Columbus, Ohio – The sigh of relief that could be heard all the way from this mid-American outpost to the suburbs of New York wasn’t much in response. Rangers win 5-3 over the Bluejackets Saturday night, but to the clean health bill Igor Shesterkin After he was kicked out of the match with 6:45 left, he was run over in the tuck by Alexandre Teixier.
“He’s fine, he could have come back, but he had to do the mandatory 10-12 minutes [under concussion protocol]Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said of Chesterkin. “Once he got on the bench, he said, ‘I’m fine,’ but we have to be safe.”
To that end, Gallant said the incident would have no bearing on his selection of starters on Sunday night when the Rangers face the Devils in the park.
“I was told there was no problem,” the coach said, and earlier indicated he might alternate with the goalkeeper for the first time this season.
Rangers, with just 16 goals in five-to-five in their first 13 games, scored four at full power on Saturday. They scored three times within 1:03 after trailing 2-1 at 6:56 of the second half.
First it was Chris Kreider (who added another power-up player in the third period), then it was Artemi Banarin (who actually scored in the first stage), and finally it was Jacob Troupa.
Backed by quick hits, Rangers played confident hockey with the lead. They blew up their two-goal lead in the third inning at Vancouver and Edmonton on November 2 and November 5, respectively, and nearly went four in the third inning on Monday against Florida.
Tonight, the Rangers dominated the puck and spent most of the time in the Columbus area while playing smart physical hockey on the right side of the disc after the blast.
“I think we’ve tried to focus over the past few weeks and games so that you can’t just sit around trying to defend the lead,” said Kreider, who leads the league with seven powerful goals. His best match for the season. “We have to keep playing and doing the things that make us successful.
“We have to play in an O, and if we’re playing from low to high, and we don’t force play and send pucks behind the net, it’s going to be difficult for them to provoke the attack. You just don’t want us to sit around and make them tip the ice. We talked about the positive things we wanted to do. in the third period instead of ruminating on the negatives [approach] We were trying to protect potential customers.”
Or, as Gallant put it: “No team is going to be really successful when they defend so much, and we defended so much in the first 13 games.”
The Rangers won over 50-50 seconds on Saturday. They forced the blue jackets to come 200 feet. They have kept the number of single rushes to a minimum. They received unremitting efforts from all four units and three defense tandems. Crider specifically cited the fourth line of Ryan Reeves, Kevin Rooney, and Dryden Hunt for “tilting the ice.”
Praising Kreider is the kind of thing Jaromir Jäger did in his heyday in New York, raising the fourth streak that then consisted of Ryan Holvig, Dom Moore and Jed Ortmayr. This is the kind of thing a leader does.
So was the jump on Texeier right after he scored a Columbus wing in a deflection before colliding with Chesterkin. There appeared to be a heightened awareness of the goalkeeper’s protection after Rangers failed to respond on Monday when the Panthers made it their game plan to storm the Bastille.
Creeder, though, disagreed with this analysis as he explained his reaction to the incident, with Texeier being directed toward Chesterkin by Patrick Nemeth.
“You guys might not have been able to see it, but there was definitely a response on Monday night. He’s not always visible,” Kreider, who has hit 11 goals this year, said. “This was on a different level. I didn’t really watch the play, I just saw the end result.
“I don’t know if he was pushed or not. I just saw our guard on the ice and I saw one of them [Texier] Lying beside him she just replied, I think.”
The Rangers responded over an extended stretch of slow play with this performance. It’s something to build on as they take the 8-3-3 mark in the park on Sunday, possibly with Shesterkin in the net.
You can exhale now.
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