Rangers have had a visceral response to the recent call to improve their five-on-five play.
But that’s only part of what secured a 5-3 win over the Red Wings on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.
Their power play and goaltending, which propelled them through a 7-0-1 record and into fourth place in the entire NHL, played just as much a role in the victory as their strong even-strength performance .
These were the same Blueshirts we’ve seen all season, only better. More complete, if you like.
Despite the silver lining, there were also some recurring issues for the Rangers, such as staying in front, which they did again as the Red Wings scored three times during their third-period surge.
“I liked the game, we just have to put a little asterisk next to it and talk about a few things in the third period, we’ll take care of it tomorrow,” said head coach Peter Laviolette. “I think the state of mind was right. The approach was good. We hit the post four or five times. We had some close range chances and a few breakaways, we could have pushed even more.
For 40 of the 60 minutes, the Rangers applied constant offensive pressure in all situations, scoring three goals at five-on-five and two on the power play.
Having scored four goals in the second period, the Rangers exploited the Red Wings with precision and intense effort.
They were suffocating in the offensive zone, no matter if they were skating at even strength or with a man in front.
Everything worked at the same level, just the way Laviolette likes it.
Vincent Trocheck doubled and scored one of each for his third multi-goal game of his tenure with the Rangers, while Artemi Panarin notched a power play assist and an even-strength goal to extend his opening streak by the season with a point at 12 games.
Panarin’s 4-0 goal at 11:21 epitomized everything the Rangers did well in five-on-five play.
After some hard work along the boards behind Alexis Lafrenière’s Red Wings net, the 2020 No. 1 overall pick went to a wide-open Panarin for a point-blank shot that the Russian winger wouldn’t miss. not to be missed – especially at the pace he’s going this season.
“I feel like he came (into) the year with more hunger,” Panarin said of Lafrenière, who has six points in 12 games. “It seems like he’s just feeling the game right now and skating fast, trying hard. It’s nice to see him like that.
Following their prolonged stint in the defensive zone in their most recent shootout loss at Minnesota, the Rangers refused to let themselves be cooped up in their own end Tuesday night – until the third period.
Laviolette said after the Minnesota game that he would have liked to see the Rangers get that extra score at the end of their three-goal first-period spurt, which was eviscerated by the Wild in their comeback victory.
The Rangers scored two more goals against the Red Wings, and it turns out they needed them.
Detroit made the Rangers sweat a bit in the final period, cutting their lead to two with 6:11 left in regulation. The visitors even pulled goalie Vile Husso with more than two minutes left in the period.
A high-scoring Red Wings team struggled in two of three periods against Jonathan Quick, who made 25 saves in his first start at the Garden.
The combined efforts in all situations, however, proved enough to achieve victory.
“I thought we had the right attitude and the right rhythm,” Laviolette said. “Really put the game where we wanted to put it from the start. »