I could just leave it at that and end the blog immediately. But I won’t because I want to talk about how the New York Rangers stomped a hole in the New York Islanders’ chest at MSG tonight. If there’s one thing I love more than the Rangers getting a win, it’s the Rangers getting a win over the Islanders and it’s even sweeter when the win comes via bloodbath.
The magical wheel of starting goalies landed on Alexandar Georgiev tonight with Henrik Lundqvist serving as backup and Igor Shesterkin being a healthy scratch for the second game in a row. Clearly the Rangers are just showcasing Georgiev at this point because we all know a trade for the 23 year old goaltender is imminent.
The night didn’t start off great for Georgiev as he surrendered a goal 18 seconds into the contest. Jordan Eberle was able to pot his 5th goal of the season off a feed from Brock Nelson. The Islanders would only be able to score one more time in the game and that wouldn’t happen until halfway through the third period. The goal was scored by Brock Nelson on the powerplay and was assisted by Eberle and former Ranger Derrick Brassard. Georgiev had a fantastic game in the crease stopping 32 out of 34 shots and finishing with a save percentage of .941 paving the way to his 11th win of the season. If this is the last time Georgiev mans the crease for the Rangers, I just want to say thank you.
Now let’s get to the fun part. The Rangers, mostly Artemi Panarin, exploding for 6 goals and humiliating the Islanders in their first meeting of the year.
Rangers started off their scoring by Brady Skjei firing a puck up the boards to Artemi Panarin who fired a shot on net, the puck hit Varlamov in the chest and trickled around the front of the net, Jesper Fast who was falling to the ice was able to swat his stick at the loose puck and just like that the game was knotted up 1-1.
The Rangers would score two more times in the second period. The first strike coming off a deflection from the stick of Chris Kreider, his 15th goal of the season, assisted by Skjei and once again Artemi Panarin. That’s his third goal in his last four games. Heating up right in time for the trade deadline. Thank you Chris, much appreciated. 2-1 Rangers.
The Rangers second goal of the period would come from the stick of Adam Fox who sniped a shot through Varlamov while skating down the boards. Another goal for the Rangers, another assist for Artemi Panarin. His third point of the night and we are only halfway through this game. MVP anyone? 3-1 Rangers.
The Artemi Panarin show would continue in the third period but instead of picking up more assists, he decided to finish and score some goals of his own. Not even a minute into the period, Panarin was able to pick up a loose puck at the blue line and take it himself on a breakaway. He made a few small moves and slipped the puck past Varlamov for the Rangers fourth goal of the game and his fourth point of the game. Panarin is a living cheat code at this point. 4-1 Rangers.
Panarin would find the back of the net one more time in the third. Eight minutes and fifty four seconds into the period Ryan Strome found Panarin streaking to the net with nobody in his vicinity. Strome passed it from the boards and hit Panarin in stride who shot the puck right through the five hole for his second goal of the game and his fifth point on the night. Pretty good for a guy who we “overpaid’ for, right Islander fans? 5-1 Rangers.
The Rangers scored the final goal of the night a minute and twenty seconds later on the powerplay, Jacob Trouba was able to find the back of the net for his 7th goal of the season, assisted by Adam Fox and Filip Chytil. 6-1 Rangers. It’s a massacre.
As I said earlier, the Islanders scored late in third period to make the score 6-2 which would end up being the final. It was super nice of Georgiev to give them a pity goal late in the game.
So after his 5 point night tonight, Artemi Panarin is sitting at 67 points on the year. 26 goals and 41 assists. His season high in goals is 31 and he’s 5 behind it with 37 games left to play. It’s unfair to the rest of the NHL at this point. If the Rangers play and Panarin doesn’t register at least 2 points we should be worried. It is without a doubt that Artemi Panarin will go down as one of, if not the best New York Rangers free agent signing in team history and I feel beyond comfortable saying that and we’re only 45 games into his 7 year contract.