Vesey, Georgiev Fuel Blueshirts Past ‘Canes

By Matthew Blittner
Special Contributor to

Going into their game Monday night at The Garden, the Rangers had won 14 straight home contests against the ‘Canes; a streak that stretches back to January 5, 2011.

And with their 6-3 victory over Carolina, the Blueshirts extended their franchise-record winning streak to 15 games.

But there’s a lot more to the story.

Jimmy Vesey and Alexandar Georgiev were the fuel the Rangers needed to take down Carolina.

Vesey is proving to be quite the catalyst for the Blueshirts. In fact, in games when Vesey registers a point, the team is 14-2-2.

It certainly helps that he had three goals against the Hurricanes; tallying his first career NHL hat trick.

“I remember it took me four years in college to get one,” said Vesey of his hat trick. “Everyone dreams when they are a kid of scoring the big goal or scoring a hat trick.”

Meanwhile, what’s the best offense?

Answer: a good defense.

And boy oh boy did the Rangers have that; thanks to the superb goaltending of Georgiev.

In four career starts, the rookie netminder has thrice posted a save-percentage north of .930; twice recording 40 or more saves.

[Watch Rangers-Blues Saturday on MSG+ & MSG GO. Download the app for free.]

Thankfully, one of those performances came Monday night.

“Tonight, what you get a lot in this league, the difference was goaltending,” said head coach Alain Vigneault. “Their goaltender had a tough night and our young goaltender had a good night.”

But what’s the secret to Georgiev’s success?

“I try to keep the same emotions and preparation,” said Georgiev. “I would say I feel a bit more confident, but really much the same guy, same goalie, just playing my game.”

“He’s played well for us,” added Vigneault. “He’s done what you want your goaltender to do — give yourself a chance to win, give your team a chance to win. That’s what we need from our goaltending because on a lot of nights that’s the difference in this league.”

As for the rest of the game…



Dating back to January 5, 2011, the Blueshirts have beaten Carolina 15 straight times at The Garden. It’s the longest such win-streak against one opponent in team history. I guess the Rangers really have found the “eye of the storm.”


Move over Mariano Rivera, you have company. The Blueshirts are a perfect 20-for-20 this season when taking a lead into the third period. Going back to the start of the 2010-11 season, the Blueshirts are 214-7-8 when leading after 40 minutes.

[Watch Rangers-Blues Saturday on MSG+ & MSG GO. Download the app for free.]


I’m running out of ways to describe what Ryan Spooner is doing. He has 13 points in eight games as a Ranger and has only been held off the scoresheet twice in that span. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Spooner is the second player in team history to tally 11 or more assists in his first eight games with the team. Can you guess the other?

(WARNING: Do not look below without taking a guess.)

The answer: Walt Poddubny.

Kudos to those who got the answer right … without cheating.


The Blueshirts’ goal-scoring sponsor should consider applying their discount twice after this game. Scores by Mats Zuccarello (two), Vladislav Namestinkov and Vesey (three) gave the Rangers a season-high tying six goals.


Four different Rangers had nights to remember.

A. Vesey registered his first career hat-trick.
B. Zuccarello tallied two goals; including the 100th of his career.
C. Pavel Buchnevich set a new single-game career-high with three assists.
D. Mika Zibanejad tied his single-game career-high with three assists.


It’s nice when your favorite hockey team scores a touchdown — extra point not included.

[Watch Rangers-Blues Saturday on MSG+ & MSG GO. Download the app for free.]