This was a game that looked like a rebuilding team that is dealing with injury issues against one of the best teams in the league, and that is because it is what this game was. While the Chicago Blackhawks have been decimated with injuries, the Rangers were able to get going and turn the page on that thumping defeat at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes with a 4-1 win over the Hawks at home.
New York would take the lead through their top line. It's not a second line anymore, the Artemi Panarin - Vincent Trocheck - Alexis Lafreniere line is the Rangers best. A great turnover from Trocheck allows Lafreniere to carry the puck up the ice. He sets up Panarin, and the breadman fires home to make it a 1-0 Rangers lead. It was just what the doctor ordered after an underperformance against the Carolina Hurricanes last time. Panarin's now on a 6 game point streak, and he's got 52 points on the year.
New York would get a lucky bounce to double the lead on the powerplay. Petr Mrazek thought that this puck was kicked in, and I don't blame him. Mika Zibanejad found Trocheck flying through the slot, but his shot it tipped onto the bar. Chris Kreider comes behind and seems to sweep it in with his foot. Even Kreider himself didn't seem to expect it to count, but the tally stayed on the board, and the Rangers lead doubled.
Colin Blackwell would score a beauty to get it back, because of course he would. A great stretch pass from the recently claimed Jayson Megna sent Boris Katchouk up the ice. He played a beautiful pass to the former Ranger. He sits Shesterkin down, and celebrates a goal against the team he left when he was selected in the expansion draft to go to Seattle. It was a difficult moment for the Rangers, but we would go into the intermission at 2-1, New York.
Trocheck would carry the puck up the ice and into the offensive zone. Panarin would receive the pass and send it over to the right point for the Ranger captain. Jacob Trouba just lets it fly, and it solves Petr Mrazek, and the Rangers two goal lead is restored. Mrazek was not happy with himself after that one as it beat him at the near post. It's a goal you want a netminder in this league to stop, but with Chicago sitting 31st of 32 teams in the NHL, you can see why they are where they are.
It wouldn't be long before the Rangers compiled their lead. Will Cuylle came into the zone and drove to the net. Forcing both defensemen and the netminder to respect his threat, he sends a beautiful pass across the ice to Jimmy Vesey, and he just couldn't miss as Mrazek was unable to get across to stop the sliding shot from Vesey.
New York would have chances from here to extend their lead, but they didn't need it. Brennan Othemann looked like he belonged in his NHL debut, albeit against an easier opponent than most the Rangers will face. It was everything we could have asked after that poor effort against the Carolina Hurricanes last time out. They win 4-1 on home ice, and add two points to their total in the Metropolitan Division standings.