It was a game that could have gone either way for the most part, but the Blueshirts emerged victorious. Your New York Rangers beat the Minnesota Wild, and this game was tight through 40 minutes. The Rangers would have lost this game under Gerard Gallant, but Peter Laviolette kept his team calm, and they could extract two points from a tough Minnesota Wild team.
It started in the first when Vincent Trocheck scored for the Blueshirts. Erik Gustafsson found a beautiful pass into the high slot to pick up his 200th career NHL point with this helper, and Trocheck found the twine again. Lafreniere also got an assist on this goal, but we will discuss him later. At the end of the first, it was 1-0 Rangers, and the shots were 14-2 Rangers. It was domination.
Then it wasn’t. At the point, Ryan Hartman played a simple pass to Brock Faber, who let the puck go. It deflected off Brandon Duhaime and past Louis Domingue to find the back of the net and tie the game up at one. This period started to become more even, but it never felt like either team was in complete control throughout the game, which is a good sign.
Early in the third period, Trocheck played a pass to Artemi Panarin. Panarin had a beautiful head fake to sit Jonas Brodin down, and it was a simple pass to Alexis Lafreniere, who tapped home his fifth goal of the season to give the Rangers a lead they would not relinquish.
On the powerplay later in the game, Blake Wheeler would get his first goal as a New York Ranger. Assisted by Will Cuylle and Lafreniere on the powerplay, the Blueshirts took a stranglehold. This was a three-point game for Lafreniere, the first of his career. Wheeler finally got the monkey off his back in terms of the pressure of scoring his first for the Rangers, and Cuylle continued his brilliant start to his NHL career.
Artemi Panarin would hit the empty net with assists by Vincent Trocheck and Jacob Trouba to make it 4-1 and end the game comfortably. It was a three-point night for Vincent Trocheck, who is making a case to be the second-line center regardless of whether Filip Chytil is healthy. Panarin is now up to 22 points on the season, and the Rangers avenge their loss in Minnesota tonight.
Louis Domingue was also a sparkling performer on the night, stopping 25 of 26 on his first start in the NHL for years. He’s proven once again he can be a competent netminder at the NHL level if the Blueshirts need him to come up and take the reigns for some time. The right-handed netminder showed that he was still capable, and the Rangers won the game for him.
This was a complete effort from the Blueshirts, and there’s very little to be upset about. With no Shesterkin, no Quick, no Chytil, and no Fox, the Rangers won anyway. Continuing to have the points roll in with the team injured could see this roster run away with the division. It’s been an excellent start to the season, but there’s a long way left before discussing the playoffs.