A Thanksgiving Eve showdown in Carolina, the Rangers gave themselves a pre-Turkey Day treat.
An opening-minute goal by Chris Kreider gave the visitors a 1-0 lead. More importantly, it set the tone early for the rest of the game.
A couple minutes later, Mika Zibanejad helped himself to, “the easiest goal he’ll ever score,” said MSG analyst Joe Micheletti. Mika was heading off for a change and lofted the puck high, towards Carolina’s net. Goalie Scott Darling lost the rubber disc in the lights and it was 2-0 Rangers.
Sebastian Aho cut the Blueshirts’ lead to 2-1 — courtesy of a power-play goal — but Paul Carey scored his first as a Ranger to make it 3-1.
From there the game was a defensive affair through the second period, as the teams struggled to get shots on goal.
Kreider opened the third period with his second of the game — courtesy of a carryover power-play — and it was 4-1 New York.
Jesper Fast added two goals, and that was it for the scoring.
In wake of captain Ryan McDonagh’s absence, the team rallied itself, posting a six-goal effort.
BLUESHIRT BULLET POINTS
PAPA JOHN’S (X2): With six-goals this should count twice. And for the 13th time in 16 games, the Blueshirts tallied three or more goals. Bon appétit.
SOUTHERN COOKING: Dating back to February 22, 2011, the Rangers have won 22 of 26 against Carolina. (22-4-0 record).
MATS ZUCCARELLO: In his career, the diminutive forward has more assists and points against Carolina than any other team he’s faced. He added an assist to that total tonight.
CHRIS KREIDER: With two-goals tonight, Kreider has points in five of six against Carolina, and during that stretch he has seven-goals.
JESPER FAST: His first career two-goal game. Both came in the third period on wicked shots. With a release that’s among the quickest in the league Fast has the ability to do this on a nightly basis. He now has points in seven of 10 against the ‘Canes. (4G, 4A).
HIS MAJESTY: Henrik Lundqvist stopped 32 of 33 in his 10th straight game. The “King” has been strong in November.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Four-for-five on the penalty-kill. One-for-two on power-play. That adds up to an impressive 130 combined success rate. (Good teams have a combined rating of 100 or better).
The Rangers face Henrik Zetterberg and the Red Wings Friday (Nov. 24) at MSG. Game time is 7:00 p.m. ET and the broadcast is on MSG Network.
An all-around strong effort as the team heads into the Thanksgiving holiday.
Coaches and analysts like to group games together.
With games against Carolina, Detroit and Vancouver, there’s six-points to be had. So far, they have two, and the remaining four are very attainable.
In their last 10, the Blueshirts are 8-2-0, and are enjoying a typically strong November.
After the team’s win in Carolina, Neil Malvone, a Brooklyn-born Rangers’ fan, had this to say: “With their captain out of the lineup, the Rangers defensemen all stepped up to fill the void, both offensively and defensively.”