangers play again this upcoming Saturday as they travel to Philadelphia to take on Tortorella’s Flyers. Here’s hoping for six in a row. /