Mackenzie Skapski’s 120 Minutes in Net for the Rangers: Recap


Mackenzie Skapski completed his second NHL start on Saturday, after earning his first ever NHL shutout, when the Rangers defeated the Buffalo Sabres 2-0, in which Keith Yandle got his first goal as a New York Ranger.

Ever since Henrik Lundqvist has been sidelined due to a strained blood vessel, Cam Talbot has been the Rangers starting goalie, and he is now 12-2-3 since taking over as the Rangers starting goaltender. But Talbot didn’t start Saturdays game, and is instead set to start the second game of the back-to-back set on Sunday at home against the Florida Panthers, which means that 20-year-old Skapski stepped in, and took his place in between the posts.

Skapski said in an interview before the game, that ever since his first NHL start against Buffalo, he feels like a completely different goalie. He went on to say “I feel being around practices, and getting a taste of the NHL is important”. He also said, “I really think my development has really gone a long way compared to if I were in Hartford playing games.”

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I think everyone can agree to some point that Skapski had a good NHL debut in February, apart from the only Buffalo goal of the game that went past him at 14 seconds into the game. He ended up stopping the next 23 shots, 13 of which came in the third period, which then helped the Rangers pick up a 3-1 win.

During the 2-0 win against Buffalo, you could definitely tell that Skapski was a lot more confident in-goal than he was when he made his NHL debut, he made some big saves throughout the game, arguably the biggest challenge he faced was the Tyler Ennis breakaway at 6:14 into the first period, which he was able to stop and hold onto. But I think we can all agree that the best save that Skapski made was the save on Brian Gionta’s shot in the two-on-one chance, at 1:03 into the second period, and that definitely game Skapski the confidence he needed to go all the way and get his first NHL shutout.

Skapski didn’t have the Rangers top scoring defenseman Kevin Klein in front of him in defense, as he is set to be sidelined for three to four weeks due to an arm injury that he suffered in the final minute of a 3-1 win over the Washington Capitals on Wednesday, which came from an Alex Ovechkin shot. Which means that Matt Hunwick replaced him for the game against Buffalo, in which he had a big impact, mainly when he stopped the puck in front with 9:05 remaining. And Hunwick will surely replace him for the remainder of his injury.

Overall, I was delighted to see Skapski get his first NHL shutout, and I definitely think he deserves a lot of credit, as he helped the Rangers gain 4 points in his two starts in net, even though they were both against the last placed team in the NHL. And I think this will do wonders for his confidence, and will definitely keep that smile across his face that still hasn’t left since his first NHL win in Buffalo on February 20th.

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