Tony D had a night that Joe D would’ve been proud of.
Joe DiMaggio had a number of games where he was the dominant player in his respective sport. Ranger defenseman Tony DeAngelo had a similar impact on a game in his respective sport.
DeAngelo scored a hat trick and added two assists for a five point night to lead the Rangers to a 6-3 win over the New Jersey Devils at MSG last night. “I had some real good chances to shoot, guys were putting passes right on my tape and real good chances there,” the 24-year old defenseman said after his memorable night.
DeAngelo tied two franchise records for most goals by a defenseman and the most points by a defenseman in a single game. Brian Leetch never had a regular season hat trick but he did have two five-point games in his career, while DeAngelo became the first Ranger defenseman to have a regular season hat trick since Reijo Ruotsalainen in March of 1982.
With less than five minutes left in the second period, DeAngelo completed his hat trick with a pretty wrister from between the circles that beat Devils goalie Mackenzie Blackwood. “Real good screens on the second and third goal, even on the first, DeAngelo said. “Goalie couldn’t see anything. Guys did a real good job in front and fortunately I was able to finish them there.”
Rookie goaltender Igor Shersterskin made it two for two as he stopped 46 shots in earning his second win in his second NHL game. “Thought he was really good when we needed him to be,” said Coach David Quinn.
The rap on DeAngelo has been decision making with the puck. At times, he would be reckless and take too many unnecessary chances. Quinn said DeAngelo has improved in that regard. “Throughout the season, he’s made better decisions on when to get involved offensively and when to not.”
DeAngelo set up the fabulous Artemi Panarin, who scored his 24th goal for a 1-0 lead. New Jersey tied the game on a shorthanded goal by Kevin Rooney, but DeAngelo’s first goal of the game and a power play goal by Chris Kreider gave the Rangers a 3-1 lead in the first period.
The Devils eventually tied the game at three in the second period before DeAngelo scored his second and third goals of the game to give the Rangers a 5-3 lead after two periods. Hats were flung onto the ice so there was a slight delay that gave DeAngelo a chance to reflect on what he had just accomplished.” It was cool,” De Angelo said, “I said between periods I had never had a hat trick before.”
Quinn was very complimentary of a player who is starting to mature into a solid NHL defenseman. “His vision’s uncanny, he’s as good a passer as I’ve been around. He just had it all going tonight,“ Quinn said.
DeAngelo’s night was memorable but even more important was getting another win after that tough four game road trip where the Rangers struggled to a 1-3 mark. “It was real good to get a win the goals were big for us too,” DeAngelo said.
Oh, by the way, the great “Bread Man” Panarin had an “off night” with a goal and two assists. The Rangers’ All Star now has a team leading 61 points (24 goals, 37 assists)
The Rangers have won two straight and are six points back of the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Rangers are going to need to have sustained success at the Garden if they hope to have a chance to make the playoffs. “It’s good to keep taking care of business on home ice, we struggled there before the Christmas break,“ said DeAngelo. “Since Christmas break I think 3-0 (actually 4-0) at home, got to start figuring it out a little bit on the road.”