Surging Golden Knights vie for season sweep of Rangers
Posted on: 25 Jan, 2024 at 08:34 PM
Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports
While the Vegas Golden Knights may be starting to heat up again after a lull, the New York Rangers are seeking some of the consistency that helped them speed out to a sizable lead in the Metropolitan Division.
With four wins in five games (4-0-1), the Golden Knights attempt to run their points streak to six games on Friday night when they visit New York. The Rangers are coming off an underwhelming road trip.
Both teams are playing their final two games before the NHL's All-Star break and are facing each other for the second time in nine days. Vegas cruised to a 5-1 win on Jan. 18.
The Golden Knights have scored 20 goals during their last five games. That comes on the heels of a 4-9-0 stretch that saw their six-point lead in the Pacific Division turn into a seven-point deficit behind the Vancouver Canucks.
Vegas is hoping its final two games before the break resemble last week's rout of the Rangers or Tuesday's 3-2 win over the New York Islanders. The latter result came one night after coach Bruce Cassidy was angered about his team's 6-5 overtime loss to the New Jersey Devils,
Ivan Barbashev and Nicolas Roy each collected a goal and assist versus the Islanders. Barbashev has three goals in his past four games after a 10-game drought, while Roy has scored in consecutive games for the second time this season.
Both players are on the top line with Jonathan Marchessault as Jack Eichel recovers from surgery. Marchessault, who had an assist Tuesday, has five goals and three assists in his past five contests.
"We want to win a hockey game. We did that," Cassidy said. "We certainly weren't perfect, but I thought we competed harder. We kept the puck out of the net, and that was basically the ask after yesterday."
After holding on for a 6-5 home win over the San Jose Sharks on Dec. 3, the Rangers were 18-4-1. Since then, New York is a pedestrian 11-11-2 over its past 24 games, including a 4-6-2 mark in its past 12.
The Rangers are returning home after going 1-2-1 on a four-game West Coast swing that followed consecutive home wins over the Washington Capitals and Seattle Kraken. New York ended the trip by blowing a two-goal lead and taking a 3-2 loss in San Jose on Tuesday when Igor Shesterkin was beaten by Tomas Hertl 89 seconds into overtime.
Defenseman Adam Fox and Artemi Panarin scored on even strength but New York's power-play was 0-for-3 after scoring twice in a 5-2 win in Anaheim on Sunday.
"We're going through it a little bit right now," New York's Vincent Trocheck said.
"We're in a position to win the game and pull out of the road trip at 2-2," Rangers coach Peter Laviolette added. "It's frustrating not to get the win tonight."
Panarin is on the verge of his fourth 30-goal season and second as a Ranger. He scored in the final two games of the trip and has 17 goals in his past 25 games.
Vegas leads the all-time series 7-4-0, including three wins in New York.
--Field Level Media