The New York Rangers were unable to stop the downward spiral this evening and have now dropped their third straight game following a 3-2 defeat by the New Jersey Devils. With the Rangers needing something to feel good about regarding their game, they came out absolutely flying during the first period.
Despite not scoring a goal, there was plenty to like about the Rangers game in the early going. They were quick on pucks, pressuring the front of the net and out-shot the Devils 14-3 after 20 minutes..
That strong play carried over to the opening minutes of the second period, where the Rangers were finally able to bury a chance behind Keith Kinkaid. David Desharnais deserves all of the credit for the opening goal as he broke away from his defender behind the net and found Rick Nash cutting to the far post. Nash was able to get a step on the defender coming in and shoveled the puck into the the empty net.
Unfortunately, once they put the goal up on the scoreboard, the Rangers appeared to lose that step that they previously had. The Devils completely took over the game from that point on, and in typical Rangers fashion, they allowed two goals in a span of 6:20. Adam Henrique picked up the first goal for the Devils coming off of a costly turnover by David Desharnais in the corner.
Rather than just making the easy play and banking the puck out of the zone, Desharnais tried forcing the puck through the players along the boards. Brian Gibbons was able to intercept the errant puck and found Henrique cutting to the net. Henrique was able to catch and release the puck all in one motion and beat Ondrej Pavelec over the left shoulder to make it a 2-1 game.
A short time later, the Devils struck again with Miles Wood deflecting Ben Lovejoy’s point shot and it completely fooled Pavelec. The Rangers continued to cruise for the remainder of the period, which left 20 minutes remaining to jump back into the game and avoiding a disastrous 1-5-0 start.
Thing went from bad to worse just 1:00 into the third period as the Devils immediately converted on a nifty passing play to make it a 3-1 game. Will Butcher created the entire play with a centering feed through traffic and found Drew Stafford cutting to the net uncontested. Stafford was able to fake out Pavelec with his initial move and lifted the puck into the net on the backhand.
For a team that was trailing coming into the third period, this wasn’t a very encouraging sign for the remainder of the game. The Rangers did find their legs a bit following the Devils third goal but they just could catch a bounce that found the back of the net. The Rangers were either missing the net on high quality chances or were waiting an extra second that allowed the Devils and/or Kinkaid to get back into position.
With the goaltender pulled late in the game, Kevin Shattenkir was able to pull the Rangers back within one with a goal from the blue line. The wrist shot somehow founds its way through traffic in front, and slipped past Keith Kinkaid over the shoulder. Unfortunately the Rangers weren’t able to get much of anything else past that and lost the game by a final score of 3-2.
As a result, the Rangers have now fallen to 1-5-0 on the season and they’re pretty much out of excuses at this point. When they’re only able to must up only one solid period per game, something needs to change and quick. The Metropoitan Division isn’t getting any easier and starting behind the pack is only going to make things worse in the long run.