Many good signs in 3-0 win over Penguins

Apr 7, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba (8) brings the puck up ice against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 7, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba (8) brings the puck up ice against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /
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Apr 7, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers left wing Artemi Panarin (10) fights for the puck against Pittsburgh Penguins center Jeff Carter (77) and center Teddy Blueger (53) during the first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 7, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers left wing Artemi Panarin (10) fights for the puck against Pittsburgh Penguins center Jeff Carter (77) and center Teddy Blueger (53) during the first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

Notes on the game

The Rangers improved to 46-29-6 and 98 points, fourth most in the NHL.  They are six points ahead of the Penguins and two points behind the Hurricanes who came from behind to beat the Sabres.  Those 98 points are the 11th most achieved by any Rangers team.  Their magic number to clinch a playoff spot is one.

The Rangers improved their home record to 23-7-4.  The last time they had 23 home wins in a season was 2015-16.

The win gives them a 13-7-1 record against Metropolitan Division teams and guarantees that they will be above .500 against all four divisions.

Igor Shesterkin notched his fourth shutout of the season and improved his league leading save percentage to .935 and his second best goals against average 2.10.  His 33 wins is third most in the NHL.

Artemi Panarin played in his 500th NHL game and he reached the 20 goal mark for the sixth time in his career. He is 10th in the NHL with 85 points.

Those deadline acquisitions keep looking good.  Frank Vatrano scored his six goal in 12 games as a Ranger and now has 16 goals on the season.  Andrew Copp notched his 10th point in nine games in New York, assisting on Panarin’s goal.

Chris Kreider didn’t score a goal, but got his 21 assist, giving him 68 points on he season.  He needs three goals in the final 10 games to get to 50.

It was Justin Braun’s turn to sit out as Patrik Nemeth returned to the lineup on the left side of Braden Schneider.

The Penguins were shorthanded with Sidney Crosby missing the game with a non-COVID related illness. Defenseman John Marino also missed his first game this season.

Speaking of Crosby, the ESPN broadcasters reminded us that he was out of the lineup dozens of times.  The entire telecast was almost unwatchable, most due to the trio of Bob Wischusen, Brian Boucher and A. J. Mleczko.  Their incessant chatter detracted from the game and they were so enamored of the Penguins that it sounded like a Pittsburgh home telecast. It was truly awful. Is anyone in ESPN management watching these games?????

The Rangers went into this game with a franchise record of 5-11-1 on April 7, one of their worst records on any given day. Also, Thursday was the only day of the week that the Rangers have a losing record (3-5-2).  The stars were aligned against the Rangers, but they overcame the odds.