Rangers Hand St Lose the Blues

AP Photo/John Munson

The Rangers were showcasing their two newest players in the first game after the trade deadline, but it was a couple of the “old players” who helped power one of the best all around games of the season.

Igor Shesterkin made 26 saves for his second shutout of the season, Vincent Trocheck, Jimmy Vesey, Chris Kreider and Kappo Kakko scored goals while Artemi Panarin and Adam Fox each had two assists apiece as the Rangers blanked the St. Louis Blues, 4-0 at the Garden last night.

There were contributions up and down the roster, including from Jack Roslovic and Alex Wennberg who made their debuts on Broadway.

Roslovic skated on the top line with Kreider and Mika Zibanejad, while Alex Wennberg centered a line with Will Cuylle and Kakko. “It was awesome, Roslovic said. “Mika’s got some creative mind and it’s really fun to be a sponge. Kreid’s [Kreider] got a lot of ideas so it’s good to just listen to those guys. Try to follow along and get them the puck and try to give my best game too.”

The 27-year old Roslovic, who was acquired from Columbus, got 16:21 of ice time, and had a quality scoring chance midway through the first period but he was denied by Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington, who stopped 35 of 39 shots. Wennberg was on the ice for 15:12 and got on the scoresheet when he had an assist on Kakko’s goal in the third period.

Roslovic did a really good job just bringing speed, have the puck on his stick and create in the offensive zone and the line looked dangerous to me,” said Coach Peter Laviolette. “I thought Wennberg line with Kappo [Kakko] and Culls [Cuylle] were really good as well. Good defensively, generated chances. Power play, that unit got out there they did some good things with that as well. For them jumping into a new team, new system, new lineup, and a new building, it’s exciting but it can be challenging as well. I thought they played a really good game.”

Both new players were thrilled to be on the Garden ice for the first time as the home team as opposed being the visitors. “It’s amazing. It’s a dream come true playing here as an away team but being on the home team, Saturday night and get the win. Can it get better than that, no, not really,” Wennberg said.

Roslovic made a recent trip to the Garden, but as a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets. This time, a little bit different. “Saturday night at MSG, wearing this crest is pretty special so it was fun to get out there and just play my game,” he said.

Matt Rempe got a season high 11:08 of ice time and is developing as an NHL player as he strives to prove he is more than just a pugilist. Rempe even got some power play time at the end of the game.

It appeared Rempe had given the Rangers a 3-0 lead in the second period but the goal was ruled to not have completely crossed the goal line, a call that did not sit well with the Blueshirt faithful. “He’s [Rempe] played really well. I’ve said that outside of his size and his physicality that he brings, he’s done a good job of playing his game,” said Laviolette.

Zac Jones was in the lineup, replacing the injured Jacob Trouba who is expected to miss 2-3 weeks with a lower body injury, while Jonny Brodzinski was a healthy scratch.

Shesterkin made 14 saves in the first period, but only needed to make 12 more stops over the final two periods. The 28-year old, who was playing in his 200th career game, robbed Alexey Toropchenko from right in front late in the third period to preserve the 13th shutout of his career.

The Rangers were 3 for 6 on the power play and used the advantage to score the first goal of the game.

Panarin was up in the high slot when he fired a shot, looking for a deflection that he got when Trocheck deflected the puck and it went off of Blues’ defenseman Colton Parayko and past Binnington for a 1-0 lead. It was the 23rd goal of the season for Trocheck who continues to bring it every night. Panarin and Fox had the assists at 5:51 of the first period.

Late in the period, the Rangers took advantage of the Blues making a change. Barclay Goodrow found Vesey, who skated in on a breakaway and beat Binnington for his 13th of the season and a 2-0 lead with :23 seconds remaining.

Goody [Goodrow] made a great play to see me kinda taking off,” Vesey said. “Fortunately, their D had gone for a change so we got a good break. I was actually looking to pass to Rems [Rempe] but took the shot, luckily it went in.”

That was the only 5 on 5 goal of the game as the other three came on the power play, with two of those in the third period.

First, Kreider took advantage of a lucky bounce off the boards to score his 32nd of the year at 6:23 with Panarin and Fox each getting their second assists and then Kakko capped the scoring with his 8th of the season and first on the power play at 11:23.

The Rangers have won 9 of their last 10 at the Garden, 22-8-0 overall on 33rd street. In their last 18 games, the Rangers are 13-3-2.

The win kept the Rangers four points ahead of the second place and surging Carolina Hurricanes and the clubs will meet Tuesday night in Raleigh, but not before a huge home game against the New Jersey Devils Monday night at home.

We know this is crunch time. I don’t think necessarily we’re overly concerned with what other teams are doing but we’re aware of it,” said Vesey. “We get those guys [Carolina] one more time and that will be a big divisional game but we’re focused on ourselves.”

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