I-GOR! I-GOR!: NYR Beat Colorado 2-1 In Shootout Behind Vintage Shesterkin

The Rangers completed a successful mini-road trip last night with a 2-1 shootout victory over a depleted Colorado Avalanche team for their 3rd win in a row.  

Rather than a straight recap that can be deciphered by looking at the boxscore and highlights, we’ll take a friendly but practical approach. Let’s look at what was overall good about the game, what wasn’t, and everything in between.

(Classic Simpsons fans might recognize the categories from a fantastic Halloween episode where Homer buys a cursed Krusty doll from a cryptic shop owner.)

THAT’S GOOD!

IGOR

Last night, we witnessed a vintage Shesterkin performance. You’re definitely having a special night when your name is being chanted in the opposing team’s arena. Especially in the first period when the Rangers were getting (disappointingly) out-skated by everyone in Colorado’s makeshift lineup, he was the only reason the team wasn’t down more than 1-0. Igor was stellar from the opening puck drop to the shootout, including a standout (if not with some extra flair) glove save on Makar mid-game, to a beautiful reactive save at the very end of OT that saved our bacon (Mmmmm, bacon) that got the NYR to the shootout. Vezina Igor last night, and we needed every ounce of it.

BRADEN SCHNEIDER

ObHecored the big goal tonight, but his overall confidence and game are reaching the levels we saw glimpses of last year. Now with four goals on the season, he is showing some sneaky finishing ability and, perhaps just as important, a healthy IQ and understanding of the game. The goal itself was critical, but what it represented overall means just as much, and maybe more. Coming all the way down from the defensive zone to trail the play, giving the crafty Panarin the wide-open option to pass, and he didn’t miss. The goal itself was critical, but what it represented overall means just as much, and maybe more.

BACKCHECKING

There has been so much talk of Rangers having to be better on the forecheck to create more offensive zone consistency. While true, what has helped the Rangers start to find their game lately, especially last night, has been their propensity to hustle and backcheck. Everyone from the 4th liners to Panarin has made an effort to bear down and get back to “making us hard to play against.” It’s a tired but essential cliche and a trait that this team needs to adopt again. Continuing to backcheck is one aspect that will do just that.

SHOOTOUT

Hopefully, the shootout won’t be a recurring entity this season because if it is, I will eventually fall through my floor into the basement from pacing back and forth. Yet, seeing Mika and Panarin show off their impressive skill in putting the shootout away was very satisfying. If that skill is not yet going to translate to five-on-five offense, at least make it count when you need to be creative and let your talent take over. Combine this with two excellent stops by Igor; it felt good not to have to break another remote by throwing it against the wall. (My remote control budget was through the roof last month.)

THAT’S BAD!

TOO MANY PASSES

The Rangers are not the only team guilty of this, but it’s still infuriating, especially after two games that showed what can happen when you’re more aggressive with a shoot-first attitude. While we’ve been better lately, this team falls too much in love with cycling and looking for the perfect connection. Eventually, any defense worth it’s salt will get a stick down or get you off the puck. It led to way too many times being in the offensive zone or on the power play, where we had nothing to show for our possession.

Three on Three

Not going to go too crazy with this because overtimes are not every game, but it still symbolizes our lack of cohesion on offense this year. We should thrive with the skill level on this team and that much space on the ice. However, too many times, we seem even more lost than before. Last night, we didn’t even possess the puck until two mins+ into the OT. When we finally settled down, our chances were few and weak. Even when we gained control for what seemed like a final push, it almost resulted in a devastating last-second loss i,f not for a big Igor save.  

ALWAYS A BAD PERIOD

It is astounding, but in the last twenty-five games, the Rangers haven’t played one yet where they haven’t had at least one terrible period. Last night, the first period was way worse than the score reflected. Gallant needs to figure out why this team has trouble climbing out of these funks during one twenty-minute frame. We have enough veterans and skills to recover without needing an intermission.

CAN I GO NOW?

The refs let the two teams play last night, but you must make a call on that Goodrow trip. He helped the call a bit, but that was a breakaway with a clear stick on his ankle. That needs to be called every time.

The broadcast touched on it, but it’s a little scary how Fox got cut with that blade. The Colorado player fell head over heels, and the blade came up and caught Fox’s face. That could have been red. Not to be doom and gloom, but it’s always shocking to me, with all the chaos on the ice, how there are not more of those kinds of Evander Kane-type injuries. I’m thankful for that, at least.

No line stood out, but the Laf/Mika/Kakko combo at least started to cook a little after the sluggish first. I’m hoping Gallant lets that line ride a little longer.

Lastly, not to go overboard, I’m asking Gallant to put Kravtsov back in there. Not just for the sake of his development but for the team’s offensive struggles as well. It’s not a knock against Goodrow (who had an assist) to say that putting him down on 3rd or even 4th line makes this team even more formidable and balanced. Now, if it’s a question of who we take out, it’s either Vesey or (maybe more controversially) Blais. Vesey gives maximum effort, but he’s not an offensive threat that warrants top-six minutes. While bringing physicality, Blais is just not playing the overall game that was expected of him. Whether that’s the ACL injury still not letting him put it all together, there’s no evidence that he should have a permanent spot night in and night out. I’d even counter that a few games off here and there might benefit from coming off such an injury.

Next up, a huge game Monday night at home against the NJ Devils.

In this week's episode, we have on guest HockeyStatMiner to discuss NYR's Salary cap situation, potential moves and more.How to support us and our sponsors:Columbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITRThanks for listening! Please rate and review our show on your favorite listening platform. Check out our partner's website at www.insidetherink.com for all your latest hockey news.
  1. Guest HockeyStatMiner
  2. Many Directions, One Goal
  3. A Heartbreaking End, Offseason Begins
  4. Game 5 Recap : Guest Joe Fortunato
  5. Game 4 Recap : Breakout Breakdown

Marc Panzer

NYR Fan living in Long Island

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