Happy Birthday Pavel
Buchnevich celebrated his 26th birthday in style on Saturday afternoon at Madison Square Garden. He scored two goals early in the game against the New Jersey Devils and added an empty-net insurance goal to secure the Rangers 6-3 win and a much-needed two points.
It was his first career hat trick, and he couldn’t have picked a better time to do it with the Rangers battling to catch the Boston Bruins, who are four points ahead in the East Division with two games in hand. Buchnevich leads the Blueshirts with 19 goals thus far.
That was the chant heard at MSG throughout the game. Shesterkin had his 152-minute shutout streak snapped during the second period of Saturday’s matinee against the Devils. Meanwhile, he had a 198-minute streak against the team from Jersey this season that was also snapped by Michael McLeod at the 12:37 mark. But that didn’t stop the 2,000 or so rabid Rangers fans from chanting his name. Igor is 13-9 on the season with a 2.28 goals against average (GAA). He’s played just under 1,500 minutes for the Blueshirts and has recorded two shutouts.
The best part about Shesterkin’s game and one of the things that players and fans alike love is that he gives the team a chance to win every night. Adam Fox told Larry Brooks of the NY Post, “He’s been great all year. Obviously, he had a little bout with injuries. He’s always giving us a chance to win and makes key saves for us.” Shesterkin has clearly taken over the No. 1 role as the Rangers backstop and looks to be the heir apparent to Henrik Lundqvist for the next 10-plus years.
Can’t Stop the Breadman
Panarin racked up four more points Saturday against the Devils and seems to be in full stride as the Rangers turn the corner on the home stretch. If they’re going to make a serious push for the playoffs, they’ll need him to keep it up and keep lifting his teammates up as he has been since returning from his 15-day leave of absence.
The former Calder Memorial Trophy winner (2015-16) and 2019-20 Hart Trophy finalist, who went undrafted, passed Mark Messier as the Rangers’ player with the most points in their first 100 games with the team. He scored his 138th point in his 100th game with the Blueshirts when they played the Devils on April 13. The Breadman has 50 points in 33 games this season. He’s also racked up 10 goals and 18 assists in the last 17 games in which the Rangers have gone 11-4-2. He’s ninth in the league in scoring despite missing several games.
DeAngelo Won’t Go Away
The Rangers tried to terminate DeAngelo’s contract 10 weeks after they told him he was no longer welcome in the locker room after an incident he had with backup goaltender Alexandar Georgiev. The team tried to mutually terminate the defenseman’s contract so he could go on waivers and maybe catch on somewhere else. According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, the Montreal Canadians were “very interested;” however, DeAngelo refused.
He’ll be bought out during the offseason and stands to lose $3.53 million of his salary. If he would have taken the buyout/termination now, he would have lost $1 million this year and $5.53 million for next season. So he saved himself about $3 million but lost the chance to possibly join a playoff team and take a run at the Cup.
Where Do We Go From Here?
The Rangers have won three straight, and The Breadman is on fire. Buchnevich takes the team lead in goals on his 26th birthday and needs to keep up the pace. Shesterkin has cemented himself as the No.1 goalie and hopes to get a chance to shine in the playoffs, while the DeAngelo saga continues for a couple of more months.
Scott Blair is an author and journalist from Los Angeles, CA, by way of Detroit, MI. Uniquely diverse experiences have shaped Scott’s life in both of those places he calls home. He is now traveling the world, learning and growing as a human and a writer. He was a professional hockey player and then turned to the arts, becoming an actor for about 15 years. His passions turned to poetry, prose, politics, and journalism when he got tired of the Hollywood machine and what it represents. Scott is available for interviews and welcomes questions and topic ideas.