The New York Rangers just don’t seem to know what losing is anymore and it’s been such a fun ride to watch. Artemiy Panarin is back to his superstar ways and is looking more dominant on the ice now than he has all season. Kaapo Kakko is in the midst of his breakout and every game he is looking more and more like the kid picked second overall a few years ago. Chris Kreider is looking better than he has his entire career and the line of Alexis Lafreniere, Filip Chytil and Julien Gauthier have found some nice chemistry. Let’s jump into an undefeated week of New York Rangers hockey.
12/1/21 – New York Rangers vs. Philadelphia Flyers
It’s always fun destroying a team who is not only a rival, but has a former head coach at the helm. The Flyers are in the middle of a drastic tailspin and they look absolutely lost. The Rangers were not going to let his game be a trap game for them and they took it to the Flyers the entire game.
Early in the first, Nils Lundkvist would send the puck to Jacob Trouba, who played a quick give-and-go with Kaapo Kakko. Trouba would then score on a one-time rocket to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead on the power-play. A great start for the Rangers. Just minutes later Dryden Hunt, who has looked at home playing right next to Panarin and Ryan Strome, would pot his third goal of the season. Panarin would send a perfect cross-ice pass in the neutral zone to a speeding Hunt. Hunt then fought off Ivan Provorov and lasered the puck past the Flyers goalie for a 2-0 Rangers lead. The Flyers were again looking hapless and the Rangers weren’t taking any pity.
Just 34 seconds into the second period, the Rangers would score again. Mika Zibanejad, Kaapo Kakko and Chris Kreider would link up for a perfect tic-tac-toe play that ended in Kreider’s 16th goal of the season. When things are going right, they’re going right and the Rangers were looking like a well oiled machine.
The Rangers would get a five-minute major and Dryden Hunt would be assessed a game misconduct in one of the worst calls I’ve ever seen an officiating crew make. The Rangers would kill the penalty but soon after Morgan Frost would get the Flyers on the board. Thankfully, that’s all the hapless Flyers were able to muster and the Rangers would go on to win 4-1 after they added an empty net goal from Artemiy Panarin.
12/3/21 – New York Rangers vs. San Jose Sharks
A 1-0 win against an opponent who many people would’ve again taken lightly. Not this club. The New York Rangers would only score once this game off a clap bomb from Ryan Strome early in the first period on the power-play. The real story of this game though is Igor Shesterkin.
Shesterkin has been dynamite all year for the Rangers and is considered one of the early frontrunners for the Vezina trophy so it’s safe to say any long term injury to him would seriously hamper the Rangers. In the third period, Shesterkin was taken off the ice after an apparently injury and placed on IR after the game. Coach Gerard Gallant said he should be ok in a week but for now, its Alexandar Georgiev’s crease. He did well in relief, stopping all nine shots he faced. A tight win was replaced by some nerves from Rangers fans.
12/4/21 – New York Rangers vs. Chicago Blackhawks
The Alexandar Georgiev redemption tour begins. The Blackhawks visited the Garden after playing better on the ice recently but after a season full of disgusting organizational behavior, it was good to see the Rangers beat this team and stop noted liar and bad person Jonathan Toews from scoring his first goal of the season.
Both Blackhawks goals this game were for a lack of a better word, jank. The Blackhawks would score late in the first when Brandon Hagel would illegally use a high stick to pass the puck to Patrick Kane who scored. The goal should have been waived off and the Rangers even challenged it but the refs allowed it to stand.
The second period was all Rangers. Ryan Strome would finish off a perfect cross-ice feed from Artemi Panarin and score into a wide open cage on the power-play. 1-1. Then later in the period, who else but Adam Fox, would score to put the Rangers up 2-1. Fox would grab a Panarin rebound in front of the net and tap it past the goaltender. 2-1 Rangers. The third period was all Rangers and eventually they broke through yet again as Panarin would score his seventh of the season. Strome backhanded a pass to a wide open Panarin who snapped the puck past Kevin Lankinen for a 3-1 lead.
The Rangers were up 3-1 late but the refs would rear their heads yet again and make sure the Blackhawks kept it close. After a shot from Alex DeBrincat that Georgeiv stopped before the line, Kirby Dach would hit Georgiev on the back in the crease and the puck would cross the goal line. For some reason the refs thought this was a good goal and the lead was cut to 3-2. The Rangers would win despite horrid officiating and get their sixth straight.
The Rangers are now 16-4-3 and second overall in the NHL in points percentage standings. They’re second in the Metropolitan Division and fourth overall in the NHL in points. Let’s Go Rangers!