The New York Rangers weren't able to get the job done tonight, and lost their second straight game with a 2-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche. The Rangers have now lost five of their last six games during this losing slump, and their sloppy play continued tonight at Madison Square Garden.
Unlike last night, the Rangers had an extremely slow start to the game where they only registered four shots on goal throughout 20 minutes. Given that the Rangers played an emotional game last night against the New York Islanders, the slow start was almost expected. It took the Rangers almost half of the period to get their game rolling, and once they did, the scoring chances slowly started making an appearance.
Mats Zuccarello played a large part in that, and missed a golden opportunity off to the side of the net with under a minute remaining in the period. Semyon Varlamov didn't face much action at all, but he had a strong ending to the period when the Rangers started ramping up the pressure. Heading into the second period, the Rangers looked to build off of their late momentum, but it wound up working against them.
A little over halfway through the middle frame, the Avalanche caught the Rangers defensemen pinching in, and took advantage of the opportunity. Chris Wagner was able to catch a pass from Jack Skille at center ice, and flew down the right side of the ice with plenty of space. Wagner let go a quick snap shot just inside the faceoff dot, and beat Antti Raanta over the pad to make it a 1-0 game.
Things got much worse for the Rangers a few moments later as the Avalanche doubled their lead after converting on a 2-on-1 rush. Kevin Hayes made a rare mistake in coughing up the puck in the neutral zone, and Keith Yandle got caught up ice expecting the zone entry. As a result, Gabriel Landeskog and Matt Duchene broke in with an odd-man rush, and Duchene finished it off with a beautifully placed shot from inside the hash marks.
With the Rangers looking to right the ship, they were handed a late power play opportunity after Tyson Barrie was sent off for hooking. Unfortunately, the Rangers weren't able to get much going on the man-advantage, and trailed 2-0 as the penalty expired early in the third period. With the Avalanche protecting a two goal lead for the final 20 minutes, they went into a full defensive shell.
The Rangers were able to generate some chances, but they just couldn't get any clean looks to get pucks on net. Finally, with under a minute remaining, Oscar Lindberg brought the Rangers back within a goal and converted on his 10th goal of the season. The Rangers had one last chance to knot this game up following the goal, but a huge shot block sealed the deal for the Avalanche.
The Rangers have now dropped to 1-4-1 in their last six games, and will have a few days off to get some much needed rest. They will be back in action again on Sunday, when they host the Ottawa Senators at Madison Square Garden.