Rangers Blow Past Panthers With Ease To Take A 2-1 Series Lead

Bruce Bennett. Getty Images.

Typical New Tork Rangers hockey. There is no team in the NHL better than NY at getting their dicks kicked in, sticking around for no deserved reason other than Igor Shesterkin, then finding a way to win games everyone says they have no right to win. I'm pretty sure just seconds before the Blueshirts potted the OTGWG off Wennberg's thigh ESPN posted a stat saying this contest had the biggest shot attempt differential in a Conference Final since 2010. As soon as I saw that, I knew the Rangers were gonna pull it out. That's exactly what they did. I fucking love this squad. Don't care what it looks like. Just find a way to win.

Today they took it to a whole new level though. After handing Florida countless turnovers, three powerplays and a pair of PPGs in the first period the Rangers somehow came out even. All thanks to a 25-second back-to-back goal strike that was kicked off by this absurd backhand finish from Alexis Lafreniere - which would end up being his second-sickest finish of the game:


The second frame was the only 20 where the Blueshirts looked good...and by "good" I mean play was relatively even. The Cats didn't have a single high-danger chance though. Meanwhile, Lafreniere was posterizing all of Florida with what might end up the goal of the entire playoffs to go up 3-2:


Incredible couple of highlight-reel tallies for the former first-overall pick some were seemingly too quick to label a bust. But in typical Rangers fashion, just when fans think we might coast into intermission with a lead, Jacob Trouba strikes to hand the Panthers a four-minute powerplay. A slash wasn't enough so the captain doubled down on it with a reckless elbow that was about three inches from a major & a suspension:


That's the thing about captains though. They may not always be the best players but they're the ultimate leaders & team guys. High hockey IQ. Captain Trouba knows his squad. When you think they're gonna zig, they zag. When you think they just fucked themselves, they actually just set themselves up for a two-goal lead thanks to Friday night's overtime hero Barclay Goodrow:


That shorthanded snipe put the Rangers up 4-2 while putting Goodrow in the playoff goal scoring top ten and it was hard not to get ahead of yourself as a fan. But the clinic the Panthers put on for the third period was fucking epic. I'm a fan of the phrase "the ice was tilted". It wasn't just "tilted" in the third. It was sideways. The home team absolutely dominated to the tune of a 41-11 shot attempt/21-4 scoring chance/8-1 high-danger advantage while erasing a two-goal deficit and quite frankly, if it wasn't for Igor Shesterkin, they could've lost by 2 or 3 in regulation.

But Igor exists. While the rest of his squad looked virtually stationary in front of him, Shesty turned away chance after chance late to drag them to overtime where all it takes is one. And the Rangers found a way to get it.

They take the Panthers best punch and instead of dropping, they take back home ice instead. That Florida locker room has to be wondering what the hell they gotta do to beat these Blueshirts. You really can't carry play any more than they did and it was all for nothing.

I guess that's just what happens when you're standing in the way of a team of destiny.