Relive the Thrilling Victory as the New York Rangers Dominate the Calgary Flames up in Alberta for their second straight win.
Tuesday’s game at the Scotiabank Saddledome was a special team showcase. And that played right into the Rangers’ hands. As the second period saw the Blueshirts penalized four times, they managed to kill off each one of those penalties. On top of that, they capitalized on two out of their four power-play opportunities and even added a third goal during four-on-four play.
It made all the difference in the 3-1 victory on “Frozen Frenzy” night in the NHL, marking their second consecutive win at the start of this five-game western road trip. It was also a significant milestone, as it was their first successful visit to Calgary since March 2, 2018.
The last time the Rangers won a game in Calgary, Will Cuylle was still playing in the GTHL, Adam Fox was pursuing his college degree, Filip Chytil was a rookie in the NHL, Mika Zibanejad had short hair, Igor Shesterkin was playing in Russia, and Alain Vigneault was at the helm as the coach. How times have changed, right?
Power Play Surge and Shesterkin’s Heroics Propel Rangers to Victory:
Unlike Seattle’s 4-1 win, the Blueshirts weren’t swarming the offensive zone this time. They only managed to muster 12 shots on goal at five-on-five, with a mere four shots in the final two periods. It wasn’t a case of poor defense but rather too much of it.
Part of the issue was the significant time spent on special teams, but there was also a noticeable decline in offensive aggression in the final period. They seemed loose on the forecheck, lost puck battles, and allowed Calgary to stay in the game.
The second period saw a power-play explosion. The Rangers fell behind due to an early Blake Coleman goal 1:15 into the contest off a Filip Chytil turnover and miscommunication by New York in the defensive zone.
Alexis Lafrenière stepped up with a beautiful tip-in off a point shot from Erik Gustafsson, beating Jacob Markstrom to tie it. Then, Chris Kreider scored his 95th career power-play goal, showcasing his prowess around the net. A deflection off a pass from Artemi Panarin gave the Blueshirts a 2-1 lead. The assist extended the Breadman’s point streak to six games.
Erik Gustafsson added the final puzzle piece in the middle frame with his second-season goal. It started with a hard shot from Chytil that Markstrom initially stopped, but Gustafsson was right there to nudge the puck across the goal line. The quick succession of three goals in under 10 minutes was the game-changer.
The Rangers’ power play is off to a tremendous start, converting on six of 19 opportunities for a 31.6% success rate.
And we can’t forget Igor Shesterkin, who made crucial saves when the defense faltered. He made 23 saves, 10 of them high-danger chances, with a +1.81 goals saved above expected, including a sensational right pad save to deny Coleman a second Flames goal, ensuring the win.
Shestekrin is now 5-0 in his career after being pulled in the previous start. He allowed four goals in Thursday’s 4-1 loss to the Nashville Predators before being lifted in the second period. Jonathan Quick started on Saturday and notched his first win as a Ranger.
The Bluehshirts have been solid defensively in the first two games of this road trip, allowing just a combined 44 shots between the Kraken and the Flames. A portion of the credit should go to the Jimmy Vesey-Nick Bonino- Barclay Goodrow line, who head coach Peter Laviolette turned too often in the third period. Bonino, himself, had five blocks.
Next up, New York heads north to face the Connor McDavid-less Edmonton Oilers on Thursday at 9 p.m. Edmonton, my Western Conference pick, has struggled this season as their 1-4-1 start has fans puzzled. They also continue to be poor defensively.
According to ESPN’s Greg Wyshnski, “The Oilers are 11th in preventing high-danger shot attempts (5v5) and 32nd in high-danger save%, with Stuart Skinner and Jack Campbell combining for an unfathomable .605 save% — the only team under .700.”
No matter how many goals Mcdavid (When he returns from his 1-2 week absence due to an upper-body injury sustained on Saturday) Leon Draisaital and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins score. Edmonton won’t go anywhere if they don’t shore up their defense. It’s an opportunity for New York to pounce on a reeling group just as they did with the Kraken (2-4-1) and Flames (2-4-1).