This was a major statement from the Rangers. Putting a team like the Carolina Hurricanes to the sword in the way that they did shows that the trade to add Niko Mikkola and Vladimir Tarasenko seems to have changed the situation in New York entirely. Your Rangers have gone from a team that looked questionable to make the playoffs to a team that looks ready for the postseason to begin already. It helps when you seem to be the kryptonite of the best team in the division.
Artemi Panarin will steal the headlines in this one as he had 4 of the Rangers’ six goals as they were able to blow the doors off the Hurricanes. To see this in the second half of a back-to-back with travel was a very impressive performance from New York’s star Russian winger. That entire top line looks rejuvenated with the arrival of Tarasenko. It could have been a game against anyone, and they dominated the Hurricanes.
Jaroslav Halak got his 7th consecutive win in this one as the Slovakian closed the door on a forward core that has some scary weapons but has lost perhaps its most deadly weapon to a second torn Achilles tendon of the year. It was still very impressive with the manner in which the Rangers kept up with the firepower that the Hurricanes wield. All four lines have scoring threats and to hold them to two and keep the Blueline off the board was a strong showing.
This leaves the Rangers just six points back from the Hurricanes but the Canes have a game in hand. There are also still three points separating the Devils from the Blueshirts. This fight for the Metropolitan Division title has three fighters and the Rangers are certainly going to be in that mix when we get to the money time of the season in April and May. Maybe another Metropolitan Division title is on the cards after all.