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Game 45: NYR 6 NYI 2, Panarin leads way again with five points

January 13, 2020, 10:59 PM ET [410 Comments]
Jan Levine
New York Rangers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Rangers, after allowing a goal 18 seconds into the game, dominated action the remainder of the contest to defeat the Islanders 6-2 on Monday. Artemi Panarin showed the Islanders just what they missed out when he signed with the Blueshirts, tallying a pair of goals while adding three assists to reach 67 points on the season, The accolades continue to build for Panarin, who has given New York all they could want and more. If round 1 of the set wasn't enough - boxing reference on purpose given what transpired during the game - then just wait for round 2 Thursday on the Island and round 3 at MSG next Tuesday,

Game recap:

A few thoughts:
1) Panarin - wow. The tweets below tell you just how good he was tonight. He has been a bargain even with his $11.6 million salary. Panarin just continues to make plays and make those around him better. He had had at least three points in six of his last nine games; tallying six goals and 16 assists in that stretch. Panarin previously had five points in a game on Dec. 8, 2017, when he had five assists for the Blue Jackets in a 5-3 win against the Devils. Have to figure he will be a marked man Thursday.

2) Fights - the Rangers were reeling when Michael Haley fought Ross Johnston. While the clock stopped at 2:13 of the first, Matt Martin fought Brendan Smith. Since no time had elapsed. the rule is that both Martin and Smith were ejected for the rest of the game. Adam Fix said after the game, the fight "slowed the game down for us and allowed us to kind of regroup and catch ourselves. We played well from there." Believe what you want to believe on that, but the tide turned after the fights with Jesper Fast scoring an effort goal to knot the game at one.

Later on, both Chris Kreider and Tony DeAngelo took exception to a check by Brock Nelson on Mika Zibanejad. Nelson did come up high with the stick, though Zib was crouching slightly. Kreider immediately went after Nelson while ADA engaged with Johnston, who fought ADA with his gloves on and ADA having one knee on the ice. Great job by the officials to step in there. I loved the response by Zib's teammates, who immediately came to his defense.

3) Fast - his goal was just an effort marker. Going hard to the net, diving to score. Then Fast had an assist on Adam Fox's goal and Panarin's second marker of the contest, which he created by forcing a turnover. I know he gets a bad rap from some, who believe all he is a defensive player. But he has been even more than this year, aided by playing with Panarin, but I am on record and will continue to say I hope they bring him back on a 2-3 year deal

4) Defense driving offense - amazing what happens when you play D and forecheck; you create chances and offensive chances arise. New York has been much better defensively - Saturday notwithstanding - lately. See the tweets below. As Dace Shapiro pointed out, it looks like the rangers have tweaked their forecheck, "F1/F2 both in deep, F3 supporting and D1 reading the play for a turnover. Much more aggressive than in the past." This forces teams to make quick decisions and limits their ability to break out and get through the neutral zone quickly. The approach leaves them at risk for a counter attack, but against the Islanders, who play a very structured game, this system worked well.

5) Blue line production - the defense created offense, which has been a theme all season. Fox tallied a goal and an assist. Jacob Trouba with a power play goal. Brady Skjei added a pair of assists. That's five points from the blueline, not even considering how good the team was defensively for about 50 minutes or so of the contest, save for the first two minutes and last seven or so of the contest when the game was not in doubt.

6) Alexandar Georgiev - very good when needed, especially during a stretch in the second period when the game was still up in the air. Like Henrik Lundqvist on Saturday, Georgiev had gone nine days since his last start. But the time off was not an issue for the 23-year-old. Bulgarian on Monday. After surrendering Jordan Eberle's goal 18 seconds in, he finished with 32 saves making Georgiev 3-1 in his career with a .956 save percentage against the Islanders, which could and should earn him another start Thursday.

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