For a second straight game on home ice, it was total domination. If this continues, it’ll be a lot more fun to get used to. The league’s best offense continued its rampage by scoring five times on the Blues in a 5-0 Rangers’ victory that was never in doubt.
Five different Blueshirts lit the lamp including sizzling freshman Jimmy Vesey, who led the charge with a power play goal and two assists. After a slow start where nothing went in, he is on fire. The 23-year old former Hobey Baker winner has heated up with six points (3-3-6) over the last four and is 5-3-8 in the past six.
“I think confidence is everything in this game and right now it’s high and I am riding that,” Vesey told reporters.
The rematch between the Blues and Rangers was similar except the end result more typified how well they played. Dan Girardi started the scoring when his wrist shot went off Vladimir Tarasenko’s stick and past Jake Allen for his second of the season at 9:37 of the first period. Ryan McDonagh forced a turnover and then got the puck to Chris Kreider, who passed for an open Girardi for the game’s first goal. That extended McDonagh’s assist streak to eight straight. Over that span, he has nine assists.
A dangerous Patrik Berglund hi-stick to McDonagh put him in so much pain, he literally didn’t see the boards crashing into them. The scary moment for the Rangers’ captain sent him to the locker room. Fortunately, he was okay and returned later in the period. While he was checked out, the Rangers went to work on the power play. Some great passing started by Brady Skjei allowed Derek Stepan to find a cutting Vesey for a sweet finish at 11:11 for a 2-0 lead. The assist was Stepan’s 200th of his career.
It very easily could’ve been three or four goals in a lopsided first which saw all four Ranger lines use their speed and quick transition to get dangerous chances on Allen. He did well making a couple of big stops to keep his team afloat.
On the opposite side, Henrik Lundqvist was back in net after getting Sunday off. He was sharp throughout stopping all 35 shots en route to career shutout 60. That included a great stop to deny Robby Fabbri point blank on a mini-break. The speedy Blues forward got behind Marc Staal and was in but his backhand deke attempt was kicked out by Lundqvist. As his team built their lead, he still was strong denying all 16 St. Louis shots in the second.
Rick Nash continued his surge scoring his fifth to increase the lead to three at 6:18. On a Vesey pass, Nash went behind the net and tricked Allen by banking the puck off him. Let’s just call it a late Halloween treat for a player who’s closing in on 400 goals. He needs two more.
Another St. Louis penalty allowed the lethal Ranger power play to cash in. This time, it was some more great passing down low that led directly to a Mats Zuccarello power play goal for a 4-0 lead at 12:55. This time, Mika Zibanejad got the puck to Kreider at the side of the net where he passed across for a Zuccarello one-timer into an open side. Kreider’s second assist in his return on Zuccarello’s fifth chased Allen, who was hardly at fault. He gave up four goals on 20 shots.
Even his replacement Carter Hutton was victimized late in the period. A good defensive play by Vesey trapped the Blues causing a three-on-one. Some unreal passing started by Vesey to a cutting J.T. Miller resulted in Miller making a great dish for Kevin Hayes, who went top shelf for his third at 18:17.
The only question left is would Lundqvist finally get a shutout. Ranger goalies didn’t have one in the first nine. Antti Raanta came close last game but a Steven Stamkos power play goal foiled his bid. Lundqvist turned aside a Berglund chance with under nine minutes remaining in regulation. He would get the shutout on what was a great night.
BONY 3 Stars:
3rd Star-Chris Kreider, NYR (2 assists, 5 shots, 7 attempts, +1 in 23 shifts-14:59 including 4:25 PP)
2nd Star-Henrik Lundqvist, NYR (35 saves for 60th career shutout)
1st Star-Jimmy Vesey, NYR (power play goal-team leading 6th, 2 assists, +1 in 13:58)
Notes: The Rangers went 2-for-6 on the power play against an undisciplined Blues team. … Jay Bouwmeester played in his 1,000th career game finishing minus-2 in 22:02. … Oscar Lindberg was a healthy scratch. … With an assist Miller raised his team-leading point total to 10 (3-7-10). When he records a point, they haven’t lost. … Even though he played on the fourth line, Pavel Buchnevich received 15:11 including 4:19 on the power play. … Rangers (7-3-0) host the Oilers (7-2-1) Thursday night. Cam Talbot returns along with Connor McDavid fresh off an overtime loss at the Maple Leafs. They’re first in the Pacific.