The Rangers didn’t have the same oomph to their five-on-five offense on Monday night, or much oomph at all through the first half of the game, but that’s what special-team opportunities are supposed to be for. And so it was the Blueshirts’ top power-play unit that secured a 2-1 win over the Coyotes in the club’s home opener at Madison Square Garden, where a sold-out crowd of 18,006 got more and more into the game as their team did.
After whiffing on their first two power-play chances, the Rangers peppered Coyotes goalie Connor Ingram before Vincent Trocheck tipped Artemi Panarin’s shot through traffic for the go-ahead goal at 8:26 of the third period.
A successful five-on-three penalty kill at the end of the second period sparked the Rangers and every fan clad in red, white in blue in attendance, who were in need of some momentum after the Coyotes tied it up on Clayton Keller’s power-play goal five minutes into the middle frame.
With Alexis Lafreniere in the box for a soft slashing call and Ryan Lindgren penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct after he shot the puck in the net out of frustration, the MSG crowd was sure to let the referees know what they thought about the whole sequence. Thanks to some big saves from Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin and a couple of blocks by Jacob Trouba, however, the Rangers fended off the Coyotes’ fourth power play for the final 1:19 of the middle frame and the first 41 seconds of the third.
Shesterkin, who finished with 26 saves, bounced back from Keller’s first-period goal, which the Russian netminder barely got a piece of on its way in. When Jason Zucker earned a penalty shot shortly after the Rangers regained the lead in the third, Shesterkin stood tall in net and made a key save. That brought Shesterkin’s career penalty shot record to 4-for-4.
The Rangers always want to win, Laviolette said, but it doesn’t have to be perfect three games into the season.
Source: NY Post