It wasn’t just that the Rangers had lost two straight games for the first time this season. It was the way they lost because they were just thoroughly outplayed by Ottawa and Washington in those losses. A big bounce back effort against a real good LA Kings team was just what the doctor ordered.
Vincent Trocheck had three assists, Jonny Brodzinski had a goal and an assist and Jonathan Quick made 25 saves to beat his old team for the first time as the Rangers (19-6-1) put forth a complete game in beating the Kings, 4-1 at the Garden last night.
The win had a little more meaning for Quick who wasn’t pleased with the way his 16-year tenure with the Kings ended last season. The 37-year old was traded to Columbus last March 1st but did not play a game for the Blue Jackets as he was traded a day later to the eventual Stanley Cup winning Las Vegas Golden Knights. “It’s special. It’s a game that, this summer when the schedule comes out,you know when you’re playing them,” Quick said after a satisfying win.
The Rangers snapped their mini two-game losing streak while the Kings lost for the first time this season in regulation on the road. Rangers were 2 for 5 on the power play against a team that had killed off 39 of 41 power play opportunities coming into last night’s game. Rangers PK killed three of four Kings power plays.
The Rangers rediscovered their game as they were quick to the puck, solid in the neutral zone, they finished their checks and created a number of scoring chances, despite the game being mostly a defensive battle between two good teams. I thought it was exactly what we needed to do,” Laviolette said. “Just a really good start to finish game.”
Quick is now 8-0-1 with the Rangers. With Igor Shesterkin struggling a bit lately, you have to wonder if Coach Peter Laviolette will go with Quick in the next game Tuesday night against Toronto.
Things got a little chippy in a wild third period where 38 penalty minutes were called.
With the Rangers holding a 2-0 lead, a questionable interference call on Trocheck at 5:26 of the third period gave the Kings a power play, but Mika Zibanejad was also handed a ten minute misconduct penalty, leaving the Rangers even more shorthanded.
16 seconds later the Kings Quinton Byfield went off for slashing, Quick was called for roughing and LA’s Kevin Fiala, one of their leading scorers, was also given a ten minute misconduct.
Philip Danualt, who left the game in the first period after taking a puck in the face, took a beautiful feed from Adrian Kempe and put it past a helpless Quick to cut the Ranger lead to 2-1.
It would be the only goal that the Kings got against their former teammate as Quick, who made 15 saves in the final twenty minutes, delivered a couple of huge stops to deny Byfield and Carl Grundstrom to preserve the lead.
The Rangers got a power play opportunity when Alexis Lafreniere was called for roughing while Kempe was called for a double minor for roughing. Jonny Brodzinski cashed in with his first goal of the season to make it a 3-1 game.
Brodzinski, who replaced Zibanejad (who was in the penalty box) on the power play, took a feed from Trocheck and moved to the slot where he fired it past Kings goaltender Pheonix Copley for his first career power play goal at 11:32 of the third period.
Trocheck got his third assist of the night when he backhanded a pass through the crease to Will Cuylie who got his own rebound and buried the puck for his fifth goal of the season and a 4-1 advantage.
Following a scoreless first period, the Rangers scored the first goal for the first time in five games, keyed by a patented hard hit from Ranger captain Jacob Trouba, who leveled Trevor Moore behind the Ranger net. Less than two minutes later, the Rangers were on the power play when Zibanejad scored his 7th goal of the season to make it 1-0. “Jacob’s been unbelievable the entire year,” said an appreciative Laviolette.
Zibanejad capped off a pretty passing play that started with Panarin finding Trocheck at the right face off circle. The Rangers center was in his usual spot on the left side and took the pass and fired a one timer past Copley for the lead.
The assist gave Panarin a point in all 11 home games this season and he has now scored in 21 of 26 games overall.
Late in the second period, the Kings were trying to clear the zone when Nick Bonino used his hand to keep the puck in. Bonino backhanded a pass to Jimmy Vesey who got behind the defense and slipped a nifty backhand shot that beat Copley five hole and give the Rangers a 2-0 lead after two.
The Rangers improved to 9-2 at home. They’re 6-0-0 against Pacific Division teams and 10-2-1 overall against the Western Conference.
It didn’t hurt to have Barclay Goodrow back in the lineup, who returned after he was struck in the face by an errant puck during the Ottawa game Tuesday night. Goodrow wore a face shield and had a blocked shot in his return. “I thought him [Goodrow] coming back with what he just dealt with, I thought he played a heckuva game too,” Laviolette said.
Trocheck’s night gave him 25 points in 26 games and pushed him ahead of Chris Kreider for second on the team behind Panarin. Trocheck
For the Rangers back up goaltender, it was a memorable day where things went according to plan.
“It’s a long day you’re thinking you just want the game to start. Having never played them before, the way it ended there, you’re just kind of replaying alot of the memories throughout the day so,” said Quick. “You just want the game to start, once you get out there it’s a hockey game so you’re fully focused on that.”