Rangers ride balanced attack from revised lines to 6-2 win over Panthers
The Rangers' newly reconfigured lines paid immediate dividends in their 6-2 win over the Panthers. New York tallied twice in the second and three times in the third to earn the victory. The Blueshirts travel to Toronto, who defeated the Isles 5-2 on Monday, to face the Maple Leafs on Wednesday
Scratches: Blais, Hajek
A few thoughts:
1) For one game, three of the four modified lines produced offensively:
Panarin-Zibanejad-Kreider - a pair of goals and four assists scored by Panarin and Zib on just four shots with no goals allowed against. Kreider played his off-wing, but he and Panarin mixed and matched throughout the contest. Zib got his first on the PP, ending a 1-for-19 slump for the power play, set up by Panarin starting at the left dot, Zib at the bumper and Trocheck at the other dot with the trio interchanging resulting in Zib scoring on a one-timer from the left dot. The second goal by Zib was off the rush set up by a beautiful cross-ice pass by Panarin for the one-timer, top-shelf by Zib.
Lafrenière-Chytil-Kakko - two goals and four assists by the trio. Lafrenière tallied on a dirty goal down low, taking the punishment in front of the crease to put the puck in the net. The entire line put in the effort and worked hard to maintain possession, getting rewarded with the goal. The tally was Laf's first in 18 games as he finally ended the goalless streak. Chytil's tally came into an empty-net with the goal set up by a nice Kakko dish.
Vesey-Trocheck-Goodrow - the "new" third line got a greasy goal by Vesey. They worked the puck down low and continued to put in the effort with Vesey lighting the lamp. Vesey has shown the ability to move up and down the lineup as has Goodrow while Trocheck is now playing with more defensive minded wingers. The goal was gravy, but the key was the work that led to the goal. They out-shot the Panthers, 7-4, and led all Rangers' lines with five high-danger chances, according to Natural Stat Trick
Kravtsov-Leschyshyn-Gauthier is in essence a mish-mashed, misfitting fourth line. They saw the least amount of ice time by far, Kravtsov 8:05, Leschyshyn 9:07 and Gauthier 8:45, yet they were still out-shot, 8-0. I would be shocked if this trio remains together for too long but unsure who ends up back in the lineup or on that line.
2) Adam Fox just continues to amaze. An assist and a breakaway goal set up by a great read in center ice, deft turn of his stick to deflect the puck into open space, ability to get back the defender and then deke of Alex Lyon, who was not particularly good in the contest, to score into the open net.
3) Igor Shesterkin was on his game with 33 saves and he just missed an empty net goal by inches. New York was outshot 22-13 the first two periods, not looking great at times, but Igor came up big when needed to enable New York to lead 3-1 after 40 minutes. The crowd was pulling for the empty netter, as Florida pulled their goalie down 5-1 with more than nine minutes remaining. Igor's shot looked like it would be the one but just went wide.
4) Coach Gerard Gallant was not thrilled post-game. The driver for his feelings was likely because the Rangers were out-shot, 35-26 overall, committed 14 giveaways and went long stretches without much offensive push. But they scored five goals and took advantage of the chances they received, so I would be surprised if we see a change for Wednesday's game.