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Breaking Down The Rangers’ Final Fixtures of Their November Gauntlet

With injuries to Adam Fox and Filip Chytil, the New York Rangers have relied on every single rostered player in their November Gauntlet. The most challenging week of their season thus far began with an eight-goal thriller and a victory over the New Jersey Devils in Newark. The win was quickly humbled after Dallas scored six, with four past Igor Shesterkin last Monday. Despite that lacklustre performance, the Blueshirts have still avoided any losing streaks this season.

With only four losses on the year, Peter Laviolette’s squad has been remarkable by responding to defeats with victories. With two wins in the Keystone State and scoring seven past Linus Ullmark the Boston Bruins, the Rangers continue to prove their naysayers wrong no matter who their opponents are. Here are a few takeaways from New York’s final three fixtures from the past week.

The End Of Their November Gauntlet: A Steel City Shutout

After Igor’s first start in over two weeks, Lavy chose Jonathan Quick to start against the Penguins. This was not a surprise after what seemed to be Igor’s most disappointing start so far this season. Goals against aside, New York as a whole did not look sharp at all. Shesterkin’s rebound control was off the entire night. Leaving Dallas, Quick was determined to get his squad back into the win column. Let’s just say that he was able to do that all by himself.

After the early goal from the dangerous goal-scoring threat of Alexis Lafrenière, Quick and the Rangers provided a defensive masterclass. It is challenging to pitch a shutout, even more of a challenge against a team with Sidney Crosby on its roster. Entering Wednesday’s contest, Pittsburgh was (and still is) and red-hot hockey team. Yet, the Lafrenière backhand proved to be the decider in their 1-0 victory.

Quick has impressed all this season, and his start in Pittsburgh was needed after that awful performance in Dallas. His lateral movement was stellar, making numerous saves going from post to post. On the contrary, Wednesday’s Broadway Hat was awarded to whom many call the “heartbeat” of this Rangers’ squad in Ryan Lindgren.

The End of Their November Gauntlet: The Brotherly Love Beatdown

Fictional Boxer and Philadelphia icon Rocky Balboa once said, “If I change, then you can change. Everybody can change.” He might not have been talking directly to Igor Shesterkin and his performance against the Flyers, but it can be applied here. Igor stood on his head during Friday’s 3-1 win, showcasing the Igor everyone knows and loves. Apart from the Sean Couturier goal, Shesterkin was dominant inside of his crease. Yet, the main focus was on the opening two minutes of the game with a major drought coming to an end.

The weight is now off of the shoulders of Mika Zibanejad who notched not one, but two goals on the afternoon. Both were from feeds courtesy of Blake Wheeler who might have played his best game as a Ranger so far.

He might not have a ton of speed to his game, but his vision is impeccable. Playing on a line with Zibanejad and Chris Kreider is helping him prove that he has some game left in him.

The End of Their November Gauntlet: Homeward Bound For Boston

No matter what their result was on Friday, Saturday was setting up a matchup between two of the league’s best. Like New York, Boston came into Saturday playing their third game in four days. A lot of hockey can cause heavy legs and drained minds. Did we all have an 11-goal barn burner on our bingo cards?

The first and fourth lines are proving to be the hottest combinations, providing four of the seven tallies for New York. Chris Kreider added his twelfth and thirteenth goals of the season, notching one on the powerplay and the other on the penalty kill.

Tyler Pitlick scored his first as a Ranger and it was well overdue. They might be known for shutting down the opposition, but the fourth line has been finding chances at goal.

Even Jimmy Vesey added two points to his name, featuring a goal after drawing a high-sticking call on Boston’s Ian Mitchell.

Congratulations are in order for Nick Bonino, who got his first as a Ranger. For a player who does everything right, highlighted by his dominance at the faceoff dot, the Ranger bench enjoyed seeing the man called “Bones” finally find a place on the goal-scoring sheet.

With the 7-4 win over Boston, New York ends their November Gauntlet with a record of 4-1-0. They remain at the top of the Metropolitan Division with 31 points and possess an overall record of 15-3-1. Heads must remain to stay level, but it is more than okay to be excited about this hockey club and their spectacular start to their campaign.

Main Photo: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports


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