Matt Rempe Sets The Early Playoff Tone For Rangers, Scoring Their 1st Goal & Decking A Guy To Pave Way For Another

Matt Rempe Rangers
ESPN

Despite playing only 17 regular-season games, New York Rangers rookie Matt Rempe immediately established himself as a certified enforcer who’d be an X-factor in the Blueshirts’ hopeful run at a Stanley Cup. But don’t get it twisted: Rempe isn’t merely a goon. The towering 6-foot-7 forward can be a real contributor on offense when his number is called upon, making him an unpredictable wild card who’s still figuring out how to play the NHL game.

In his playoff debut, Rempe didn’t waste any time making a splash, scoring New York’s first goal of the postseason to ignite a flurry of three goals in just over two minutes against the Washington Capitals.

But Rempe wasn’t finished there. On a face-off in Capitals territory, his massive frame and a little bit of movement — possibly a subtle, sharp elbow? — sent Washington left winger Beck Malenstyn to the ice’s surface in apparent agony.

If you ask me, that’s most likely a flop by Malenstyn. Only the final angle on the replay looks like Rempe might have gotten a good piece of him. Officials reviewed the play on the ice for potential interference, and the goal scored by Jimmy Vesey stood as called.

Rempe can turn grunt work into tangible production, which must be alarming for the rest of the NHL to see. The Rangers already have plenty of firepower on offense. Anything they can get from Rempe and/or the fourth line is a massive bonus. Combine that with Igor Shesterkin between the pipes and a reliable veteran backstop behind him in Jonathan Quick, and it stands to reason that this New York club could finally break the Presidents’ Trophy curse of recent years.

Finishing the regular season with the most points in the standings hasn’t been a recipe for success. Over the last decade, only the 2014-15 Rangers made it out of the second round. Last year’s historically great Boston Bruins team got bounced by the Panthers in Round 1.

Think about this: Rempe was on the ice for only four goals in the regular season, per ESPN’s telecast. He’s already been on for two in these playoffs. That’s the type of magic the Rangers and any other Stanley Cup hopefuls need to get over the hump.

We’ll see if this is a mere flash in the pan, or if Rempe’s physicality and fisticuffs will be his only lasting contributions for the Blueshirts in the next several weeks. Regardless, Rempe’s future sure looks bright.

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