The New York Rangers bounced back from an embarrassing 7-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs last week with a strong 5-2 victory on Monday night. The Rangers played a complete 60 minute game and got goals from five different players to snap the Maple Leafs’ nine game point streak.
First Period Goes Scoreless
There were no goals in the first period despite both teams having good looks and solid goaltending at both ends.
The Rangers dominated play early and had two powerplays but could not break through against Maple Leafs goalie Ilya Samsonov. Meanwhile, Igor Shesterkin was sharp in the New York net turning aside all 11 Toronto shots he faced.
It remained 0-0 after the first 20 minutes. The Rangers held a narrow 12-11 edge in shots.
Zibanejad Opens the Scoring Early in the Second
Just 1:06 into the second period, Mika Zibanejad finally put the Rangers on the board on the powerplay with his 14th goal of the season.
Zibanejad took a pass from Artemi Panarin and ripped a wrist shot past Samsonov to make it 1-0 Rangers. Panarin’s assist extended his points streak to seven games.
A few minutes later, K’Andre Miller doubled New York’s lead to 2-0 with a seeing-eye point shot through traffic that found its way past Samsonov.
Shots after two periods were 26-19 Rangers.
Rangers Pull Away in the Third
In the third, the Rangers continued their strong play and put the game out of reach with three more goals.
Jimmy Vesey, Julien Gauthier, and Alexis Lafrenière all scored within a seven minute span to blow the game wide open at 5-0.
The Maple Leafs got late powerplay goals from William Nylander and Auston Matthews to spoil Shesterkin’s shutout bid, but it was too little too late.
Shesterkin Rebounds With Strong Effort
After allowing seven goals last week, Shesterkin was locked in on Monday turning aside 34 of 36 shots to record the win.
He made several highlight reel saves and gave his team a chance early until the offense finally broke through. This was a statement bounce back performance from last season’s Vezina Trophy winner.
Rangers Offense Finally Breaks Out
Scoring had been hard to come by lately for the Rangers, so getting five goals from five different players had to be a confidence boost.
In addition to the goal scorers, Chris Kreider, Vincent Trocheck, and Adam Fox all had multi-point games for New York. Fox’s assist extended his points streak to five games.
For the Rangers, scoring depth has been an issue this year but they seem to be turning a corner in that regard recently.
Maple Leafs Streak Snapped
The loss snaps the Maple Leafs’ nine game point streak (8-0-1 in that span). They remain in second place in the Atlantic division.
While Toronto possesses plenty of firepower with the likes of Matthews, Nylander, and Mitch Marner, they were simply outplayed in this one at both ends of the ice. Some defensive lapses led directly to Ranger goals.
Samsonov had a rough night allowing four goals on 33 shots before getting the hook in the third period. Backup goalie Matt Murray came on and only faced four shots the rest of the way.
What This Means Moving Forward
The victory moves the Rangers back into a playoff spot for now as they try and build some positive momentum to make a second half push.
For Toronto, this loss is unlikely to slow them down much. They will still be one of the top contenders in the Eastern Conference.
These two clubs don’t meet again in the regular season, so the Rangers got their revenge but may need help from other teams to catch the Maple Leafs going forward.
Both teams are back in action on Wednesday as the playoff races really start to heat up across the NHL. Every game becomes more and more crucial.
|New York Rangers
|3rd in Metro Division
|Toronto Maple Leafs
|2nd in Atlantic Division
This was a big win for New York to gain two points on a team ahead of them in the standings. The Rangers need to stack together more wins like this to solidify their playoff positioning in the competitive Metropolitan division.
For Toronto, they are still in great shape record-wise nearly halfway through the season. This loss is unlikely to set them too far back as long as they can get back on track next game.
No matter what though, these two offenses can score with anyone on a given night. So when they meet again in the future, whether regular season or playoffs, we should expect some entertaining, high-scoring hockey games.
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