The New York Rangers signed one of their 2020 draft picks, netminder Dylan Garand shortly before the World Junior Championships (WJC) started. The NHL postpones more games. Chris Kreider snipes again and Artemi Panarin (“with a sick move”) also scored in the Rangers loss to the Florida Panthers in Sunrise, FL as they move on to face the defending Stanley Cup Champs in Tampa, and more…
The Rangers signed Garand to an entry-level contract shortly before the now canceled 2022 WJC began. Garand started Team Canada’s first game against Czechia and allowed three goals in their 6-3 win. He only faced 17 shots and didn’t start the second game against Austria. Head Coach Dave Cameron figured to give the Rangers’ 2020 fourth-round draft pick a rest against an Austrian team that wasn’t expected to give the Canadians much of a game, and they didn’t. Canada coasted to an 11-2 win before the tournament was canceled due to COVID-19.
The six-foot, 172-pound netminder from Victoria, British Columbia, is in his fifth season with the Western Hockey League’s (WHL) Kamloops Blazers. Garand has logged 1,134 minutes in 19 games so far this season. He’s 15-4 with a 1.85 goals-against average (GAA) and 0.932 save percentage (SV%). The Blazers are in second place in their conference and should challenge to win the WHL championship. Garand played two games last season for Rangers’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate Hartford Wolf Pack.
NHL Postpones More Games
The Rangers were originally scheduled to play the Detroit Red Wings on Dec. 26 after the Christmas break. However, the league decided to push that game back an extra day. On Christmas Eve, the league announced they were postponing the game against the Red Wings until further notice so they could have an extra today to assess COVID tests.
Kreider and Panarin Score Again; Rangers Can’t Hold Lead
Kreider scored his 19th goal of the season Wednesday against the Panthers. He currently leads the Rangers in goals, and he’s fourth in the NHL. His goal with 45 seconds left in the third period gave the Rangers life as they attempted to come back from two goals down. However, it was too little too late, and the Panthers held off the Rangers’ late-game surge.
The Rangers had a 2-1 lead and momentum heading into the third. But the Panthers came out with three straight goals and took the wind out of the Rangers’ sail. The Blueshirts are still learning how to consistently play a full 60-minute game. Although they’ve gotten better at it, they still have lapses. Wednesday, it was a period of 10 minutes. The Panthers scored the tying goal at 5:56 of the third, and Anthony Duclair put the Panthers up 4-2 at the 14:40 mark.
Panarin had a goal and an assist on Wednesday, and his goal was a beauty. After the game, he told reporters that he saw a player attempt the move recently at the WJC, and he thought to himself that he should be doing that. He worked on it for three days in practice and pulled it off to score the game’s first goal on Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.
Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant had this to say about the play, “good move, talented move against a real good player. Sometimes they go in when you put the puck to the net. He played really well today, made some good plays” (From “Rangers’ Artemi Panarin scores goal using sick move he saw at juniors event” – NY Post – 12/30/31).
The Rangers will head to Tampa Bay to take on the Lightning, New Year’s Eve.
Poster Series Giveaway, Shesterkin’s Birthday
Igor Sheskerkin turned 26 on Dec. 30 during the Rangers Florida trip. However, when they return to Madison Square Garden (MSG), the Rangers will help Shesterkin celebrate by honoring him as the poster boy for their poster series giveaway during the game against the Edmonton Oilers.
Happy New Year
The Rangers signed one of their top goaltenders in the pipeline. Kreider continues to fill the net and Panarin continues to amaze while the Rangers couldn’t hold on to beat the Panthers. Igor Shesterkin turns 26 in time for poster giveaway night.
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.