Following a 2-0 shutout against the Montreal Canadiens, which led to questionable lineup decisions, the New York Rangers fell to the St. Louis Blues 3-1 at Madison Square Garden. Lineup decisions aside, the Rangers probably deserved more than the lone goal they scored this evening, but once again, the Rangers ran into a goaltender who played out of his mind.
The line of Chris Kreider, Mika Zibenajad and Pavel Buchnevich had another strong outing, and generated a majority of the scoring chances for the Rangers in this game. Unfortunately, the other three Ranger lines have been extremely inconsistent thus far and haven’t been generating nearly enough chances for the Rangers to be successful throughout the first four games. Henrik Lundqvist, who picked up his third start of the season, reeled in another solid performance in the crease but came up empty this time around.
With the Rangers looking to come out strong against a Blues team playing their second game of a back-to-back, they certainly didn’t waste time causing a controversy. Just 15 seconds after the opening faceoff, the Blues were able to stun the Rangers with a quick goal coming from Carl Gunnarsson. Rick Nash, Michael Grabner and Kevin Shattenkirk were all caught puck watching up at the blue line which left Gunnarsson all alone on the right side of the net.
Thankfully, the Rangers received their own opportunity to tie the game just a few moments later with Schwartz heading off for interference. Mika Zibanejad, once again, picked up the power play goal to tie the game and notched his fifth goal of the season. Pavel Buchnevich and Kevin Shattenkirk picked up the assists on the goal, with Buchnevich creating the entire sequence with a beautiful reversal pass at the top of the crease.
A little past the halfway mark of the first period, the Blues responded with a power play goal of their own following a horrific turnover by Steven Kampfer. Brayden Schenn was able to corral the loose puck after a chance in front and wound up deflecting the puck in off of Henrik Lundqvist’ right leg pad. While the first period was filled with goals from both sides, the second period.....not so much.
The Blues completely dulled down the game during the middle frame and forced the Rangers to make the perfectly play. With the bottom half of the lineup not generating a whole lot, that was a recipe for disaster. Neither team was able to generate much of anything as a result and the game transitioned to the third period with the same 2-1 scoreline.
The third period is where the Rangers appeared to get the better of the Blues but beating Carter Hutton was the next challenge. Jimmy Vesey and Pavel Buchnevich had the two best chances of the period, but unfortunately, they resulted in two sprawling stops by Hutton yet again. Jaden Schwartz eventually put the icing on the cake with under two minutes remaining after picking up the empty net goal.
Following their third loss of the season, the Rangers will have an extended break before traveling to Ohio for a meeting with the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday evening.