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Rangers rally to defeat the Kings 5-3, Reaves traded to Minnesota for pick

November 23, 2022, 3:44 PM ET [121 Comments]
Jan Levine
New York Rangers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
New York rebounded from a horrific first period to find their legs in the second and pull out a win in the third. The Kid Line led the way while Chris Kreider tallied the game-winner and added an empty-net marker to seal the win. Igor Shesterkin made 35 saves and was strong again throughout the contest to give the team (0-4-2 originally) their first win after trailing following the first period. The Blueshirts close out their four-game road trip with a contest against the Ducks tonight.

Update as of 2pm: Per Kevin Weekes, Ryan Reaves was traded to Minnesota for a 2025 5th round draft pick. The Wild had been rumored to be kicking the tires on him, per Michael Russo. With the trade, the Rangers get down to 22 players and clear $1.75 mil in cap space, which will help with trade deadline room.

Reaves, who was acquired prior to the 2021-22 season for a third round pick, signed a one-year. $1.75 million extension shortly after arriving in New York. He helped changed the culture in the locker room and was best known for his pugilistic ability and the "Shesty, release us" before each game. New York needed the cap space and Reaves, a healthy scratch for seven of the last eight games and four straight, was expendable. Reaves requested a trade with the team in LA and GM Chris Drury was able to move quickly to meet that ask.

In dealing Reaves, New York clears the remaining $1.343M of No. 75's cap hit that equates to approximately $4.8M at the deadline. Per Cap Friendly, the cap room freed up by the deal means that with incorporating this savings, New York accrues $6.68M in cap space by the time the deadline hits. That most certainly plays.

The Rangers could use the cap relief for a scoring forward (Patrick Kane, Bo Horvat, Gustav Nyquist?) at the deadline. but don't rule out the acquisition of a third-pair left handed d-man (Jakob Chychrun, Carson Soucy, Dimitri Kulikov?), depending on if Zac Jones or Libor Hajek grabs a hold of the role. This deal provides the team much needed flexibility and available options lacking previously.

Game recap:

A few thoughts:
1) The Kid Line - the need for production was paramount for that trip to remain together. Despite the fine advanced metrics, the results were not showing up on the scoresheet. Last night, as Vince Mercogliano noted, the trio actually was out-shot, 3-7, but they were the only Rangers' line not to finish in the negative for scoring chances, according to Natural Stat Trick, with an even 6-6 exchange while they were on the ice.

All three players played key roles in the win. On Braden Schneider's tally to make the score 2-1, Filip Chytil helped create the initial turnover while Alexis Lafrenière and Kaapo Kakko were creating traffic to screen Cal Peterson. New York's third goal was scored by Kakko in front of the net on a delayed penalty. Chytil's shot was stopped, but Kakko was able to get the rebound and put it in the open net.

The goal was Kakko's fourth of the season, ending a stretch of just one goal scored in 15 games. Unfortunately, after the tally, Kakko was snakebit again. Kakko hit the post and was robbed by Peterson in the third, but he might have been quicker on the shot, though that is quibbling. His linemates each had a pair of assists, tallying each on the first and third goals scored.

2) Chemistry and game knowledge - the two goals by Kreider came about due to each. On the game-winner, credit goes to Mlka Zibanejad, first for the read and recognition and then the pass that led to the score Kreider - who scored his 36th game-winning goal, passing Steve Vickers and tying Adam Graves for seventh in Rangers history and one behind Brian Leetch (37) in sixth - gave him credit post-game.

"It's something that he mentioned a little earlier, if you're coming down the strong side that sometimes there's space on the short pipe, so I just tried to put it there and there was space on the short side," Kreider said. "So, good coaching by Mika and a good play by Mika."

Jimmy Vesey made an unselfish play on the empty-net goal. He made the easy dish at the blue line that gave Kredier the breakaway tally. Rather than trying to make what could be a contested shot, he made the right play. Vesey has fit in better on the top-line than I expected. With the Rangers winning last night, improving to 2-0-1 on the road trip, don't expect any lineup changes tonight, save for one.

3) Shesterkin was brilliant when needed. The first goal scored by Kevin Fiala occurred when both Igor and K'Andre Miller were expecting an icing call that did not come. This hopefully will serve as a reminder to all that they always need to play until hearing a whistle. Shesterkin had no chance on Gabriel Vilardi's PPG, as he was left wide open when Adam Fox - who did extend his point streak to nine during the game - chased high and left the far post open.

After that goal, Shesterkin all but stoned Los Angeles, save for a third period goal. In the second, when New York took the lead, the defense was not foolproof. Shesterkin came up with several big saves to keep the team in it early and then maintain the lead after Kakko's goal. Tonight, after a heavy-ish workload, I expect Jaroslav Halak to be between the pipes.

4) Artemi Panarin showed much more jump in the first two periods than he has in the last few games. Still not to his usual standard and he has to go to the dirty areas more frequently, but signs of life. If he can get hot, that will take pressure off the rest of the lineup and open up the ice. But he looks to be finding his way rather than playing instinctively.

5) Defensively, the team improved after a horrific first. But they still allow the trailer to come down the ice wide open, resulting in high-danger chances. We saw that way too often again last night. In addition, handoffs and coverage in their own zone, even when they get beat, leaves a lot to be desired. The team has yet to fire on all cylinders and are 10-6-4 at the almost quarter pole.

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