The New York Rangers remain undefeated at home after a wild 7-4 victory against the San Jose Sharks. For a box score, click here.
Well that was fun. Raise your hand if you thought the boys were going to blow it in the third period? I will fully admit my hand is raised high. Last years’ team brainwashed us to expect the worst. But same as opening night, this team didn’t quit. It’s nice to see the “find a way” Rangers again, even if it’s only been a couple of games.
So where to begin? Guess I’ll just start with the same player I started with after game 1 – Chris Kreider. Man is on a mission. If whatever needed to click finally clicked and this is the player we are going to get all year, it is going to be a fun year. I mean, I don’t even have words for this goal:
That’s just insane. And his hug of the referee is much better than running the goalie. Maybe he’ll get a reputation of doing that instead.
That was in the second period so let’s go back a little bit.
I feel confident in saying the Rangers dominated the majority of this game. In fact, they seem to have the Sharks number since a certain game back in October 2012. Wonder why that could be.
But as we saw all too well on Saturday, domination doesn’t always show on the scoreboard so after a very good first 17 minutes of the game which led to a 1-0 lead, the Rangers got into some penalty trouble. The call on Zibanejad was legit. You can even argue that the call on Fast was as well, although you don’t see that called that often especially when the team is on the penalty kill.
So the Rangers are 3-on-5 and Stepan and Nash go on a rush to the offensive zone. I’m not crazy about that in the first place because if they get trapped, the poor defenseman (in this case McDonagh) is basically screwed. But they did and they got a good chance. Then Nash gets tied up behind the net and from what I saw, got tackled. Last I checked that wasn’t legal. The referees decided to let the teams play on leading to an extremely odd-man rush the other way and a tie game with a minute to go in the period. You could argue the Rangers got themselves into that trouble by going for the offensive chance but it was a tough pill to swallow at that point in the game.
The boys got it back early in the second when Rick Nash, who with Buchnevich out was moved up to play with Zibanejad and Kreider, got a greasy one for his first of the season. Six minutes later was the Kreider goal above and the Rangers had a nice two goal lead to close out the scoring for the first forty.
With three and a half to go in the second, Dylan McIlrath showed his presence getting into it with the Sharks Tomas Hertl. Most Rangers fans remember Hertl from that game four years ago. That said, this wasn’t a fair fight and the referees quickly broke it up. I’ll admit I didn’t see what happened but I’m guessing Hertl did something cause McIlrath usually doesn’t fight non-fighters unless he has to.
Now to the third. Seven goals in twenty minutes. The highlight? Jimmy Vesey scoring his first NHL goal (just 21 seconds after Hayes got his first of the season). The kid was flying all game and you could tell he was close to breaking through. The smile on his face was as big as the building from the moment the puck hit the net until they officially announced the goal. You could tell he was soaking it all in and was trying not to smile too much as the roar of the crowd went up during the announcement. If there’s one thing MSG crowds get right is celebrating milestones of their players. Always the loudest cheer of the night.
That made it 5-2 with less than eight minutes to go. The Rangers gave one back a minute later and you could feel the tension start to build. Two minutes later, it was a one goal game. Then DeBoer got greedy and tried to pull Martin Jones. I’m not sure he made it to the bench before Zuccarello buried the empty net goal. Remember that missed call that led to the Sharks first goal? Pretty sure the Rangers got the makeup call right before this goal as Zuccarello definitely should have had a penalty earlier in the shift. The Rangers would add another in the final seconds to preserve the 7-4 victory.
I’m still not sure this team is built to try to outscore teams but they are closer than past teams have been. Either way, looks like we have a fun season ahead of us. The Rangers are next on the ice Wednesday night for a match up with the Detroit Red Wings, who destroyed the Senators 5-1 behind a hat trick from Rangers killer Mike Green in their home opener tonight. Hopefully Green got all his goals for the week out of his system already.
(Photo: Melissa Andus)