The NY Rangers rode the momentum of Vlad Tarasenko scoring on his first shot for his new team and a fantastic first period overall to defeat the Seattle Kraken 6-3 at MSG. There was still more drama to come after that, so let’s break down the good, the bad, and everything in between.
HOW DO YOU DO!
Well, that’s one way to welcome yourself to a new club! The buzz in the Garden was immaculate the first time Tarasenko stepped onto the ice for warmups. In theory, whenever you trade for a player of this caliber and put him on a line with talent such as Panarin and Mika, as a fan, you dream of grandeur. Those dreams instantly became more of a reality when, just a few minutes into the game, Panarin skated down the right side and threaded a perfect pass to a streaking Tarasenko, who poked it past Martin Jones.
MSG exploded, and suddenly anything seemed possible with this team. That vibe was only bolstered by the Kid Line continuing their strong play with a goal by Kaapo Kakko. Chytil found Kakko on the side of the net, who swept in a much-needed goal for his 10th of the year.
The Rangers kept up the pressure all period. They were finally rewarded when Trocheck (who also added an assist) made a nice move to the net and stayed with the play to poke in the loose puck for his 15th goal of the season.
All in all, it was one of the best first periods of the season for the Rangers, with their top three lines getting a goal each. It showed not only what a talent like Tarasenko can give you but also how it ripples to the other lines as well to create a deeper, more formidable team.
The first period was even capped off with a Rangers power play that carried over into the second. They were rewarded with hard work there as Jacob Trouba banked in a sharp-angle shot off a defenseman for a 4-0 lead.
Overall the team went two for three on the power play as later on in the third, Chris Kreider feathered a beautiful no-look pass to Mika for his 26th goal. Unfortunately, Kreider’s tip-in/deflection prowess hasn’t worked nearly as well this season. Still, he’s finding scoring in other ways, especially with this new wrinkle that he has started to patent.
This unit has been erratic lately, so getting two goals is encouraging. If you factor in the eventual assimilation of Tarasenko into the mix, the power play could become a weapon once again.
The beauty of a player like Fox is that his impact ranges far wider than just the scoresheet. One assist last night, but his acumen on the ice is something you can only appreciate if you watch the whole game. Yes, he had an awkward penalty on the late power play, but there were several instances throughout the night where he just dazzles you with how smart and efficient he is.
For all the flashy talent on this team (and he can flash, too), to me, he is this team’s most valuable player and one they can’t afford to lose.
DON’T GET TOO COMFORTABLE
Last night’s game was interesting because, on the surface, the Rangers dominated early and never held less than a two-goal lead throughout. However, after the first period, the Kraken had the better of the play.
Furthermore, the Rangers always seem to have a penchant for keeping their fans from relaxing for too long.
In the second period, the Rangers went up 4-0 on Trouba’s PP goal, which seemed like an early dagger. However, only one minute later, the Blueshirts had a terrible line change (a handful of these this season have burned us), which led to Bjorkstrand streaking up the middle and roofing one past Igor.
The game remained 4-1 after two periods but not without several solid chances by the Kraken.
Even worse, after a power play goal by Mika early in the third that should have cemented the game, the Kraken scored two goals in twenty-two seconds! Suddenly, in the blink of an eye, what seemed like an insurmountable lead was only two with plenty of time left.
To be fair, some inconsistent and downright bad officiating played a factor, but the end should not have been so nerve-wracking for a game that showed so much Rangers’ firepower.
Thankfully, Lindgren got his first of the season with a beautiful long-range empty-net goal, but usually, 6-3 victories don’t have so many tense moments. But that comes with being a Rangers fan.
I’m not one to harp TOO much on officiating except when the mistakes are egregious. First, they missed an obvious offsides call that led to a Rangers penalty that never should have had a chance to happen. Then even worse, they called a delay-of-game penalty on Mikkola when CLEARLY the puck was deflected by a Kraken stick.
So while I spoke of the Rangers making this game tenser than it needed to be, I’ll give them a pass because this officiating crew did them no favors.
CAN I GO NOW?
- Mikkola probably wanted a better debut considering he was in the penalty box three times (even though one was incorrect). He is a big dude, though, so still excited about the value he can bring.
- I didn’t think Igor had the strongest game, despite some nice saves. Tanev completely outclassed him on that third goal, which he is usually better at stopping.
- Funny moment seeing Trouba mouth Sam Rosen’s “It’s a power play goal” after he scored.
- Equally funny was after the game when asked why the team never seems to make it easy on themselves, Panarin replied, “It’s Rangers. It’s normal.” He’s got that right.
- We did give up a power play goal, but I thought overall, the penalty kill came up big when it needed to.
- No rest as the Rangers are back at it tonight in a massive contest with the division-leading Carolina Hurricanes. A challenging task off of a back-to-back, but let’s see if they can ride these good vibes to victory.