This is getting ridiculous. The New York Ranger are showing no signs of slowing down and Igor Shesterkin keeps playing better and better. The best goalie in the NHL stopped 45 of 46 shots and Chris Kreider scored two more goals as the Blueshirts dismantled the Winnipeg Jets on the road. The passed the Penguins and are now in second place in the Metropolitan Division.
Shesterkin’s save percentage for this game was an absurd .978 as he improved his league leading number to .942 and lowered his league leading goals against average to 1.93. As we said, absurd.
Chris Kreider spoke about his goalie after the game, comparing him to Henrik Lundqvist. “We are truly spoiled. The guy is unbelievable. He’s been our best player all year. At this point nothing really surprises me. He’s otherworldly, I don’t think there other superlatives left for him, he’s that good.”
Kreider now has 38 goals, one behind Auston Matthews and he leads the league with 19 power play goals, two more than Leon Draisaitl. His quest to reach 50 goals is not out of reach.
For Gerard Gallant it was “same old, same old.” Of course, he was referring to Shesterkin, saying “He’s played great, played solid, made some big saves, especially in the first period of the game….it wasn’t that great a game. The shots doesn’t indicate the game for me, it didn’t feel like 46 shots against, he made some key saves…they took a lot of shots. Six power plays didn’t help.”
The Rangers jumped out to an early lead with Barclay Goodrow scoring off a really nice pass from Jacob Trouba.
It looked like Jonny Brodzinski might have been offside on the play, but the Jets didn’t challenge.
Most of the rest of the first period was spent on the penalty kill as the Rangers took two penalties in the first 12 minutes. The Rangers got two of their own and cashed in on the second when Logan Stanley was called for interference at 17:11. Artemi Panarin tried to make a pass to Ryan Strome in the slot, but it deflected off a Jets player right to Kreider who put it home.
They had to kill off a penalty to Jacob Trouba the last two minutes of the period and the special teams play led to a lopsided statistical advantage for Winnipeg, as they outshot the Rangers 15-9.
They did a better job staying out of the penalty box in the second period until Alexis lafreniere was called for hooking and Winnipeg scored on their fourth man advantage. Nikolai Ehlers scored at 13:34 on a screen shot from the top of the faceoff circle. He was uncovered when Kreider blocked a pass, but it bounced right to Ehlers and he walked in for the shot.
The Rangers were playing with fire when Jonny Brodzinski went off for high sticking with just over three minute left in the period, but the Rangers dodged that bullet.
It was a better period for the Jets as they outshot the Rangers and dominated on faceoffs. The Blueshirts had several extended shifts in the attacking zone, but despite the possession, they couldn’t get any good shots.
The third period was all Rangers as they scored twice to seal the win. Kreider notched his second goal of the game at 6:21 when he beat to a puck that was passed to him off the boards and he beat defenseman Nate Schmidt and put the puck past Connor Hellebuyck with a wicked backhand.
Three minutes later it was Jacob Trouba, scoring from the blue line on a shot that was deflected past Hellebuyck.
The goal was originally credited to Trouba, the to Zibanejad for the deflection, but back to Trouba.
The Rangers held fast the rest of the game as the Jets pulled their goalie with two minutes left. Patrik Nemeth took a tripping penalty with one minute left and that gave the Jets a two man advantage, but they couldn’t score and the last thrill was when Shesterkin corralled a rolling puck and shot for the empty net. Pierre-Luc Dubois blocked the shot in center ice. Though it was headed for the empty net, it wouldn’t have gotten there in time to count.
Here’s a five minute recap of the game:
It was a solid win over a desperate Jets team that is slipping out of the playoff picture. As Gallant said, it didn’t feel like the Jets had 46 shots, but that was the number. 12 of those shots came on the six Winnipeg power plays.
Are these wins getting routine? It feels like it, but it’s something that Chris Kreider downplayed. “Each game presents its own challenges. Each team shows a slightly different look and the last couple games we weren’t happy with it.”
It’s good to know that the team is not taking anything for granted.