For the first time in franchise history, the New York Rangers have posted a pair of seven-game winning streaks in the same season.
The red-hot Rangers will be looking for their eighth consecutive victory when they visit the Calgary Flames on Saturday.
The Rangers are on a high after a stunning 5-4 shootout win over the Edmonton Oilers on Friday. New York goaltender Igor Shesterkin allowed four goals in the opening period, but the Rangers erased a 4-1 deficit.
With the rally, New York improved to 8-0-1 in its past nine games.
“We got some timely goals and special teams was big, outside of the first period, and we were able to bounce back,” Rangers defenseman Adam Fox said. “I thought (Shesterkin) made some big saves when we needed, and we were able to battle back. He made a big save when it was 4-1 right in tight, and obviously, if they make it 5-1, it’s a different game.”
The Rangers, who have scored at least four goals in each game during the current winning streak, are certainly receiving big performances from their top guns.
Mika Zibanejad has scored a goal in each of his past six games, collecting eight goals and three assists in that span. Artemi Panarin has six goals and eight assists in a six-game point streak, and Chris Kreider — who scored twice in Edmonton — has compiled five goals and four assists in a seven-game point streak.
“If you look at that first period, you might say that’s a horrendous first period going down 4-1, but I thought we did some good things, and the way we created some chances was good,” Zibanejad said. “We had to make sure we trust our way of playing, just being patient.”
While the Rangers are flying, the Flames have just one win in their last five games (1-2-2). Their latest disappointment was a 5-2 loss to the visiting Detroit Red Wings on Thursday.
Adding to the issues was the fallout after Allan Walsh, the agent for forward Jonathan Huberdeau, wrote on Twitter: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. Also, negativity sucks the joy right out of players. cc: NHLFlames”
The final sentence appears aimed at Calgary coach Darryl Sutter, who has often criticized Huberdeau during a subpar season in which he is on pace for fewer than half the points he accumulated last season while with the Florida Panthers.
“That doesn’t come from me,” Huberdeau said. “Yeah, it’s my agent, but it’s from him. It’s his account. He made that tweet. That doesn’t reflect on me or on the guys.”
Huberdeau added, “Darryl is Darryl. Sometimes you won’t like what the coach does. Some nights, you do like it. You’re never 100 percent happy with the coaches, with decisions, stuff like that, but me and Darryl have a great connection, a great friendship. He’s good. He wants to win, just like us.”
For his part, Sutter is trying to keep the focus on the next game.
“Social media and what anybody says, it doesn’t affect the locker room ever. Ever,” Sutter said. “When you have a tight group, you keep it tight.”
He also said Huberdeau’s play is not just about the 10 goals and 26 points the forward has collected in 52 games.
“I think he’d certainly like to be putting more numbers up,” Sutter said. “But even (Thursday) night, he told me on the bench he was playing good. That’s good. That’s good for me, too. That’s what it’s about.”
–Field Level Media