The New York Rangers overcame the Carolina Hurricanes and injury setbacks, extending their winning streak in a statement game at Madison Square Garden.
After a perfect five-game road trip, the New York Rangers returned home triumphantly. In front of a raucous crowd, they didn’t disappoint. That said, Adam Fox and Filip Chytil had to exit early during Thursday’s 2-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes at Madison Square Garden. The hope is that it’s not severe.
However, these Rangers showed their resolve. Even with key players sidelined, they powered through. They spent most of the game playing shorthanded but still managed to dig deep and come out on top in a gritty victory against the reigning three-time Metropolitan Division champions. That win stretched the winning streak to six games straight, improving the first-place Blueshirts to 8-2 on the young season.
Chytil collided with former Blueshirt Jesper Fast in the first period and departed in the second.
Meanwhile, Fox sustained the injury during a first-period collision with forward Sebastian Aho, whose knee appeared to bang into Fox’s right knee or thigh. That sent the 25-year-old to the locker room, leaving the Garden crowd to wonder how severe the damage was.
The Rangers can’t afford to lose the 2021 Norris Trophy winner, who entered the night second on the team in points with three goals and 11 points through nine games. He’s their most-used skater with a team-leading average of 22:44 time on ice per game.
Without Fox, the Blueshirts were forced to rotate five defensemen. Veteran Erik Gustafsson moved up to replace him as the point man on the top power-play unit.
Fox’s ability to walk the blue line on the power play might be the most essential aspect to the man advantage. Kreider, Panarin & Zibanejad can make the plays, but Fox’s movement creates all the time and space. With those two gone, that separation from Carolina needed to be made by others, and it was.
Power play prowess and a costly penalty:
The Rangers struck early on the power play. A Vincent Trocheck zone entry deflected off a Carolina stick and right to Artemi Panarin along the boards. He backhanded a pass to Chris Kreider as he crashed the slot, beating Frederik Andresen for his seventh goal of the season. The assist extended the Breadman’s point streak in his 600th NHL game to ten contests.
The Blurshirts, energized by the Madison Square Garden crowd, continued to dominate play. Panarin rang the post, then found Trocheck for a chance from the slot that missed the target. Reigning coach of the month, Peter Laviolette continued to award his star forward with extra shifts for his fine play as Panarin skated with Mika Zibanejad and Kreider for a bit.
The Rangers were feeling good, up 1-0 and 9-0 in the shots on goal department. However, a too many men on the ice penalty gave the Hurricanes a power play. With this team, if you give them an inch, they’ll take it a mile. Carolina did that when Seth Jarvis split the defense and beat Igor Shesterkin to tie it. The Hurricanes kept the momentum and controlled the end of the first period and the beginning half of the second.