New York Rangers dominate the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center

Feb 22, 2024; Newark, New Jersey, USA; New Jersey Devils defenseman Simon Nemec (17) reacts after an
Feb 22, 2024; Newark, New Jersey, USA; New Jersey Devils defenseman Simon Nemec (17) reacts after an / John Jones-USA TODAY Sports
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The New York Rangers went to the Prudential Center and beat up the middling New Jersey Devils. They scored five times, and Igor Shesterkin sparkled as the Rangers ran away 5-1 winners in the Garden State. A good win to make it nine straight wins for the Blueshirts, who now sit just a point back of the Vancouver Canucks in the overall league standings in the race for the Presidents' Trophy.

The controversy started when the Rangers were assessed a major penalty when Matt Rempe hit Nathan Bastian up high. He was given a major and a game misconduct for the hit. It wasn't intentional, and part of it was Rempe being the size of a skyscraper, but you can't touch the head anymore, and it was probably the right call. As much as we all hate the referees, Rempe can't be doing that 10 seconds into his first game against the Devils.

On the powerplay, the Rangers would get the party started. New York's big weapons were all in their usual places, and they opted to set up the fearsome Zibanejad one-timer. He faked the slapshot and recovered the puck after it bounced away from him to slide it under Nico Daws, and the Rangers led early. Making this a multiple-goal lead would allow the team to force the Devils' heads down and command the remainder of the game.

During some 4-on-4 towards the end of the first period, Jonny Brodzinski would pressure Luke Hughes in the corner. Hughes would play an excellent pass onto Alexis Lafreniere's stick. You're right if that doesn't make sense because Hughes is a Devil. A perfect pass onto Lafreniere's blade allowed the Quebecois native to rip it home past Daws to double the Ranger lead at the Rock.

New York would strike again on a two-on-one when the Devils were changing. Artemi Panarin took the pass from Igor Shesterkin and created an odd-man rush. If at any point you doubted Panarin's ability to get this puck over to the other Ranger, you were wrong, as he found Chris Kreider's stick perfectly. Kreider put the puck home to extend the Ranger lead further as the Rangers continued to dominate in this one.

In the final minute of the second, the Rangers would strike again. Alexis Lafreniere would bury his second of the game as he roofs one on Nico Daws, and the rout of the Devils was on in Newark. Truly extracting a pound of flesh for the way last season ended. This team proved its doubters wrong and forced some critics to eat their words. Assists to Trocheck and Panarin as the Quebecois were now on hat-trick watch.

New York would make it five with their vaunted second line again. Panarin came down the wing quickly on a two-on-one and found a pass across the ice to hit Vincent Trocheck at the back door. There was no chance for Daws, and it's now 5-0 Rangers. A message well and truly sent to those in Jersey that last year was a fluke. This would not happen again, and the Rangers would prove themselves a true contender.

Jack Hughes would break the shutout bid as he walked in and danced through the raindrops before firing off a low shot that beat Shesterkin between the wickets. It was disappointing for the Russian netminder not to get the shutout, but the Rangers had already put this one to bed, and they could ride it out to a solid win in Newark.