- Kaapo Kakko (18) Assists: Vincent Trocheck (42)
- Timothy Liljegren (6) Assists: David Kampf (20), Jake McCabe (22)
- Artemi Panarin (29) (Power Play) Assists: Adam Fox (60), Mika Zibanejad (52)
- William Nylander (40) Assists: Ryan O’Reilly (14)
- Well that was certainly an interesting way to end the regular season and lose the game because two goals were disallowed. I am glad that Kaapo Kakko got to 40 points.
- So that does it for the regular season. It was shaky at the start, but since December the Rangers have pretty much been rolling. It wasn’t perfect, there were lots of games where they only played half the game, games where only one line was really going, but Igor Shesterkin returned to form and while he didn’t have to carry the Rangers like he did last season, he certainly kept them in games where they found a way to win.
- They enter the playoffs as a very deep team. Up front they have three lines with the potential to dominate offensively and a fourth line that can pop in some goals as well. Defensively they are whole with a healthy Ryan Lindgren and in goal they still have one of the best goalies in the world.
- The questions heading into the playoffs revolve around the PP, how often the top-six will be shuffled around, what kind of impact Patrick Kane can make, if Artemi Panarin can produce and whether they will play the north/south game that will be needed. My expectations for Kane are relatively low, but he’s still Patrick Kane and has the ability, especially with the players around him, to change the game. With Panarin, we’ll just have to see. He ended the season on a hot streak and looking like he is ready to go, but we’ll see what happens when things get started. The PP will be interesting and they really shouldn’t mess around with what has worked. Mika Zibanejad needs to be in his spot and taking the shot that scored 20 PP goals. He’s more important to the PP than Patrick Kane is at this point and Kane should be the one moved around, not Zibanejad. And when it comes down to it, will the Rangers go north/south, forecheck and try to be physical on the Devils or will they go east/west, try and make cute plays and ultimately be chasing down odd-man rushes?
- There is also a bit of a question around Gerard Gallant. All he has done in his first two-years as coach is win and guide the Rangers to the playoffs, but if they lose in the first round, I wouldn’t be shocked if he was fired or at least on a very short leash to start next season. It seems crazy, but every time Gerard Gallant gets fired it seems crazy. I don’t know what would happen if they lost in the second round or in the conference finals again, but James Dolan wants to win and he showed, when he fired Jeff Gorton and John Davidson, that if the team doesn’t meet his expectations, he will make changes. It would also only make sense if his replacement was someone with a Stanley Cup ring.