Rangers ‘comfortable’ with the place they’re at heading into All-Star break

Jan 27, 2023; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers center Filip Chytil (72) celebrates with his teammates after scoring a goal in the third period against the Vegas Golden Knights at Madison Square Garden.

Jan 27, 2023; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers heart Filip Chytil (72) celebrates along with his teammates after scoring a aim within the third interval towards the Vegas Golden Knights at Madison Sq. Backyard. / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports activities

It will have felt lots completely different within the Rangers locker room Friday evening in the event that they misplaced their ultimate recreation earlier than this season’s All-Star break.

However fortunately for the Blue Shirts, they put collectively a slightly convincing 4-1 win over a very good Vegas Golden Knights group due to well timed scoring and the dominant efficiency from the Rangers second-string goalie, Jaroslav Halak.

“Quite a lot of good, however Jaro needed to make some unbelievable saves once more for us tonight,” Rangers coach Gerard Gallant mentioned after the sport. “It was a superb recreation, back-and-forth. Happily we acquired that 2-0 lead. It wasn’t an ideal recreation but it surely was a superb stable recreation towards a superb group. It was a giant win for our group.”

The 18-year backstop got here to the Rangers from the Canucks within the offseason to offer the group a veteran presence behind younger phenom Igor Shesterkin. After a shaky begin to the season the place he went winless in six video games, the 37-year-old has now received 5 in a row and the primary time at dwelling.

“Each time you be part of a brand new group it’s possible you’ll strive an excessive amount of,” Halak defined. “My file wasn’t the perfect, however you don’t fear about these video games and switch the web page and hold shifting ahead. That’s what I wished. To get the primary recreation, first win and hold it rolling.”

“He was unbelievable,” Barclay Goodrow mentioned of Halak’s efficiency. “It’s a superb feeling when your second goalie can are available in and play like that. And provides a way of calmness to your group.”

Vincent Trocheck echoed these sentiments saying, “He performed superior. There have been some grade-A possibilities within the first and second that he saved us within the recreation. Having a backstop like that clearly provides you confidence to make some performs.”

Halak made 33 saves, together with six-for-six within the energy play and two-for-two when the opposite group was shorthanded. The Rangers would rating two within the first and two extra within the third interval to place Vegas away.

New York goes into the break with a 27-14-8 file (62 factors) and sitting comfortably because the No. 3 seed within the Metropolitan Division. After their additional time loss to the Maple Leafs on Wednesday, going into their lengthy break on a shedding streak would have been a killer for the group’s morale.

“It will have sucked strolling into the break, seven days off sitting on these two losses back-to-back,” Trocheck mentioned. “It’s good to have one towards a group like this strolling into the break.”

“I’m glad I acquired the beginning, get the primary win at dwelling and now we are able to benefit from the break,” Halak added. “After the break, our schedule goes to be loopy for the following two and a half months so everybody must be prepared.”

When the Rangers return from the break, they should play 4 video games in 5 days towards the Flames, Canucks, Kraken and Hurricanes. All 4 are playoff groups or on the cusp if the season ended at present.

And though this season’s group is behind what final 12 months’s squad did presently — they had been 30-13-4 — coach Gallant sees the advance and that higher days are forward.

“I’m pleased with the place we’re at. Because the final break, our file appears fairly good,” he mentioned. “We’ve performed properly. We haven’t performed excellent like we did final 12 months at occasions, however we’re nonetheless discovering methods to win hockey video games. It’s coming, it’s a piece in progress for us however I like our place and the way in which we’re taking part in.”

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