The New York Rangers narrowly edged out the Montreal Canadiens — despite never leading in the game — with a 4-3 shootout win at the Bell Center on Thursday night.
Patrick Kane scored his first goal for the club and Artemi Panarin kept New York in the game with three assists. Igor Shusterkin made 23 saves on 26 shots on goal, while the Rangers blocked 24 shots as a team to help the goaltender win the Vezina.
Caden Guhle recorded a goal and an assist in his return to play after a two-game absence, while Josh Anderson and Alex Belzile scored the other two goals for the Canadiens on the night. Samuel Montembault stopped 30 shots, allowing some frustration to keep the game close.
Kane off the mark for Rangers
Patrick Kane scored his first goal for his new team in his third game since arriving from the Chicago Blackhawks the previous week, a well-placed shot past Montreal netminder Samuel Montembault on the power play to tie the game at three-apiece, seconds The Habs then took the lead to tie it.
The 34-year-old registered an assist on Jacob Trouba’s second-period marker to earn his first point as a Ranger. The goal and assist brought Kane’s tally to 47 points on the season.
Rangers’ transition defense needs work
New York gave up odd-man rush after odd-man rush Thursday night, allowing two goals and plenty of high-threat scoring chances.
Rangers defensemen were constantly trapped on the ice, giving their opponents the freedom to attack in numbers.
A team with a lot more firepower than the Canadiens could easily burn the Rangers on the night, so it will be interesting to see if this is something they address moving forward.
stay warm, belzile
Alex Belzile scored for the third consecutive game, making his season – and his career – four. The 31-year-old opted to shoot on a 2-on-1 opportunity, scoring the Canadiens’ second goal of the night in the opening frame.
A career minor-leaguer, Belzille jumped at the opportunity presented by Montreal’s injury-riddled roster, carving out a fourth-line role and adding some much-needed – albeit unlikely – offensive punch to the lineup.
Panarin joins elite company
Per NHL Public RelationsArtemi Panarin became only the third undrafted player in NHL history to record a seventh 70-point campaign in his first eight seasons, joining hockey icons Wayne Gretzky and Peter Stastny.
Of course, Gretzky was never drafted because he signed a deal with the Indianapolis Racers of the World Hockey Association at age 17 before joining the Edmonton Oilers in the NHL. Stastny became famous for joining the Quebec Nordiques from Czechoslovakia in 1980, eventually carving out a 15-year Hall of Fame career.
Panarin also became the eighth player in league history to record seven 70-point seasons, and the first since Martin St. Louis – head coach of the Canadiens – accomplished the feat in 2011–12.