Rangers roll to beat Blue Jackets

The Rangers were hoping to rejuvenate for the first three days between matches this season – and boy, did they sound energetic Friday night.

Putting together that full 60-minute effort during the start of the season, the Rangers easily beat the Blue Jackets 4-0 at Madison Square Garden in front of a lively crowd that included a group of first responders and key workers who were honored at the pre-game gala.

Chris Kreider scored twice in the third half, while Artemi Panarin and Adam Fox each scored three assists, and Igor Shesterkin scored 28 saves in his first closing since April.

The Rangers had a low to clear after failing to face the Flames earlier this week, but they skated with conviction and authority against Columbus. The Rangers only had one gear – overspeed – and the offense took advantage of it.

New York Rangers Center Ryan Strom #16 scores a goal
Ryan Strom and his teammates Artemi Banarin and Kabu Kaku got together for seven shots on Friday.
Robert Sabo

Panarin scored his first multi-point game of the season, providing three assists in his first game with both Ryan Strom and Cabo Kaku, who returned after four games with the injured reserve with an undisclosed upper body injury. With his 49th effort in his three-point football career, Panarin is now linked with Black Hawks’ Patrick Kane in the third most three-point game since 2015-16.

This second streak was combined with seven shots on target as the Rangers scored 37 in total.

Despite the slow start, the Rangers fourth streak from Dryden Hunt, Greg McKeig and Kevin Rooney produced two good starting bouts for the team. Then the Rangers began to push the pace and open the ice shortly after those in the park got on their feet to give the core workers present a well-deserved round of applause.

Panarin hit a successive shot at Ström, who hit the ball into the net to score his first goal of the season and lead 1-0 at 12:29. Rookie defensive midfielder Nils Lundqvist scored the secondary assist on Strom’s goal for his first NHL point.

New York Rangers left winger Alexis Lavrinier scores 13 goals
Alex Lavrinier owes Adam Fox a thank you after his goal.
Robert Sabo

A little over three minutes later, Fox put together a great sequence. The Norris Cup winner skated behind the net before somehow finding Alexis Lavrinier near the far goalkeeper to score 2-0. Lafreniere and linemate Sammy Blais both indicated the general trend of Fox in disbelief after the play.

At the end of each of the first two periods, Columbus took late penalties that allowed the Rangers to open up the subsequent framework in the power game. He cost the Blue Jackets early in the third inning, when Kreider made it 3-0 with a hint of a feed from Panarin.

After Strome’s Max Domi and the Blue Jackets got matching combat kicks, Jake Bean was called in to pin to give the Rangers a 4-on-3 advantage. Kreider buried his second night, in another tip, to top Oilers star Conor McDavid for the most NHL playing goals so far this season.


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