There are some games a team should lose and they win. This was the perfect example. Outplayed, outshot and outchanced, the Rangers bent, but didn’t break and Alexandar Georgiev played what might have been his best game as a Ranger to steal a 2-0 win over the Carolina Hurricanes.
When it comes to dominance by Carolina, the numbers are staggering.
- Shot attempts: 94-36
- Shots on goal: 44-18
- Scoring chances: 58-20
- High danger scoring chances: 20-9
- Expected goals for: 5.91 to 2.92
- Faceoff wins: 27-22
The only number that counts at the end of the game was goals and the Rangers won that one, 2-0.
As a result of Georgiev’s brilliance and the Rangers’ determination, they finished the weekend by winning back-to-back road games against two of the top four teams in the NHL, allowing only one power play goal in the process.
The Rangers dealt the Hurricanes their fourth loss in a row, their longest losing streak of the season. It was improbable a win as the Rangers have had all season.
Coach Gerard Gallant was honest in assessing the win. “I’d like to say we came in today and played a great game, but last night was a great game. Tonight was a great goaltender who was unbelievable and made great saves. We were a tired hockey team, I’m not holding a punches back. We got in two in the morning, we’ve got to play a six o’clock game after playing a good game last night. They were all over us, they dominated, but we found a way to get two points.”
Gallant was sincerely happy about Georgiev’s success. “I was so happy to see him come off the ice and have a shutout against a team like that…it’s awesome. Great feeling….today was huge for him”
Georgiev spoke about how much it meant. “It felt pretty great. It’s been a long time since I had a game like that, not a lot of goals and a tight game so I tried to enjoy that and be in the moment.”
The Rangers blocked 23 shots and Georgiev called it a “team shutout.”
The game was one-sided from the first puck drop. The Blueshirts didn’t help their cause by taking two penalties in the first period. It was clear from the first save that Georgiev was dialed in and despite being outshot 14-3, the Rangers escaped the period. It was the most one-sided period with the Hurricanes holding a 31-7 shot attempts advantage including the only four high danger chances.
As usual, the Rangers recovered somewhat in the second period, helped by two Carolina penalties after they had killed a Patrik Nemeth penalty. On the first power play, the team could do absolutely nothing, but in the second they were able to get some good scoring chances.
The most bizarre moment in the game came late in the second period. With 5:18 left in the period the Rangers were buzzing when K’Andre Miller took a shot from the point. It deflected off defender Ian Cole into goalie Frederik Andersen. Anderson had no idea where the puck was as it squirted free and Filip Chytil was able to wrap around and put the puck into the net, but referee Chris Rooney blew the whistle just as Chytil was about to tuck it into the net.
It should have been a goal, but Gallant explained after the game that Rooney just thought that Andersen had frozen the puck and didn’t see it was still in play. The way things were going, losing that goal looked like a devastating blow for the Rangers.
But not for team resilience. Less than a minute later, Chris Kreider scored, tipping in a Trouba shot from the blue line.
Kreider won the faceoff and they kept the puck in the attacking zone. Lafreniere won a board battle and sent the puck to Trouba for a one-timer that Kreider deflected past Andersen.
The goal gave the Blueshirts some life and they pushed hard, but couldn’t add to the lead. The numbers for the second period were more balanced with the Hurricanes holding the shot attempt advantage 23-18 though the shot totals were more one-sided at 15-7.
It’s hard to describe what happened in the third period. The Hurricanes had the Rangers on their heels for the first half of the period as they poured 40 shot attempts at Georgiev compared to only 11 for New York. In the first 12 minutes the Hurricanes had 30 shot attempts to only three for the Blueshirts.
Georgiev stood on his head and the Rangers desperately cleared the puck whenever they could. They withstood the push by the Hurricanes and actually had some good scoring chances over the final eight minutes, culminating in an empty net goal by Frank Vatrano.
It’s not like the Rangers didn’t have their chances. Mika Zibanejad was stopped on a breakaway, Ryan Strome hit a crossbar and Andersen made a great stop on a Panarin shot.
Here is a video recap of the game:
While Gallant was not pleased with how the Rangers played, they were able to escape with two points. In the record books it will go down as a 2-0 shutout and a weekend sweep of the two tough road games. That’s enough.