The Rangers join the Yotes on Mullet’s debut to sweep the road trip.
Cue the line, “Many things change, but some remain the same.”
In the case of the dessert story that exists between the New York Rangers and Arizona Coyotes, despite a new season and a new building, the Blueshirts made their Mullet Arena debut, as they played their last match at the Gila River Arena last year, rallying for a 3-2 win in front of a crowd dominated by their blue-shirted supporters.
Artemi Panarin celebrated his 31st birthday with a three-point night (one goal and two assists), and Mika Zibanejad made sure the team would sweep the back set after beating Dallas 6-3 yesterday by scoring the advantage goal digital. late in the third period to put New York ahead for good.
The first twenty minutes went scoreless, despite the Rangers outscoring Arizona 15-6, leading in hits 13-9 and winning point battles 9-8.
However, there was frantic action at both ends of the ice, with Connor Ingram holding the fort for Arizona against Igor Shesterkin, appearing in his first fullback in over a year as the Rangers coach Gerard Gallant echoed before the game that it was a night game. after a day game, meaning he hasn’t played in over 24 hours, so it wouldn’t potentially tax his body.
Fans of both teams brought the energy, but it’s visiting New York fans who have infiltrated the place since the puck was dropped and given the den’s caps of 5,000, they were deafening.
The dire situation in Arizona, as they will share a rink with Arizona State University for the next three seasons, is not something the Coyotes prefer. CEO Xavier Gutierrez lamented as much during the game, responding to “Let’s go Rangers” chants that sounded like MSG-west, with “Hey, you wouldn’t have heard that in Gila River.”
It’s not financially viable for an NHL team. Still, it’s the best they could do after they were unable to pay their bills, forcing a furlough after the lease expired. As they await city approval on plans for a new $2 billion, 16,000 seat arena, this is the alternate reality they experience.
At least the quality of the ice, as Rangers defenseman Ryan Reaves put it, was “unreally good,” so they’ve got it all.
The Rangers started the second, picking up where they left off in the first period, dictating play. Seventy seconds later, a hit from Keandre Miller kept the puck in the Arizona end zone, and 21 seconds later, the Blueshirts broke through with the birthday boy who fed Alexis Lafrenière for a 1-0 New York lead.
Considering Gallant said he wanted the 20-year-old to head for the net, it was great to see him do it here, and he scored a goal.
However, minutes later, Panarin was sent to the box for a snag.
The Arizona PA team would use the goal horn for the first time in their new digs (it didn’t sound Friday despite the hosts scoring twice in a 3-2 OT loss to the Jets) when Lawson Crouse scored a Dylan Guenther one-timer to tie it to one.
The raucous home contingent howled again 108 seconds later when Ryan Lindgren sniffed a puck, and Nick Keller capitalized to put Arizona ahead with his first goal of the season.
Later in the frame, however, the man of the hour delivered for the Rangers by absorbing the strength of Coyotes defenseman Sam Gostisbehere and slipping the puck over Ingram’s shoulder for the tying score; send the teams to the intermission in the square of two.
With this goal, the painier became the second player in team history to score on his 31st birthday, joining Marián Gáborík in 2014.
As Lafrenière joked after the game, “Tied game after 2, and we said in the locker room that was a big two for us – and we played as a team in the third.”
The Coyotes spiced up Shesterkin in the opening minutes of the final stanza, but the defending Vezina winner was snappy and denied anything that got past him.
It looked like this tedious affair was destined for overtime, when Guenther was cut for snagging Zac Jones with 7:31 left, putting the Blueshirts on the power play.
On their last trip to Gila River last December, New York trailed 2-1 before back-to-back Coyotes penalties led Mika Zibanejad and Kappo Kako to score, lifting the visitors to a 3- 2, and with the late offense on Sunday, a similar fate was in store at the Mullet.
Rangers’ man advantage applied pressure in the first but came empty, something they wouldn’t do this time around.
Panarin tossed the puck down to Chris Kreider, who deftly passed it to his best friend and linemate Zibanejad, who buried the top puck with 7:04 remaining for a 3-2 lead.
Arizona made a late push, but Shesterkin and the defender ahead of him, including Adam Fox and Jacob Trouba, who had blocked shots, silenced them to seal the victory.
Coach John Tortorella and the Philadelphia Flyers (5-2-1) arrive at MSG on Tuesday in the first of three original matchups of six for the Blueshirts 5-3-2. The Rangers will also host the Boston Bruins (8-1) on Thursday and the Detroit Red Wings (4-2-2) on Sunday before ending the game at home in a rematch against the New York Islanders (5-4 ) on Election Day.