The New York Rangers were unable to rebound from a 2-0 deficit, and lost 2-1 to the Florida Panthers tonight. Henrik Lundqvist turned away 36 of 38 shots, but the Rangers were unable to answer the call offensively.
Jason Garrison got the Panthers on the board first with a booming slap shot from the point on the power play. Henrik Lundqvist looked slightly screened on the play, and it beat him low to the blocker side. That was Garrison's 8th goal of the season, and he leads all defensemen in the NHL with goals scored.
After a sluggish first the period, the Rangers looked to rebound, until Kris Versteeg popped in a goal, just 1:09 into the second period. This was a major defensive collapse and Versteeg was left wide open about three feet in front of the net. Leaving someone alone like that should not happen in that close. Just three minutes later, the Rangers answered back with a goal coming from Derek Stepan
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Marian Gaborik made a great play on the Stepan goal, and waited out the defense. He fed it over the trailing Stepn, who sniped it over the shoulder of Jose Theodore. About halfway through the second period, Andre Deveaux made a very foolish hit on Tomas Fleischmann in the neutral zone. Deveaux raised his elbow before he came into contact with Fleischmann, and caught him in the head. As a result, Deveaux was assessed a five-minute major, accompanied by a game misconduct.
This is the exact type of hit Brendan Shanahan has been cracking down on lately, and is trying to remove from the game. I would not be surprised if Deveaux received at least a 5-10 game suspension on the hit. If that is the case, who would the Rangers call up in his presence?
With the Rangers already trying to fight for the tying goal, this was a very silly mistake to make, and could potentially cost him a roster spot. Thankfully the Rangers did an excellent job with killing off the penalty, along with some brilliant saves coming from Henrik Lundqvist.
Two minutes into the third period, the Rangers had a golden opportunity to get back into the game, but once again failed to convert on the power play. One of the main focuses at the Rangers practice was the power play. Unfortunately, it seems as if it needs more work, as the Rangers went 0-for-4 tonight with the man advantage.
The glaring issue with the power play right now is the lack of movement. Every player just mans their spot, and sticks to it. When they pass it around, it makes it easy on the defense, as they are standing still. If the Rangers can get more movement going, and get quality shots on the net, it can work some real magic.
Another problem with the recent slump is that they are simply not putting the puck on net enough. Over the last two games, and even during their win streak, there were times when the Rangers shots are being doubled, if not tripled. They get into the zone, and do an endless cycle that eventually leads to nothing. Sure, a cycle is good every now and than, but you need to eventually get the puck on net at some point during it.
The Rangers went on to take two undisciplined penalties coming from both Sean Avery and Ryan Callahan. Avery caught Brian Campbell in the face on a play that didn't even call for an attempted stick lift. Callahan was whistled down with just under seven minutes to play. Callahan got his stick caught up in the jersey of the crashing Florida player. That will almost always give you a two minute trip the box, guaranteed.
With this loss, the Rangers have now dropped two straight games, and have been outscored 6-1. The Rangers will really need to amp up their play before they take on the Washington Capitals this Friday or they may be in some serious trouble