For the second consecutive game, the New York Rangers gave up seven goals as they fell to the Minnesota Wild by a final score of 7-4. Henrik Lundqvist, who originally got the start tonight, was yanked early in the second period after the Rangers gave up three goals in a span of five minutes. Aside from maybe the first goal, Lundqvist didn’t stand much of a chance as the defense in front of him was no where to be found.
They were allowing the Wild players to hack away at every single loose puck, and essentially let them run free in the offensive zone. Prior to the disastrous second period, the Rangers had actually opened this game with the better of the play during the opening minutes. As a result, Chris Kreider was able to finish off a beautiful passing play in the high slot, and smoked a snap shot past Darcy Kuemper on the far side.
Just about six minutes later, the Wild were able to pull even following a horrific icing generated by Dan Girardi. Right off of the faceoff, Mikael Granlund tossed a quick shot on net from the corner, and it just barely slipped under the pad of Henrik Lundqvist.
Then, the second period happened. Within the first minute of the middle frame, the Wild scored twice within a matter of 18 seconds and jumped out to a 3-1 lead. The Rangers were completely flat prior to the pair of goals, and looked a bit stunned by the overwhelming pressure. Thankfully, the Rangers were able to respond almost immediately after as Ryan McDonagh’s point shot took a strange deflection and ended up behind Kuemper.
Unfortunately, following McDonagh’s goal, the Rangers would go on to allow three more goals during the second period, and found themselves down 6-3 after 40 minutes of play. Marco Scandella, Jason Zucker, and Matt Dumba were the goal scorers for the Wild, while Derek Stepan added a late tally for the Rangers.
After a goal filled second period, the third period was a bit quieter with the Wild locking down the neutral zone and killing off the remainder of the clock. The Rangers were able to find one final goal before the game ended, with Chris Kreider picking up his second goal of the night. Mats Zuccarello created the goal with a perfect centering feed at the top of the crease, which allowed Kreider to redirect the puck home for his 11th of the season.
In a last ditch effort, the Rangers pulled the goaltender during the final three minutes, but they were unable to find anymore bounces. Charlie Coyle iced the game with a little over a minute remaining in the game, and secured the tenth straight win for the Wild. Meanwhile at the other end, this was the second straight game where the Rangers had given up seven goals in a game.
The defensive coverage has been absolutely brutal over the last two games, and suddenly, the Rangers are on the receiving end of the beat downs they were handing out earlier in the season. It’s no question that something needs to happen with the defense moving forward, whether it’s by scratching certain players or something that comes in the form of a trade.
Either way, something needs to give and quick, otherwise the Rangers will start to feel the effects of it in the standings. What makes it even worse is that the Metropolitan division is easily the most competitive division this season, and all of the teams ahead of the Rangers continue to pickup points.
Tonight’s game was the last game on the schedule until after the Christmas break, with the Rangers returning to action on Tuesday evening against the Derick Brassard and the Ottawa Senators.