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New York Extends Winning Streak To Nine With Help From A Former First Overall Pick

With their 5-1 win over their archnemesis in the New Jersey Devils, the New York Rangers have extended their winning streak to nine. It is their third-longest winning streak in franchise history, with 10 being the ultimatum. One more victory will tie Peter Laviolette‘s team with the 1939-40 and the 1972-73 Rangers. Thursday’s victory was an example of a netminder facing all kinds of pressure. Many people will be saying that it is all about Igor Shesterkin. His 39 saves should not go unnoticed, yet another Ranger had a breakout performance of his own. It looks Alexis Lafreniere and his play are keying the Rangers.

Alexis Lafreniere Play Helping Rangers Streak

You cannot have a winning streak without one initial win. However, before all of that, you cannot have a win without goals. January can now be labelled the “dog days” for the Rangers’ offence. Apart from their January 27 blowout over the Ottawa Senators, this team had trouble finding the back of the net. All-Star weekend came, it then left, and then all of a sudden, the Rangers could score once again. In their last three games, New York has tallied 13 goals. Thursday night saw another Broadway Revival hit the marquee, and it is one that fans have been waiting patiently for.

And The Tony Award For Best Broadway Revival Goes To…

Awards will be given out and the end of the regular season. One of the awards given out will be “Best Revival.” It will be given to a player who is considered over-the-hill and surprised many. On the other hand, it could also be given to a young player who has been playing under a microscope since being added to the roster as a teenager. If you are a gambling person, you might want to put your money on Alexis Lafreniere.

The nine-game winning streak has seen New York’s top forwards return to their projected forms. Artemi Panarin is still the magician on the puck that we all know and love. Since returning from injury, Adam Fox remains one of the best two-way defensemen in the National Hockey League. Even the bromance of Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad are padding their stats in both departments. Alexis Lafreniere is finally living up to the top-six potential he was given when drafted back in 2020. If you are still a skeptic, let’s dissect both of his goals from Thursday.

The goal off of the forced turnover from Jonny Brodzinski is an example of his awareness. It is important what you do with the puck, it is just as important what you do without it. Slowly creeping up to the crease of Nico Daws put him in a position for a high-danger scoring opportunity. Beating Daws on his glove side was the only option. We now move to his second of the evening.

The build-up of the second line is picture-perfect. The calmness of Panarin and the execution from Trocheck left Lafreniere alone on Daws, floating one glove-side once again. This alone is a game that will start the needed revival of Alexis Lafreniere.

Igor Is Perfect (So Far) In February

Many were doubting the play of Igor Shesterkin before heading into the All-Star break. With a save percentage below .900 and being the seventh goalie out of eight selected, 2024 did not start as planned for the Russian netminder. After his time in Toronto, Shesterkin has been playing like a man on a mission. That mission, in question, seems to be regaining the trust of the fans and the organization. It seems to be going well, so far.

In February, Shesterkin is a perfect 5-0-0 with a stellar save percentage of .945 and a singular shutout. It is remarkable how a player can flip a switch and turn his game around instantly. Months ago, many fans were questioning whether or not Shesterkin had lost a step. Whereas now, New York’s goaltender is destined to lead this team back into the gauntlet that is known as the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Both Shesterkin and Lafreniere are two examples of what it means to simply have a no-quit mentality.

New York embarks on another back-to-back slate this coming weekend with away fixtures against two Metropolitan Division foes. Saturday’s location is “The City of Brotherly Love” as the Rangers face off against John Tortorella and the Philadelphia Flyers. Then, it’s off to Ohio where the Broadway Blueshirts meet the Columbus Blue Jackets. Will the winning streak reach double digits?

Puck drop for Saturday is scheduled for 3 p.m. EST and 6 p.m. EST on Sunday.

Main photo by: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

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