As was the case Saturday night against Winnipeg, the Rangers were dealt a short hand. With three of the six defensemen from opening night out, and, on Monday night, down Mats Zuccarello (and still without Derek Stepan), the Rangers faced an uphill battle against the St Louis Blues.
But just as was the case Saturday against Winnipeg, even with a tough script to play, the Rangers had an excellent opportunity to grab two points, but failed to come away with a second.
The Rangers blew two different leads Monday night against St. Louis, and eventually failed to pick up a second point against the Blues in the shootout, falling 4-3.
Even without Ryan McDonagh, Dan Boyle, and John Moore, New York came out firing in the first period, creating offensive chances through zone time and good possession. The Rangers drew two minor penalties in the first period, and capitalized on the first, converting their first home power play goal of the season. Matt Hunwick threw a shot toward net in a good space to be deflected, and Chris Kreider tipped it past Brian Elliott to give the Rangers a 1-0 edge.
New York would fire 15 shots on goal in the first 20 minutes, and squandered some chances, which kept the Blues within a goal, and led to a tie score in the middle frame. With Hunwick in the penalty box, Vladimir Tarasenko danced around three Rangers, and broke in on Cam Talbot, leaning one way, and tucking the puck in on the other side to send the game to the third period tied at one.
It was the Blues who scored first in the third, and took their first lead of the night. After Talbot stopped an initial attempt from Patrik Berglund, the rebound found its way to the point, and Berglund managed to deflect a Barret Jackman shot past Talbot and in to make it 2-1 Blues.
The Rangers would respond though, and begin to build momentum leading to a tying goal. After an extended shift in the Blues' end, Carl Hagelin hit Martin St. Louis with a perfect pass from behind the net, and St. Louis pushed the puck past Elliot to knot the game at two.
St. Louis wasn't finished.
Just under seven minutes later, Derick Brassard hit St. Louis with a pass up the boards to start the rush. St. Louis fed the puck across to Rick Nash, as the pair hit the offensive blue line two-on-two. Nash took the puck out wide, and sent a feed toward the crease that was deflected home by St. Louis to give the Rangers the lead back at 3-2.
New York though was unable to hold its advantage for very long. Only 1:16 later, with just over 5:30 remaining in regulation, the Blues turned defense into offense. After Kreider nearly doubled the Rangers lead at one end, St. Louis carried the puck the other way, and Jay Bouwmeester fired a drop pass off the crossbar and in to tie the game at three.
The teams went into overtime with New York on the power play, and it looked like the Rangers found a winner on the man-advantage to seal the game. Nash took a St. Louis feed off a quick counter started by Talbot, and while his shot beat Elliot, it hit the inside of the post and remained out. The Rangers failed to convert on the rest of the power play, and neither team was able to find an overtime-winner, sending the game to a shootout, the Rangers second in as many games.
Without Zuccarello, Lee Stempniak kicked things off for the Rangers, beating Elliot through his legs on the backhand to give the Rangers a quick lead. But Alexander Steen scored on Blues' first attempt to even things up, and Tarasenko ended it after St. Louis and Nash were denied to earn the St. Louis a second point.
Again, even without a group of regular skaters, and with Talbot in net, the Rangers had plenty of opportunities to earn a second point. Nash's shot in overtime nearly ended it, while Kreider and Kevin Hayes both had Grade-A opportunities to net a winner in the third.
The Rangers will be back in action Wednesday night against the Red Wings.