The New York Rangers had a tough outing tonight, and were defeated 5-1 by the Montreal Canadiens at Madison Square Garden. Right from the opening puck drop, the Canadiens controlled the play, and when the Rangers started crawling back, they stomped out any hope. Henrik Lundqvist allowed five goals on 24 shots, but he didn't stand much of a chance with the way the Rangers were playing in their own end.
The Rangers started feeling the pressure early on in this game, and just 4:45 into regulation, the Canadiens took their first lead of the night. Sven Andrighetto was left alone all in front of the net, and after taking a slight deflection, the puck landed right on his tape at the top of the crease. Henrik Lundqvist attempted to slide back over to get a piece of the rebound, but the puck slipped between his legs and gave Montreal an early 1-0 lead.
Despite registering 11 total shots during the first period, the Rangers weren't able to generate many scoring chances. and went into the intermission down 1-0. Much like the first period, the Rangers let the Canadiens dictate the play early on and they wound up making a 2-0 game 2:25 into the second period. This time around it was Devante Smith-Pelly, who chipped home a beautiful centering feed from Max Pacioretty, and beat Lundqvist just under the pad.
Following the second goal, the Rangers started to pick up their play in the offensive zone, and drew a late power play opportunity. With a little over two minutes remaining in the period, Ryan McDonagh unleashed a booming slap shot from the point, and beat Carey Price over the shoulder. McDonagh was originally credited with the goal, but the puck went off of Rick Nash in front of the net, and it was later adjusted.
Coming out for the third period, the Rangers looked poised to make a strong push and make this one a game. Their chances looked even stronger when Carey Price remained in the locker room, and Mike Condon replaced him for the third period. Unfortunately, the Canadiens came out looking for blood, and registered three consecutive goals within the first nine minutes.
Smith-Pelly got it all started with a goal just 17 seconds into the period, and Alex Galchenyuk added another about a minute later. At that point, things began to look pretty grim for the Rangers, then Max Pacioretty put the nail in the coffin to make it a 5-1 game. Henrik Lundqvist wound up getting yanked after the fifth goal, and Antti Raanta came in to relieve him for the remainder of the third period.
Tonight just wasn't the Rangers night at all, and their coverage in the defensive zone was absolutely horrendous. They will have just a day to correct what went wrong tonight, before they go back at it with the Boston Bruins on Friday afternoon.