Rangers make a statement in 5-2 win over Panthers

Feb 1, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider (20) reacts after scoring a goal with teammates against Florida Panthers goaltender Spencer Knight (30) during the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 1, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider (20) reacts after scoring a goal with teammates against Florida Panthers goaltender Spencer Knight (30) during the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /
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Feb 1, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) makes a save in front of Florida Panthers center Frank Vatrano (77) during the first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 1, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) makes a save in front of Florida Panthers center Frank Vatrano (77) during the first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /

Notes on the game

The Rangers go into the All-Star break with a record of 30-13-4 and are tied in points with first place Caroline.  Only the Anaheim Ducks have played more than the Ranger’s 47 games. They have the sixth best points percentage (.681) in the NHL.

They improved their home record to 15-4-2.  Only the Avalanche and Panthers have lost fewer home games this season.

As far as losing any ground in this two week break, the only team that has a lot of games in hand in the playoff mix are the Hurricanes who have five games in hand on the Blueshirts and should be expected to open up a sizable lead in the Metropolitan Division.  Pittsburgh and Washington have only one game in hand and the Penguins trail the Rangers by two points while the Capitals are five points back.

This was the 300th win of his career for Gerard Gallant.  After the game he said he didn’t realize until the team presented him with the puck, but overall he said “it’s no big deal.”

CONGRATS, TURK! 🥳 pic.twitter.com/NwIxbmJk2j

— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) February 2, 2022

Mika Zibanejad’s two point night gives him 18 goals and 49 points and a tie for 12th place in the NHL scoring race. He has 13 goals and 28 points in his last 19 games.

Chris Kreider’s two goals gives him 33 on the season and he has a two goal lead over Leon Draisaitl.  His 17 power play goals are tops in the NHL and four more than runner up Draisaitl.

This was the first game this season that the Rangers have scored three power goals.    It moved the team into fifth place in the NHL with a 25.9% success rate.

Artemi Panarin had a goal and an assist and move into eighth place in the scoring race with 52 points.  His 39 assists are fourth most in the NHL, one behind teammate Adam Fox and  eight behind league leader Jonathan Huberdeau.

After not scoring a point in nine straight games, Alexis Lafreniere now has scored a goal in two games in a row.  He has 10 goals on the season. Only Lucas Raymond of the Detroit Red Wings has more goals (11) of all of the players drafted in 2020. For all of the criticism, Lafreniere has scored 21 goals in his career.  That’s double what any other 2020 draft pick has scored except Tim Stützle (#3) who has scored 20.

The fight was Strome’s first fighting major of the season.  The Rangers have 12 fighting majors so far this season. Last season they had 22 in 56 games.

All 10 points by the Rangers were credited to forwards as the defense was shut out for one of the few times this season.

The Rangers took two of three from the Panthers, winning the season series. The Rangers join the Seattle Kraken as the only teams to beat Florida twice this season.

The Rangers own the Atlantic Division.  They have a 12-2-0 record, getting 24 of 28 possible points.

The kids on defense, specifically K’Andre Miller and Braden Schneider both played very well against a very fast team.  Miller in particular was physical, throwing several big hits and almost getting into a fight at the end of the second period.

While Igor Shesterkin didn’t have to make any spectacular saves,he still stopped 36 of 36 shots and was noticeable for his stickhandling.  He created breakouts at least twice in the game including on the Kreider second period goal.

He remains first in save percentage (.937) and second in goal against average (2.10).  His 22 wins are sixth most in the NHL