The Rangers (23-21-4) limp into the break off two straight losses, falling 4-2 to the Islanders, The Blueshirts dug a 4-0 hole before scoring twice on the power play to cut the deficit in half. Artemi Panarin missed the game with an upper-body injury, giving us all a view of what the lineup would have looked like if he hadn't signed with the Rangers this off-season. Alexandar Georgiev made 14 saves in the loss for the Blueshirts, who are now off until January 31.
David Quinn Post-Game
, a few quotes regarding Panarin, taken from Adam Rotter's transcription:
On Panarin: “he has an upper body issue and 50/50 throughout the afternoon on whether he was going to play, by the end it just didn’t seem like the right thing to do. We don’t think it’s long-term, that is the update.”
On Panarin’s injury, “it’s probably five days. He’s had an issue before with this and it reoccurred.”
Could he have pushed through, “it just didn’t get a lot better. He was a game-time decision against Columbus and he played and it didn’t get any better.”
Will he go to the All-Star game, “Jeff and JD are dealing with that now.”
The good news is New York has nine days off between games. Panarin, the Rangers' leading scorer with 68 points (26 goals, 42 assists), was ruled out of the All-Star Game, replaced by Chris Kreider. A bit surprised, Kreider, who hopefully will be in the fastest skater competition, just keep the goalies out of the way :), and not Mika Zibanejad, is replacing him. Maybe Zib had unbreakable plans, which is why he isn't going. So much for those Panarin All-Star Game jerseys sold at MSG today.
Seeing the Rangers without Panarin pretty much displayed how much he means to the team, which is why some have felt he deserves Hart Trophy consideration. Hard to argue after witnessing the team's inability to finish Tuesday despite controlling action for good stretches of the game.
A few thoughts:
1) I thought the Rangers actually played a pretty good first two periods
. Was disappointed in the lack of push the first half of the third period. The Blueshirts didn't get any puck luck, hitting a pair of posts, though the Isles hit at least one, and two goals against deflected in off of Ryan Lindgren, who have a rough game and was crunched by Ross Johnston. Some wanted a five-minute major, but Lindgren took forever to play the puck and turned his back, which is likely why a major was not called, with the penalty itself possibly mildly questionable.
2) Kaapo Kakko
- finally a one-timer at the end of the game. Deserved to be moved up to the top line for Brendan Lemieux, who replaced Panarin to begin the game. Kakko is heading to Finland for some R&R. If he can finish like Andrei Svechnikov did last season - hat tip to Vince Mercogliano for pointing that out - the Rangers will be ecstatic. The break comes at a very good time for Kakko, who needs the time off.
- can they win a damn draw. Zib won 40.9% of his draws, Filip Chytil 14.3% Not good and this had been an issue all season. Why the team can't figure out a way to fix the issue is beyond me.
4) Pavel Buchnevich
still is snake bit. He was robbed in the first period by Thomas Greiss. Buch got some revenge, finally tallying on the power-play in the third, but he really has had no luck this season.
Kreider added a goal, his 17th to go with his 15 assists in 48 games, on the same overall man-advantage, which came after Scott Mayfield received a four-minute penalty for spearing Lemieux. The two goals though ended up as just window dressing for the final score. Zib assisted on each marker.
Ryan Strome, who had a bad game overall, taking another minor penalty, thought he scored for the Rangers at 17:58. The Islanders challenged for offside and the goal was overturned on video review, which determined Jesper Fast entered the zone illegally prior to the goal. Look at the video above at around the three-minute mark. Fast's back leg was in the air as he cross the blue line, resulting in the offsides, Can we institute a plane of verticality rule, where if you run a line from the skate straight down to the ice and the player is on-sides, then on video review, the goal counts. Such stupidity.
5) Igor sent down to Hartford during break:
Shesterkin was sent down to likely see some work while the Rangers are off. So why the heck would not reward him and allow him to play in the game? Now if the AHL had a rule that he might be in the minors before games started tonight to be eligible, then okay. But if not, seeing that you want to find any reason to reward him and make sure he stays in North America and this is an easy perk that he earned, not allowing him to suit up makes little sense to me.
6) Lias Andersson - today’s NY Post reported the below on Andersson. Glad to hear that terry has been a thawing in the relationship for both sides. My view is: a) if this is a mental health issue, which hasn’t been confirmed, then New York needs to get Andersson the help he needs. b) if problems exist within the organization, the Rangers must resolve them so that they don’t inflect their organization. c) assists with value shouldn’t tossed be tossed aside. Even though Andersson has not remotely lived up to his draft status, he still has value.
There has been a thaw in the relationship between Rangers and Lias Andersson, The Post has learned. Andersson and team president John Davidson have been communicating directly for about the last 10 days, following the 2017 No. 7 pick demanding a trade and then being suspended by the Rangers when he left AHL Hartford to return home to Sweden just before Christmas.
Andersson, 21, has begun to skate/practice with Division II Kungälvs IK, with the Rangers’ approval.