Following a 5-4 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night, the New York Rangers rebounded this evening with a big win over the Buffalo Sabres. With Henrik Lundqvist still not dressing due to soreness after a collision the other night, Alexandar Georgiev started in net once again for the Rangers. Georgiev was certainly put to the test early in this game with the Sabres coming out flying during the first 10 minutes.
The Sabres wound up registering 21 shots on goal during the first period, but despite their strong play, the Rangers opened the scoring at the 16:29 mark. The trio of Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, and Jesper Fast kept their point streaks alive with Kreider tapping home a beautiful centering feed from Mika Zibanejad at the top of the crease. Nearly a minute and a half later, Jimmy Vesey scored his 16th goal of the season on a creative redirect to himself just inside the hash marks.
Carrying their momentum over to the second period, the Rangers made it 3-0 with Neal Pionk burying his first career NHL goal off to the side of Robin Lehner. A short time later, the Rangers kept the goals flowing with Mika Zibanejad and Jimmy Vesey each adding another goal to give the Rangers a five goal lead at the end of 40 minutes.
Unfortunately, the Sabres finally broke Georgiev’s shutout late in the third period on the 39th shot on goal coming from Sam Reinhart. It came on a redirect just inside the high slot and Georgiev never stood a chance on the goal against. Following the goal, the Rangers were able to kill off the remaining time on the clock and closed out a 5-1 victory at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers will have a scheduled off day on Sunday before returning to action on Monday against the Washington Capitals. Both Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil are expected to be recalled sometime before then and be in the lineup to finish out the remainder of the season with the Rangers.
Trade deadline tracker: Keep track of all the moves here
A day before the NHL trade deadline, the Boston Bruins have acquired left winger Rick Nash, who was nearly a sure thing to move before Monday. In return for Nash, the Rangers have received defenseman Ryan Lindgren, forwards Ryan Spooner and Matt Beleskey, a first-round pick in the 2018 draft and a seventh-round pick in the 2019 draft.
The Rangers will also retain 50 percent of Nash’s salary, which is the most that the current CBA will allow. Nash will be an unrestricted free agent after the season ends.
The move clears a 33-year-old winger from the Rangers’ books, while adding 20-year-old Lindgren, 26-year-old Spooner and 29-year-old Beleskey. It’s an expected move from a team that is openly in a rebuilding mode.
It’s a savvy move for the Bruins as well, who are shaping up to be contenders. They have 82 points, third in the East and five games back of the Lightning.
Nash joins the team as its fourth-leading goal scorer with 18. He also has 10 assists, putting his points total at 28. He may not be the Rick Nash of old, but he still automatically bolsters a team that’s already tied for seventh in the league in goals scored at 191.
In addition, the Rangers retaining 50 percent of Nash’s $7.8 million cap hit, the Bruins will retain part of Beleskey’s $3.8 million hit. Beleskey’s contract runs out after the 2019 season, so it’s unlikely that he’ll be part of the Rangers’ long-term plans. He’s struggled to even get on the ice for the Bruins, although the move may help him as he goes from a contender to a team that just needs direction.
Spooner will also be a free agent after this season, although his situation is trickier for the Rangers. Depending on how quick they expect their turnaround to be, he may be worth retaining after the season is up.
It’s the kind of move you expect between a rebuilding team and the hottest team in hockey that has pushed itself into the Cup conversation. The Bruins get a proven veteran that helps this season but may not beyond it, whereas the Rangers get a solid package that includes a prospect, two picks, a player in his prime and a salary dump for the contender. It’s a rare trade that it feels like both sides win, but this move makes a lot a sense for everyone involved.
Lundqvist allowed five goals on 27 shots before exiting during the third period of a 6-3 loss to the Senators on Saturday.
Things have sunk pretty far for Lundqvist, but he is hardly to blame. The team around him as slowly deteriorated over the last few years, and it’s come to a point this season. Unfortunately, that’s reflected in the 35-year-old’s stats. Lundqvist has a 2.80 GAA and .917 save percentage with 20 losses versus 23 victories. With this current version of the Rangers, Lundqvist’s days as an elite fantasy option are finished.