Quebecer Alexis Lafrenière is rather discreet on the score sheet, but sometimes he reminds everyone why he was the very first player selected in the 2020 draft. Very spectacular, the forward provided two goals in the victory of 4 to 0 by the New York Rangers over the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.
• Read also: Greater Toronto Hockey League: moving from Quebec at the age of 14
• Read also: The Jets shoot themselves in the foot
Lafrenière had been left out earlier this week to rest. We have to believe that this break did him the greatest good since he ended an eight-game pointless streak by finding the back of the net at the start of the third period. The former Rimouski Océanic made it 3-0 by pretending to pass to Barclay Goodrow before beating Thomas Greiss with a sharp shot.
The 20-year-old did even better 10 minutes later when he mocked the opposition defence. Lafrenière overwhelmed Dylan Larkin with a nice fake between his skates before lodging the puck in the top of the net, with a backhand shot.
The Eustachois has 17 goals and 10 assists this season, for a total of 27 points in 73 games.
Mika Zibanejad and Frank Vatrano were the other scorers for Rangers. The latter was also tackled by Larkin a second after the throw that beat Greiss. Vatrano rolled his eyes at the Wings captain, but tempers didn’t warm up.
Recently returned to the game, Kaapo Kakko made a worrying fall in the first period. Going to the corner of the rink behind an opposing player, the Finn lost his footing and his right leg twisted against the boards. He did not return to the match afterwards.
Igor Shesterkin had an easy 20-save shutout, his fourth of the season. With an excellent 34-11-4 record this season, he improved his goals-against-average to 2.05 and his save percentage to .935.
Predators too strong
In Nashville, the Predators took a step closer to the playoffs by beating the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3, who almost played the spoilsports.
Mikael Granlund’s 10th, which crowned a breakthrough of three goals without reply from the “Preds”, made the difference in the third period. Matt Duchene, Eeli Tolvanen and Roman Josi also took part in the scoring.
For the Swiss defender, it was a 20th goal this season. Shea Weber was the only fullback to reach that milestone in a Predators uniform, which he did three times.
In his 1100th career game, Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist. He teamed up with Riley Stillman with just over five minutes to go, but the Blackhawks couldn’t tie the game even after removing Kevin Lankinen in favor of a sixth skater.