Despite big second period, St Louis Blues fall just short of the New York Rangers
By Jordan Laroche
This matchup between the New York Rangers and St Louis Blues has been circled by numerous Rangers fans. The two clubs made a sizeable trade during the offseason, the Rangers sending Pavel Buchnevich to the Blues for Sammy Blais and a second-round pick. This move was very unpopular with Rangers fans as Buchnevich finished fourth on the team in points last season with 48 and was a fan favorite. But the move had to be done to shed some cap and open a spot in the top-six for Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko.
This would have been a good measuring stick to see how the trade has done for both teams. But Blais will be out for the remainder of the season tearing his ACL, and Buchnevich is second on the Blues in points scoring at a point-per-game pace.
Alexis Lafreniere opened the scoring with his 13th goal of the season and has been much more noticeable on the ice. Since Lafreniere was moved to the top line alongside Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider, he has taken his game to new heights. In the 13 games since Kaapo Kakko was injured, Lafreniere has almost doubled his goal total with five goals.
Ryan Strome extended the Rangers lead to two goals as the Rangers seemed to be gaining momentum. But the game would quickly flip in favor of the Blues as Ryan O’Reilly, Ivan Barbashev and David Perron would all score in a two-minute span to make the game 3-2.
Blues goalie Ville Husso played well as the Rangers tried to even the game. It took a lot of effort and a broken play for Patrik Nemeth to score his first as a Ranger in his first game since the birth of his son, tying the game at three. The Rangers weren’t done there as Chris Kreider tipped a shot from Adam Fox to give them the lead while Artemi Panarin sealed the game with an empty-net goal. Igor Shesterkin made 13 saves in the third period to keep the Blues off the scoresheet the rest of the night as “Igor” chants filled Madison Square Garden.
G: Alexis Lafreniere (13) A: Adam Fox (44)
G: Ryan Strome (12) A: Artemi Panarin (43) Jacob Trouba (17)
G: Ryan O’Reilly (12) A: Brandon Saad (13) David Perron (17)
G: Ivan Barbashev (17) A: Jordan Kyrou (29)
G: David Perron (12) A: Ryan O’Reilly (23) Colton Parayko (16)
G: Patrik Nemeth (1) A: Ryan Strome (27) Dryden Hunt (7)
G: Chris Kreider (35) A: Adam Fox (45) Artemi Panarin (44)
G: Artemi Panarin (15) A: Adam Fox (46)