Leading up to Friday’s game against the Vegas Golden Knights, the New York Rangers scored two or fewer goals in six of their last eight games. Goaltender Igor Shesterkin has been a shadow of himself. Leading up to Friday’s game, Shesterkin was 19-11-1 with a 2.82 GAA and .901 SV%. Those numbers will worsen once the stats from the Vegas Golden Knights’ 5-2 victory over the Rangers get factored in.
The Rangers are in a funk, however they are in first place in the Metro Division. This is also the second time the Golden Knights knocked off the Metro-leading Rangers in eight days.
The Golden Knights now have points in six straight games and are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. What’s impressive about this stretch is Jack Eichel has missed seven of the last 10 games. William Karlsson, Shea Theodore, and William Carrier missed all 10 games of this run.
Makes you wonder just how good this Golden Knights team can be when all members are healthy. Folks, there’s no need to wonder. The Golden Knights started the season 11-0-1 with all members healthy.
The opening period was very physical, much more physicality than finesse. The meeting between these two teams last week did not have much physicality at all.
The Golden Knights scored first, which was key to the victory. Coach Bruce Cassidy opted to keep Sheldon Rempal in the lineup over Brendan Brisson. Brisson opened the game’s scoring by driving to the net and deflecting a pass behind Shesterkin.
Blake Wheeler beat Adin Hill’s glove side to tie the game a short time later. The teams were tied going into intermission.
Keegan Kolesar started the scoring in the second period by causing a turnover at the Golden Knights blueline and sniped a shot over Shesterkin’s shoulder. Kolesar also had a big hit on Ryan Lindgren in the first period that knocked him out for the remainder of the game.
Jonathan scored the first of his three goals less than a minute later by tipping a shot from Ivan Barbashev. Marchessault added his second goal of the game off a shot from Barbashev that bounced off the wall behind the net. An empty net goal was added by Marchessault to complete the hat trick.
Kappo Kakko scored with the Rangers’ net open. A shot from the point hit Alex Pietrangelo and the puck bounced directly to Kakko.
The Golden Knights won this contest 5-2 and outscored the Rangers 10-3 in eight days.
Adin Hill was sharp in his second game back from injury. Hill looked confident stopping 36 of 38 shots from the Rangers.
Hill is 12-2-2 on the season with a 1.93 GAA and .936 SV%. Hill’s GAA and SV% both lead all NHL goaltenders.
The only downer about the victory over the Rangers is Pavel Dorofeyev left the game injured during the second period and did not return.
“Hill in both those games (Tuesday against New York Islanders and Friday against New York Rangers) in the first periods when the other teams were better than us, was able to keep us in it.” Coach Cassidy on Hill’s performance since returning from injury.
Cassidy was in a good mood during Friday’s presser and for good reason. The Golden Knights are playing great despite being down many key pieces of the lineup. “I had a guy named Eichel dragging that line (the top line) down.” Cassidy also mentioned he got Marchessault a freebie (empty net goal) against the Nashville Predators to get him going.
Cassidy and the Golden Knights have one game to go before the All-Star break against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night.