The New York Rangers are in first place at the moment in the Metropolitan Division. In fact, with 48 points, they have the second most points in the entire National Hockey League. Only the Tampa Bay Lightning with 49 points have more.
Over the last week, the Rangers have beaten the Lightning twice–4-3 in a tight shootout win on New Year’s Eve, and then a 4-0 win on January 2. Just when you think the Rangers might be in tough against the high-offensive powered Edmonton Oilers in the second game of a back-to-back on Monday at Madison Square Garden, they come away with an impressive 4-1 win. The Rangers’ win against Edmonton could have been considered one of their most complete games of the season, as the Oilers were completely outplayed in every facet imaginable.
The Rangers’s stars against the Lightning on Sunday were center Mika Zibanejad of Huddinge, Sweden, and goaltender Igor Shesterkin of Moscow, Russia. Zibanejad picked up his eighth career hat trick, while Shesterkin notched his fourth career shutout in making 38 saves. This was Shesterkin’s second shutout of the season, as he previously backstopped the Rangers to a 4-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on October 29.
Another Rangers player who is firing on all cylinders is defenseman Adam Fox of Jericho, NY. After 34 games, he leads the Rangers this season in assists (30). Fox actually leads all NHL defensemen in assists, and has the third most assists in the entire league. The only players with more assists this season are Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers (34), and Jonathan Huberdeau of the Florida Panthers. Remember Fox won the Norris Trophy last year, but you could argue he has been even better this season.
In order for the Rangers to continue their impressive start, they will need their leading scorer, Artemi Panarin back as soon as possible. Panarin is quarantining as part of the NHL’s coronavirus protocol, and will not be available tonight when the Rangers face the Vegas Golden Knights according to Mollie Walker of the New York Post.Read next
I never got over the loss to Kansas City. I can admit that now. The Houston game just reinforced the frustration from the previous game....