Kaapo Kakko: I got ‘lucky’ on first Rangers goal

New York Post Sports 1 week ago

And so it was at 18:48 of the first period at the Garden on Saturday afternoon that Kaapo Kakko scored his first NHL goal … and smiled widely from the bench when he appeared on the video screen during the PA announcement.

“That was a great feeling,” the second-overall selection of June’s entry draft said of the huge response from the crowd. “Of course [scoring the goal] feels good. It’s why you play hockey.

“But we didn’t play good. It was a big goal for us, but not enough.”

Kakko was the only Ranger to beat backup Mike Smith in the Blueshirts’ 4-1 defeat to Edmonton. The freshman scored off a backhand in tight after converting a lovely backhand feed from Ryan Strome after No. 16 picked up the puck after it had been poked off Kakko’s stick by Oscar Klefbom as he entered the zone on the right.

Kakko continued to the net, beating the Edmonton defenseman. Strome flicked a saucer up ahead to No. 24, who then made a couple of quick moves before slipping it into the right side of the net.

“It was a great play by Stromer,” Kakko said. “I was a little bit lucky.”


“I’m happy for him,” said Artemi Panarin. “This should give him confidence and get better from here.”

Lias Andersson, who got 7:16 of ice (5:28 even-strength) had a golden opportunity to knot the game 2-2 with 7:17 remaining in regulation, but was snuffed by Smith on a rebound off Brady Skjei’s slap shot.

The Rangers had possession in the Edmonton zone with 2:30 remaining, down 3-1, but Quinn was conservative in pulling Henrik Lundqvist and did not get the goaltender off for the extra attacker for another minute.

Blueshirts were out-attempted 51-22 at even-strength in this one and by 165-113 through their three games for a small sample size Corsi of 40.6 percent, per Naturalstattrick.com.

Defeat prevented the Rangers from their fifth 3-0 getaway over the last 80 seasons. … Blueshirts next play on Thursday in New Jersey.

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