Notes on the game
As comfortable as the Rangers are in playoff position, the loss combined with a win by Washington and the Capitals have closed to within three points of the Rangers. The Blueshirts have a game in hand on Washington, but the race is definitely tightening up.
Pittsburgh moved ahead into second place in the Metropolitan Division by beating the Blues in a shootout. One reason the Penguins have had success is their ability to gain at least a point in games. They have gone to overtime or a shootout 16 times this season, compared to 11 times for the Blueshirts.
Chris Kreider reached the 40 goal mark, the 25th Ranger to achieve that feat. Mika Zibanejad was the last player to do it, two years ago. It’s the sixth time it’s been done in the salary cap era since 2005-06.
The goal for Kreider was his league leading 21st power play goal. Only four Rangers have scored more power play goals in a season and Jaromir Jagr’s franchise record of 24 is well within reach. The NHL record belongs to Philadelphia’s Tim Kerr with 34 PP goals in 1985-86.
This one is hard to believe. When Alexis Lafrenière assisted on Chris Kreider’s goal, it was the first power play point in his career. That was in 115 games and 142 minutes of power play time over two seasons. Hard to believe.
The two goals allowed by Igor Shesterkin was the fewest he’s given up since allowing one to Winnipeg on March 6. He still boasts the leagues best save percentage at .938 and his 2.07 goals against average tops the NHL as well.
The loss gives him a home record of 16-3-2.
Frank Vatrano played 14:47 including 48 seconds on the power play. After the game, Gallant said that he was to see Vatrano shooting the puck more, but he thought he played very well.
Ryan Reaves had a very physical game with a team leading seven hits. He’s reached that number twice in the new year after getting seven or more hits in a game five times in the first 28 games. He laid out Zdeno Chara with a reverse hit and skated away when Chara tried to pick a fight.
It was a close game with the Rangers outshooting, outhitting the Islanders and also better on the faceoff dots, winning 58% of the draws.