The New York Rangers started out strong tonight against the Vancouver Canucks, but a horrendous second period allowed the Canucks to hang around, and eventually force the shootout. Cam Talbot didn't have his strongest of performances, and probably wants a few of those goals back that beat him tonight. Understandably though, Talbot has went eight straight games without any sort of a rest. For a normal starting goalie, that's probably not a tall task, but given that this is Talbot's first real workload, it's probably catching up with him a little bit.
To start out the game, the Rangers were on a completely different level compared to the Canucks, and wound up out-shooting them 14-5 through 20 minutes. After numerous failed scoring attempts, Derek Stepan finally got the Rangers on the board by capping off a beautiful passing play at 11:39. Dan Girardi started it all off by following up his rebound, and kept the puck alive deep in the zone. Girardi quickly found Martin St. Louis wide open down low, and within the blink of an eye, the puck flew out to Derek Stepan.
Stepan was wide open in the high slot, and banged home the sweet feed from St. Louis to give the Rangers the 1-0 lead. The Rangers kept up the pressure for the remainder of the period, and if not for Ryan Miller, this game probably would have gotten out of hand. Despite the Rangers dominating the opening period, the Canucks found their legs early in the second period, and answered right back.
Just 1:43 into the middle frame, Shawn Matthias took advantage of a miscue in the offensive zone, and flipped the puck over Cam Talbot. Jannik Hansen was able to tie up Ryan McDonagh on a broken play in the corner, and somehow knocked the puck loose. Talbot attempted to poke the puck through the middle, but missed, and allowed Matthias to walk in all alone. To make matters worse, Dan Girardi wound up clipping the skate of Talbot, and took him down as he was trying to square up to the shot.
Matthias was able to out-wait the sprawling Talbot, and flipped it over him to knot the game up at 1-1. As disappointing as it was to give up the tying goal, the Rangers responded accordingly at the midway point of the period. Mats Zuccarello was able to force a turnover in the neutral zone, and Derick Brassard fired a quick pass up ice to Rick Nash. With the Canucks caught in a semi-change, Nash was able to break down the wing, and snap a hard wrist shot through the legs of Ryan Miller.
Even though he only registered a single point tonight, Rick Nash had another outstanding game, and continues to be a force that opponent's can't seem to handle. Just as the Rangers were settling in after Nash's goal, the Canucks came right back to even up the game exactly 3:18 later. Ryan McDonagh created a 2-on-1 going back the other way after he misread the play, and pinched into the offensive zone. That left Dan Girardi back all alone, and Bo Horvat redirected home a slick cross-ice feed from Ronalds Kenins.
Heading into the third period, the Rangers knew they need a better effort, but wound up giving the Canucks their first lead of the night instead. Just 2:39 into the final period, Kevin Hayes took a very undisciplined penalty in the offensive zone, and sent the Canucks to their first and only power play of the game. With under a minute remaining in the man-advantage, Henrik Sedin was able to get a piece of Adam Clendening's point shot, and tipped the puck under Cam Talbot. That gave the Canucks their first lead of the night, and the Rangers weren't to happy about it.
About a minute after giving up the go-ahead goal, the Rangers flipped the switch, and rattled off two goals within a 21 second span to regain the lead. The first goal came courtesy of Martin St. Louis as he made a nifty move on Dan Hamhuis, and popped the puck under the arm of Ryan Miller. Since scoring the tying goal the other night against the New York Islanders, St. Louis has regained his confidence, and looks like a completely different player.
Right after St. Louis tied the game, the Rangers came right back down the ice, and Carl Hagelin redirected a shot in the high slot to give the Rangers a 4-3 lead. Dan Girardi made a great play to not only find Hagelin, but give him a hard slap pass which allowed Hagelin to get a piece of it was it came in on net. Just as the Rangers were coming back to form, the Canucks turned the tables, and hemmed the Rangers in their zone for a majority of the closing minutes.
Finally, with exactly two minutes remaining in regulation and the goalie pulled, Henrik Sedin scored his second of the night to tie the game back up at 4-4. Talbot was unable to handle the initial rebound, and Henrik Sedin was able to pounce of the loose puck before Marc Staal came sliding in to block the shot. That wound up forcing overtime, where the Canucks and Rangers still came up empty handed after the five minute overtime period.
In the shootout, the Canucks were able to score on their first two shots coming from Alexandre Burrows, and Radim Vrbata, and snagged the extra point. This was certainly a disappointing loss, especially after how strong the Rangers started the game. Unfortunately, you can't win them all, and you just move on to the next one. Luckily, there will be a quick turnaround as the Rangers will be back in action tomorrow night against the Buffalo Sabres. Alain Vigneault has named a starting goaltender, and maybe we will get to see the NHL debut of Mackenzie Skapski.