NEW YORK, NY – After a disappointing dropped point to the Maple Leafs, the New York Rangers turned things around with a strong win last night against the Las Vegas Golden Knights. The win sends the Blueshirts into their “bye week” and the NHL All-Star Break on a high. After 49 games played the Broadway Blues sit in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 62 points, six points behind the red-hot Devils and four points ahead of the faltering Washington Capitals. The Rangers have shown some very promising signs in January, taking 14 points from their last 10 games. There are still some question marks regarding the squad but Gerard Gallant has made some changes to the lineup that could settle things down going forward. The ineffective Sammy Blais was sent to Hartford for conditioning and the brass called up prospect Will Cuylle. Last night Cuylle slipped right into the Rangers’ 4th line and put his name into Rangers fans’ minds with a strong performance, including some big hits and a fight in the second period against the Knights. The 2020 2nd Round draft pick is a big, physical player that has a good scoring touch.
Last night Jaroslav Halak picked up his fifth win in a row and first on Garden ice with a stellar performance in net. He made a number of big saves in the first period to keep things level before the Rangers scored two goals later in the period to take the lead for good. He made 34 saves in the 4-1 victory and earned himself the #1 star on the night. It will be important for Jaro to continue his solid play down the stretch and give the Rangers a winning chance while giving Igor Shesterkin some rest to keep him fresh for a potential playoff run.
Head Coach Gerard Gallant has shuffled the lines a lot lately but last night’s combinations seem to be the most effective with the current squad. The Kid Line of Filip Chytil centering Kaapo Kakko and Alexis Lafrenière is getting back to their form from last year’ playoffs. Chytil is having and outstanding run and has been the best Rangers forward for weeks. Kakko has played well also and even Lafrenière has rescued his season from the dust bin with some strong performances of late.
Vincent Trocheck centered Chris Kreider and Barclay Goodrow last night and that line was responsible for both of the Rangers’ first period goals. Trocheck scored his first goal in what seems like years and Kreider had a goal in what was a good performance for the struggling winger. Kreider had a rough game in T’ronna Wednesday night but he played well last night with a number of good defensive plays and scoring chances.
The New York Hockey Rangers still have a long way to go this season and they will be looking to add on at the NHL Trade Deadline. Until then, the Rangers can enjoy their break after a win against a gook Knights team.