The New York Rangers came up empty handed tonight, and were defeated 1-0 by the surging Chicago Blackhawks at Madison Square Garden. Losses have become a rarity during the last little stretch, but the reality is that they eventually do happen, and tonight was one of those occurrences. The Chicago Blackhawks have been catching fire as of late, even without Patrick Kane in the lineup, and showed tonight why they are still considered one of the top teams in the league.
Tonight had a playoff like atmosphere to it, and it's no surprise that it took one defensive miscue for the deciding goal to be scored. Despite not a whole lot of goals being scored, this was game incredible to watch from a tactical standpoint, and seeing how both of these top teams stack up against one another.
The Rangers certainly didn't get the job done tonight, but it's not something to hang their heads about. They played a hard fought game, and despite one defensive miscue, they played very well in all three zones. Cam Talbot was fantastic once again tonight, and kept this a scoreless game with countless key saves. Even when the Blackhawks eventually broke though, he was one of the main reasons it remained a one goal game, and he gave the Rangers an opportunity to knot up the game.
In terms of the game-winning goal, a majority of the blame is going to likely land on Tanner Glass, but it was more of a widespread issue. Tanner Glass probably could have adjusted a little bit better, but his first reaction is taking away the pass while Matt Hunwick recovered from getting caught behind the net. Jesper Fast also fell asleep in the high slot, and left a wide open lane for Brad Richards to walk out in front to pick the corner.
There were many issues with the defensive coverage on that play, and unfortunately that was the one mistake that wound up costing them. What also makes it even more frustrating is that the Rangers came within inches of grabbing a lead of their own just a few seconds prior. Dan Boyle smoked one off of the crossbar after an incredible cross-ice feed from Dominic Moore, and allowed the Blackhawks to pounce on the counterattack the other way.
There was a lot to like about their game tonight, even if they weren't able to come away with a goal, let alone the two points. The Rangers will have a few days to adjust their game before heading into Saturday's tilt against the Carolina Hurricanes.