Monday, May 20, 2024

Go-ahead goal just what doctor ordered for Rangers’ Kaapo Kakko

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The points may finally start coming in bunches for Kaapo Kakko.

Anybody that knows the Finnish wing, however, knows that he wants to score goals.

The slight-but-intense fist pump Kakko gave after sniping the game-winning goal in the Rangers’ 3-1 win over the Stars on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden said it all.

Kaapo Kakko celebrates with teammates after scoring the go-ahead goal in the Rangers' 3-1 win over the Stars.
Kaapo Kakko celebrates with teammates after scoring the go-ahead goal in the Rangers’ 3-1 win over the Stars. Jason Szenes for New York Post

There hasn’t been too much to celebrate about the 23-year-old’s fifth NHL season, in which he landed on injured reserve for 21 games and struggled to produce otherwise, but Kakko rightfully relished this goal.

It came during four-on-four play. It came on a goaltender who was having a strong night. It came on a beautiful shot.

“The whole team has been playing good and our line also,” Kakko said. “We’ve been doing some good things on the ice, spending time in the O-zone. That’s the first thing if you want to get some points. I felt a little lucky sometimes, also, but that’s what you need sometimes.”

With the Rangers up 1-0 at the 7:44 mark of the second period, the two teams went four-on-four.

After the home team circled the zone for a bit, Kakko then sniped the puck past Stars goalie Scott Wedgewood to double the Rangers’ lead.

With the goal, Kakko tied his career-long point streak of five games, which was set from Nov. 14-24, 2021.

“This is the best he’s looked,” head coach Peter Laviolette said of Kakko before the game. “To me, he’s moving his feet, he’s creating, he’s playing with some attitude and some edge out there. The line has been good, but I think he’s a big part of driving that line. Since he’s been back from the injury, he just seems to be getting stronger and stronger inside of his game.”


The deep purple bruising from the top of Ryan Lindgren’s right cheek bone bled red into the white of his right eye, which was spared by just inches when the follow-through of Islanders forward Alexander Romanov’s stick made contact with the defenseman’s face on Sunday.

And yet, Lindgren was back on the ice Tuesday for morning skate and then that night’s game.

Ryan Lindgren, who played despite suffering a bruised cheek against the Islanders, is checked by Matt Duchene (right) during the Rangers' win over the Stars.
Ryan Lindgren, who played despite suffering a bruised cheek against the Islanders, is checked by Matt Duchene (right) during the Rangers’ win over the Stars. Jason Szenes for the New York Post

As if his right eye wasn’t swollen shut two nights prior. As if he didn’t spend all day Monday icing it down. As if he was made of steel.

“Not really [it doesn’t surprise me],” Laviolette said. “Not when you get to know a player and their makeup and their DNA. What’s inside of that person and what makes them tick. He’s a warrior out there. Everybody knows that. We’re still going to have him be seen before he gets in the game, but he certainly looked good out there. It’s all positive.”

Despite his nonchalant attitude about the whole situation, Lindgren did have to get 10 stitches to repair the laceration he sustained under the eye. As a result, he now has to wear a full face shield.
Lindgren is the fourth Ranger to have to wear a bubble this season, joining Barclay Goodrow, Jimmy Vesey and Erik Gustafsson.


The Hartford Wolf Pack released Artem Anisimov from his professional tryout agreement.

Anisimov was two games away from logging 1,000 in North America between the AHL and NHL.

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