About the game
It would have surprised no one if the Rangers had come out strong as they have in their last two games. Instead, they were slightly better than the Kraken and finally were able to unleash their offense when Alex Wennberg was called for tripping Alexis Lafreniere. The one area where the Rangers are truly elite is on the power play and they put it on display with an incredible display of passing that led to Mika Zibanejad’s power play goal.
When asked about his shot, Zibanejad said “I’m just standing there thinking, waiting for the pass…just try to shoot as hard as I can, close my eyes and hope for the best.”
Again the Rangers took an early lead and of course, with 8:14 left in the period, the Kraken took over. They had 16 of the next 17 shot attempts, but were stymied by Igor Shesterkin and the Rangers who blocked four of the shots. Statistically, the first period was awful as the Rangers 5v5 were outshot (13-5), outchanced (11-5) and outhit (10-7).
It was the same story in the second period as the Kraken transition game didn’t allow the Rangers to get set up in the offensive zone. Four minutes into the period, the Rangers finally got the cycle going and kept the puck in the Seattle zone. The Krakens couldn’t get a change as the Rangers kept cycling and Mika Zibanejad took a wicked shot that ended up on the goal line where Alexis Lafreniere was able to gently nudge it into the net.
It will end up being one of the easiest goals he will ever score and he looked sheepish accepting the congratulations from his teammates.
So, one great sequence and the Rangers were on the board with the dreaded 2-0 lead. Sure enough, three minutes later, Kraken leading scorer Jared McCann got Seattle on the board. It was a weird goal as it sort of slipped through Shesterkin as the Kraken had an odd man rush. No one picked up McCann who was the trailer and he took an off speed shot that took Shesterkin by surprise.
So, the Rangers had the 2-1 lead going into the third period and they were almost able to hold on to it. They were unable to take advantage of an early penalty to Mason Appleton and then had to kill a Ryan Reaves high sticking penalty. At 12:18, Vince Dunn took a penalty for hooking Artemi Panarin on a breakway and at the very least it looked like the Rangers would either score or kill off two more minutes, but Chris Kreider took an undisciplined holding penalty off the offensive zone draw and the power play was over. During the 4v4, K’Andre Miller had a breakaway, but Phillip Grubauer stopped him.
The Rangers were barely hanging on when Mika Zibanejad took a soft tripping penalty. He had his stick planted on the ice when Jared McCann tripped over his stick. It was an iffy call, but it gave Seattle another power play with 3:05 left in the game. They pulled Grubauer with a minute left in the power play and with three seconds left in the PP and only 1:08 left in the game Yanni Gourde scored on a wicked one-timer from the left faceoff circle. With a two man disadvantage, Shesterkin had no chance.
After the game Shesterkin said he should have had it. “I don’t like giving up goals late in the game. I should have taken a better position.”
Give the Rangers credit. After the goal they didn’t play for overtime. They carried the puck right into the Kraken zone and Kreider had a shot stopped by Grubauer. This is where it gets weird. Mika Zibanejad won the faceoff and got the puck back to K’Andre Miller. Meanwhile, Chris Kreider was trying to get to the net and collided with Riley Sheahan. Instead of playing Miller, Sheahan started complaining to the referee, allowing Miller to walk in and take the wrist shot that eluded Grubauer and gave the Rangers the win.
As we said, it was weird.
Here is a full video recap of the game.
After the Miller goal, the Kraken pulled their goalie again and got the puck deep, but Zibanejad won the last defensive zone faceoff and the Rangers went home happy, that is everyone except the coach.