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Grand Theft Shesterkin, NYR win 5-4 on Wennberg's OT goal, lead series 2-1

May 27, 2024, 3:08 AM ET [303 Comments]
Jan Levine
New York Rangers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
In a game the Rangers likely had no right to win, the end score was New York 5 Florida 4 in overtime. The Panthers out shot attempted the Rangers 108-44 and seemingly were in the offensive zone at will all night. But Barclay Goodrow and Alexis Lafreneire each had a pair of goals to allow the Blueshirts to make it to overtime, then Alex Wennberg picked the best time for his first as a Ranger in the playoffs and second overall at 5:35 in overtime. The game was Grand Theft Shesterkin, as Igor was brilliant, especially in the third period when New York was cratered. Game 4 is Tuesday at 8pm.

Game recap:

Rangers lineup for Game 3 vs. Panthers:




Scratches: Vesey (upper-body injury), Wheeler, Brodzinski, Jones, Ruhwedel, Edstrom and Domingue

A few thoughts:
1) Shesterkin should have been the first, second and third star. Despite giving up four goals on 38 shots, he was brilliant. Igor raises his game when needed, and boy was that case tonight, especially in the third period. His biggest saves came when he stoned Matthew Tkachuk all alone in front with less than a minute remaining after he stopped Carter Verhaeghe twice.

It's almost impossible to describe just how good he was in a contest where New York was pinned in their own end for large stretches and the defense looked almost invisible. But each time a scoring chance arose, Shesterkin was up to the task. New York should just let him recover and sleep until Tuesday am given his work and stress level.

2) Game: Vince Mercogliano summarized Florida dominance, which pretty much describes the game. "The Panthers out-attempted the Rangers, 108-44, with a high-danger scoring chance differential of 15-7 and expected goal share of 3.83-1.69, according to Natural Stat Trick. And this one might be the kicker: With their best player, Matthew Tkachuk, on the ice at five-on-five, the attempts read 35-4 in Florida's favor."

What's even scarier about the above is that New York carried play in the second period. But in the first and especially in the third, it was all Florida. Down the stretch, the Rangers just tried to play for overtime and almost got burned. New York got seven saves from Shesterkin in the final 4:53 of regulation, several of which were due to the Rangers icing the puck five times in the final 2:06 of the stanza as they were hanging on for dear life .

The rope-a-dope worked in game 3 but it's not truly a sustainable strategy. New York has to find a way to carry play to take pressure off Igor and avoid the myriad of penalties. You can argue some were ticky tack but the Blueshirts put themselves in the position for them to be called.

3) Defense: woof bad. Ryan Lindgren is a warrior, blocking six shots while adding two assists, including the helper on the game winner. Braden Schneider also blocked six shots and had a few good moments. Erik Gustafsson was the best of the rest, which isn't saying much, but I do think he had a pretty good game overall.

K'Andre Miller - brutal. His weak clearing attempts led to the first two goals against, both scored on the PP by Sam Reinhart. He needs to substantially pick up his game.

Jacob Trouba - three minor penalties, including a double minor. His attempted chicken wing on Eva Rodrigues resulted in a double minor. If he had connected to his head, similar to his attempt on Martin Necas, he would have been suspended. You can argue that he deserves to have a hearing and be suspended for the attempts. He has to cut this garbage out. The coaching staff needs to tell him this and he has to be smarter. Because if not, he will cost the team a game, which could also happen due to his poor defensive play.

Adam Fox is clearly limited and playing on one leg. He can't keep up speed wise and that lack of lateral movement is also impacting him on the PP. New York may have to try Gustafsson on the point with the man-advantage having hit a major skid.

4) Laf/Goodrow/Wennberg - The two goals by Laf, each on the backhand, showed his skill. On the first, he took a perfect pass from Vincent Trocheck, created separation and wnet top shelf. On the second, he showed his creativity and skill. toe-dragging the puck to create some space, then beating Sergei Bobrovsky low. Lafreniere now has six goals in the postseason. Confidence begets confidence and Laviolette's trust in Laffy created that initial confidence. He is becoming an offensive beast.

Goodrow matched Laffy goal for goal. The odds you could have gotten before the playoffs that Goodrow would score six goals this postseason likely would have been astronomical. Yet here is where we are. Goodrow got his first on a perfect tip, aided by an excellent Matt Rempe screen. His second, shorthanded, was set up by Trocheck and Goodrow just ripped the shot past Bob. For all the criticism lobbed at Goodrow for his contract, he has proven to be invaluable in the playoffs.

Wennberg had the coup-de-gras. in overtime, he scored his first in the playoffs as a Ranger after lighting the lamp just once in 19 games after coming to New York. Kaapo Kakko and Jack Roslovic did the dirty work after the draw to get the puck to Lindgren at the point. His shot on net was tipped home by Wennbeg, who was left all alone in front by the Panthers. Wennberg has been solid at the third line center, save for scoring. Today, he rectified the latter.

5) Lines: with Jimmy Vesey out, Kakko got back in. We saw on Gustav Forling's tying goal in the third that Filip Chytil is defensively challenged at wing, as he mistakenly vacated his assignment. Rempe was effective in his 4:07 of ice time, but was called for another questionable penalty after a check on Reinhart. Plus, if he is going to sit the entire third period and overtime, not sure how you can maintain keeping him in the lineup. I could see Blake Wheeler returning in Game 4 with Rempe back in at home due to New York having the last line change.

Zib and Chris Kreider were invisible, as was Artemi Panarin. The third line was extremely solid while Goodrow carried the fourth line, though Will Cuylle was solid enough. I am not expecting wholesale changes but New York has to pick up their level of play and performance.

Grand Theft Shesterkin. Florida was by far the better team but New York has a 2-1 lead. The Panthers can take some solace in how they played, figuring another effort like this and the series will be 2-2 heading back to New York. The Rangers likely cou;dn't play any worse, yet found a way to win, and have to expect they will be better. A win, by any means possible, and the Rangers will be one game from the Stanley Cup Final.

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