That's definitely a game the Rangers wish they had back, and one that Lundqvist would like back as well. The New Jersey Devils came into Madison Square Garden tonight where they snapped the Rangers three game winning streak, by a score of 3-2. After clawing their way back into the game late in the third, the Rangers were victims of a strange bounce, which ended up in the back of their net.
Couple that with a very surprising mistake by Henrik Lundqvist in the second period, and you have yourself quite the letdown. If you watched the first 20 minutes of the game tonight, you likely had to make some coffee by the time the second period rolled around. It was an absolute snooze fest in all three zones, and both teams only combined for 16 total shots.
Fast forward to the second period, and you had a completely different hockey game. Both teams were playing with some major intensity, and weren't playing a tight defensive game as well. The Devils were the first to break the scoreless tie as Ryan Carter chipped a puck into the crease, which wound up going off a few bodies, and eventually trickled over the goal line.
While everyone was likely defeated from the goal, the Rangers weren't hanging their heads around. Right off of the ensuing faceoff, they came right back down and tied the game up at one. Mats Zuccarello made a great play coming into the zone, and illustrated some great patience has he fed the puck back to Marc Staal. Without wasting any time, Staal unloaded the cannon and ripped a low hard shot, which beat Martin Brodeur to the left of his pad.
For the rest of the period, both teams went back to grinding it out but, that was until the Devils converted on their second goal of the game. It was Ryan Carter yet again, which tossed a weak shot from just to the right of Lundqvist, which somehow got through the five hole. This was definitely a goal Lundqvist would want back as it gave the Devils some momentum heading into the third period.
One thing this year's team hasn't lacked is a serious push back. It appears as if every time they are scored, it doesn't take them very long to shift it up a gear. They did just that in the opening half of the third period, and were able to generate their fair share of scoring chances. Unluckily for them, Martin Brodeur was a brick wall tonight, and kept out many glorious scoring chances all throughout the night.
Finally, with about seven minutes left in regulation Dan Girardi cashed in shortly after fanning on an empty net a few minutes prior. Just like the rest of the goals in this game, the puck wound up taking a strange bounce off of the defenseman in front, and found it's way over the glove of Brodeur. From that point on, it appeared as if the Rangers started to take back some control of the game.
However, Danius Zubrus wound up getting an wonderful bounce in front of Lundqvist, and he chipped home the loose puck with just under three minutes remaining. It was a goal that took the life out of the Rangers, as they were forced to make a comeback within the closing minutes of a game. With Lundqvist on the bench, the Rangers weren't able to convert, and lost the game 3-2.
This is the second frustrating loss to the Devils this season, but at the end of the day, the Rangers still remain just three points out of second place. They'll also have three days off between their next game, as they head into Montreal on Saturday night. That one should be fun, especially given the Rangers track record in Montreal.