Cardiac Kids key comeback in Rangers' 4-3 win over Cats
Down 2-0 in the second period, the Kid Line of Alexis Lafreniere-Filip Chytil-Kaapo Kakko kick started the team's engine to help carry New York to a 4-3 win. Each member of that trio had a goal and an assist in the victory. With the win, the Blueshrits stayed four points back of the Devils with nine games remaining and the two squads slated to match up Thursday at the Rock.
1) Kid Line - from the post-game notes, "when each member of that line gets a point in a contest, the Rangers own a 19-0-1 mark in the regular season and 3-1 record in the postseason." Yesterday, Kakko got the engines running with a gritty goal, sticking with the play in front of the Florida net to cut the deficit in half. Later in the season, Lafreniere showed his skill in beating Sergei Bobrovsky short side with a backhander to tie the contest. Up to 3-2 in the third on Patrick Kane's tally off Carter Verhaeghe's stick. Filip Chytil pounced on an Aaron Ekblad's turnover to score what ended up as the game-winning marker.
As Arthur Staple noted, Laf is now just four goals shy of his breakout, 19-goal season last year; Chytil is up to 21 goals and 41 points, far and away career bests. And Kakko at 36 points has more than his last two seasons combined. If the Kid Line can get back to where they were a month ago, this Rangers team becomes even more dangerous.
2) Slow starts: the comeback win - again - was nice, but can they please find a way not to be brutal in the first period. Limited to just three shots for the second straight game, the Rangers had to reach into their bag of tricks to find a way to pull out the victory. All too frequently since the All-Star break New York has come out behind the eight ball and slow to begin a game only to find their way. This pattern of play has not fully bitten then, but sooner or later, it will, despite the No Quit in NY and 21 comeback wins, tied for third in the league with Boston.
3) Special teams - one up, one down. The penalty kill was brilliant again. For the seventh straight game and 11th time in 12 contests, the Blueshirts did not allow a PPG. On the flip side, the power play continues to struggle despite the revamped personnel.combinations The man-advantage went 0-for-3 against Florida, extending their scoreless streak with the man-advantage to three straight games. They have now gone 3-for-23 on the power play since a 3-2 overtime loss to Penguins on March 12. Given past history, you wonder if the blender will be out again Tuesday against Columbus.
4) Jaroslav Halak was a somewhat surprise starter. With Columbus in town Tuesday and games in New Jersey on Thursday and Buffalo on Friday, I expect Igor Shesterkin to get the nod last night with Halak starting Tuesday and Friday. Now, look for Igor to go Tuesday and Thursday with Halak to be between the pipes Friday. Halak made 31 saves, including two huge ones late, including one point blank on Sam Reinhart, to preserve the 4-3 win.
5) Adam Sykora (second round, 2022) is on his way to join the Wolf Pack. Brennan Othmann (first round pick, 2021) might do as well when the OHL season ends, presuming Hartford, currently on the outside looking in, can find a way into the post-season Will Cuylle (2nd round, 2020) has 24 goals this season. That could be half the bottom-six in a year or two. in addition, Adam Edström, a sixth-round pick in 2019, could also join Hartford this week.