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Recap: Kakko's Pair, Zibanejad's 40th Spur Rangers' Win

'A True Team Effort' as Shesterkin & Blueshirts Start Trip With 'W' in Dallas

by Michael Obernauer

DALLAS -- If there had been any sliver of doubt as to what kind of first steps the Rangers would take on a daunting and critical road trip, what kind of answer they would have for Saturday's disappointment on home ice, it took Artemi Panarin and Adam Fox all of 19 seconds to serve up a persuasive answer.

In reality, though, there just wasn't that much doubt. "We were confident as a staff that we were going to come out and play the way we were capable of playing," David Quinn said on Tuesday night. "Whether that was going to be good enough to win against a really good team, you were going to find that out."

The answer lay in those opening 19 seconds, and in a dominant opening 40 minutes that built up a four-goal lead by second intermission; then in a bendable but unbreakable third that secured the Rangers a 4-2 victory over the Dallas Stars in the opener of this three-game trip -- one that skips right along to Game 2 in Denver on Wednesday night.

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Recap: Rangers Suffer Slip-Up in Homestand Finale

Zibanejad Scores & Shesterkin Returns, but Devils' Four-Goal Second Sinks Blueshirts

by Michael Obernauer

With 20 minutes in the books on Saturday night, Madison Square Garden was buzzing once again and there was a lot on the table that Ranger fans could feel good about: Mika Zibanejad had scored yet again and the Garden was chanting his name. Igor Shesterkin was healthy and back, and the Garden was chanting his name, too. And with a chance to close more ground in the playoff chase, the Rangers were holding a lead against a bitter rival on a Saturday night on Broadway.

Inside the home dressing room, though, the Rangers saw trouble brewing.

"We didn't feel good at all after the first period," David Quinn said afterward. "It was nice to be up, don't get me wrong. But we didn't feel good at all about the way things were going in the first period even though we were winning."

Period 2 was barely a minute and a half old before the piper came for payment. Kyle Palmieri and an ex-Ranger, Freddy Claesson, each scored for New Jersey in the first 1:36 of the second period, and Travis Zajac and John Hayden added goals 25 seconds apart late in the frame, as the Devils rode a four-goal second to spoil the finale of the Rangers' four-game homestand, sending the Blueshirts to a 6-4 loss on Saturday night.

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Recap: Gimme Five! Zibanejad Goes Off in Rangers' Win

Center's Fifth Goal is OT Winner as Blueshirts Stun Caps & Pull Within Two Points of Wild Card

by Michael Obernauer

It was never enough for Mika Zibanejad. Even when he had drawn a penalty in the midst of a tie game on Thursday night, that wasn't quite enough, so with one goal already in his pocket, he scored another one during the delayed call. Even when he had his hat trick in the bag before you could blink in the third period, not enough. A fourth goal late in regulation? Nope.

"He gets the hat trick," David Quinn said afterward, "and he just doesn't stop."

The only thing that could stop Zibanejad on Thursday night was the fact that he'd just won the game and it was time to go home now. Because all he did up until then was author one of the signature performances in Rangers history -- he became the third player in the franchise's 93 seasons to score five goals in a game. And he propelled the Rangers to an exhilarating and unforgettable 6-5 overtime victory over the Capitals before a frenzied Madison Square Garden crowd that was put through the emotional ringer right up until Zibanejad brought down the house at the end.

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Recap: Rangers Go Toe-to-Toe With Champs in Loss

Late Bounce Goes Blues' Way in 'A Big-Boy Hockey Game'

by Michael Obernauer

The scoresheet and the standings will say, very much in black and white, that the Rangers lost a game on Tuesday night. But David Quinn was among those at Madison Square Garden who saw in color the 60 minutes his Blueshirts brought to their home rink against the defending Stanley Cup champs, and came away only reinforced in his belief that as his young group of Rangers comes along, context matters.

"Obviously it is all about winning or losing," the Head Coach said after Tuesday's game, "but you also have to take into consideration: Do you give yourself a chance to win? And that was a big-boy hockey game right there."

In the 6,500th regular-season game in Rangers history, the Blueshirts and the Blues met one another with an up-tempo, physical stalemate that lasted right up until the midway point of the third period, when Brayden Schenn got a bounce off a skate to score the tiebreaking goal, and the Blueshirts dropped a tug-o-war with last year's Cup winners and this year's Western Conference frontrunners, 3-1 on Tuesday night at the Garden.

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Recap: Blueshirts Drop Garden Matinee With Philly

Zibanejad Scores Pair, Panarin Point Streak to 13 as Teams Combine for Seven Special-Teams Goals

by Michael Obernauer

It would be fair to say that special teams had a little something to do with the outcome of Sunday's game between the Rangers and Flyers. There were eight goals scored at Madison Square Garden on Sunday afternoon; teams were at even strength for one of them.

"We just couldn't stop their power play," was how David Quinn put this game in a nutshell.

The power-play goals came early and often in this one, but specifically, it was the early ones that had the Blueshirts chasing a game from its very first shift, their late push falling short in a 5-3 loss to Philadelphia in the 300th regular-season meeting of the Rangers and Flyers.

Mika Zibanejad, earlier in the day named the NHL's Second Star for the month of February, scored twice on the first day of March to establish a new career high, and added an assist as well, while Artemi Panarin's pair of helpers stretched his point streak to a career-best 13 games and clinched his first 90-point season.

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Recap: Kreider Hurt as Rangers' Road Streak Ends

Winger Suffers Fractured Foot, Blueshirts Fall in Philly

by Michael Obernauer

PHILADELPHIA -- So, the Rangers are now 9-1 in their last 10 road games. It would be silliness to think the one loss erases the nine that came before it.

"We weren't going to go undefeated the rest of season," David Quinn said.

No one in the visitors' room afterward was taking a happy view of a loss, but trying, rather, to take in the bigger picture -- and considering the Rangers' record since the early part of January, considering that they were playing the last of three games in four nights on the road against a rested and home-happy opponent, and facing a goaltender who has found some sort of magic elixir in the banks of the Delaware River, the ingredients were there for the 5-2 loss the Rangers had to eat in Philadelphia on Friday night.

That's not the loss, though, that was so hard to swallow moving forward. That one occurred with a little over 12 minutes gone in the game, when Chris Kreider went down with what turned out to be a fractured foot. Quinn wasn't about to speculate afterward just how much time the Rangers will have to make do without such a crucial part of the late-season run they are on; regardless, they will have to make do.

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Recap: Fox Leads Rangers to Another Montreal Rally

Superb Night for Rookie as Blueshirts Beat Habs with Five Unanswered Goals

by Michael Obernauer

MONTREAL -- This can't be the script the Rangers bring with them when they go to Montreal, but this is how the story continues to unfold. They staged an epic comeback here on Nov. 23 that emerged as a turning point in their 2019-20 season; on Thursday night they returned to author a sequel, and while the plot of this latest one may have strayed in meaningful ways from the original, the pivotal scene - that is, the game-winning goal - turned out to be a shot-for-shot remake.

Adam Fox's goal with 7:39 remaining in Thursday's game easily could have been mistaken for Jacob Trouba's goal with 7:50 to play in the Rangers' visit here three months ago - the right defenseman shooting from off the right wall, into a Chris Kreider screen on Carey Price, the goaltender getting a piece of it but not enough as it squirts over the line. Cue the groans around the Bell Centre.

Fox, though, only continues to make it clear that he is a one-of-a-kind player. He was unrelenting on Thursday night, even during stretches when his teammates were struggling to find their footing, and the Rangers needed every bit of it - not to mention every save that Alexandar Georgiev made to keep their task manageable - as they erased a two-goal deficit with a five-goal outburst to beat the Montreal Canadiens, 5-2, their fifth straight victory and their extraordinary ninth straight on the road.

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Recap: Zibanejad's Missile Wins Record-Breaker for Rangers

OT Thriller at Coliseum is Blueshirts' Eighth Straight Road Win

by Michael Obernauer

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- If you had shut your eyes during overtime, it would have been hard to believe that the visiting team had won this game, not with the mighty roar that erupted once Mika Zibanejad scored to claim it for the Rangers.

Even with eyes wide open it was difficult for the human eye to make out the missile that Zibanejad launched on the first shift of the OT, striding onto a feed into space from Artemi Panarin and lighting the fuse on the kind of shot that a goaltender knows is in the net because he hears it whizz on by.

Maybe Semyon Varlamov saw the vapor trail, but by that time the puck had long since beaten him on his stick side and the Rangers had already come bounding off the bench to surround Zibanejad and celebrate another scintillating, down-to-the-wire win at Nassau Coliseum -- 4-3 over the Islanders in overtime to achieve something that no Ranger team has ever done.

Yes, despite the hordes of Ranger fans who had the place shaking in overtime, and who stayed around to cheer their team down the tunnel, this was in fact foreign ice -- so chalk it up as the Rangers' eighth straight win away from Madison Square Garden, a franchise record for this hockey club that goes back 94 years.

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Recap: Bread & Shesterkin Lead Blueshirts Past Sharks

Fast Scores Twice, Shesterkin Stops 44 as Blueshirts Make It Seven Wins in Eight Games

by Michael Obernauer

It is not every day you see a player beat a goaltender through the five-hole with a pass. And it is not every day you see a goaltender who came on the scene a month ago push his record to 9-1 in the National Hockey League.

Then again, it's not often you see a player with the skill set of Artemi Panarin, or the promise of Igor Shesterkin. But if you saw them on Saturday night you watched their brilliance carry the Blueshirts to another victory -- which is something, on the other hand, that the Rangers are becoming very much accustomed to.

Panarin set up a pair of goals with passes that had jaws dropping all around Madison Square Garden, Shesterkin turned in 44 saves to win for the seventh straight time, and Jesper Fast broke a third-period tie with his second goal of the night -- all of it propelling the Rangers to their latest victory, a 3-2, find-a-way win over the San Jose Sharks at the Garden.

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Recap: Rangers Head Home With Another Sweep

Seventh Straight Road Win Ties Franchise Record and Caps a Perfect Moms Trip

by Michael Obernauer

RALEIGH, N.C. -- In one way, goals and wins are like your children, in the sense that you love them no matter what. In another way they are not like your children at all, in that you don't love them all equally.

There is reason for Friday night's 5-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes, for instance, to hold a favored place in the Rangers' hearts right now, because of their openness beforehand about the magnitude of this game, and the way they rose to the occasion during it. Because this one came against a division rival they are hunting down in the playoff race, because it came in a playoff atmosphere before a capacity crowd, and because it came by way of a complete 60-minute effort from up and down their lineup.

And because it came with the people who love them most watching from the stands: a Blue-clad traveling party of moms that witnessed their boys in Blueshirts complete a clean sweep of the Rangers' 2020 Moms Trip. And because this latest victory gave the Blueshirts their seventh consecutive win on the road, matching a franchise record that has been reached only twice before in Rangers history, and not since 1978.

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