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Rangers Vs. Canadiens: Rangers Fight Back From Three Goals Down But Lose 5-4

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NHL: New York Rangers at Montreal Canadiens Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers fought back from a three goal deficit tonight in Montreal, but in typical Ranger fashion, they gave a goal back and lost 5-4 in regulation. The Rangers came out absolutely flat during the first period of tonight’s game and were out-shot to the tune of 19-2 through 20 minutes. As a result, with the scale tipped heavily in the Canadiens favor, they came out of the gates flying and immediately put three goals on the board.

Paul Byron opened the scoring for Montreal after the Rangers left him wide open in the high slot. Kevin Shattenkirk wound up losing his man in a corner frenzy and Byron rifled home a beautiful centering feed from Jonathan Drouin. A few minutes later, Alex Galchenyuk tallied on the power play off of a cross-crease pass from Brendan Gallagher.

Brendan Smith wound up going down in the corner after getting hit in the face with the puck, which created the opportunity out at the top of the crease. Regardless, the Rangers should have had the coverage in front, but they didn’t, and the Canadiens took full advantage of the opportunity.

The first period scoring barrage ended with one final goal from Philip Danault who tapped home a huge rebound to the left side of the net. Andrew Shaw placed the shot perfectly off of Ondrej Pavelec’s pads, and the puck kicked right out to Danault for the easy tap in. The Rangers finally came alive in the second period with a power play goal coming from Pavel Buchnevich.

Kevin Shattenkirk did an excellent job of putting the puck in a shooting position for Buchnevich, and he absolutely wired a slap shot from the blue line. Rick Nash provided the screen in front and Carey Price never saw the shot until it was in the back of the net. The Rangers answered back again just 10 minutes later with Rick Nash catching Price looking behind the net, and tapped the puck home on the far side.

J.T. Miller deserves all of the credit on this goal after sticking with the puck after missing the net just seconds before, and found Nash behind the net. Miller made the play so quickly that Price was still looking behind the net when Nash emerged from the other side of the net. Unfortunately, after an early surge by the Rangers, they gave the Canadiens life once again with Max Pacioretty’s scoring his third goal of the season.

Yet again, the Rangers failed to clear the front of the net following a shot and the Canadiens were able to pounce on the loose puck. After fighting back to almost tie, the Rangers had their work cut out for them as they were faced with a two goal deficit with 20 minutes remaining.

As a result, the Rangers came out for the third period absolutely flying in the offensive zone and you could tell there was a nervous buzz in the Bell Centre. The Rangers planted the seed of doubt at the 2:25 mark with Mika Zibanejad finishing off a nifty passing play to the left of Carey Price. Rick Nash started it all with a power move the front, dished the puck off to Ryan McDonagh, who immediately sent it across to Mika Zibanejad in the high slot.

Carey Price had already committed to the first pass by Nash and was way out of position when the pass came back across the high slot. Less than five minutes later, the Rangers did the unthinkable and knotted the game up at 4-4 after Brady Skjei’s point shot took a fortunate bounce in front. It appeared as if Chris Kreider initially tipped the puck, but the replayed showed the puck tipping in off of Tomas Plekanec’s backside.

With the confidence flowing for the Rangers, the Canadiens immediately killed any momentum the Rangers had with a backbreaking goal by Philip Danault. Ondrej Pavelec kicked out another juicy rebound following a Brandon Davidson point shot and Danault was right on the door step to tap it home. After fighting all the way back for almost a period and a half, the Rangers found themselves down a goal.

They had their chances late in the third to tie the game up again, but Carey Price scooped up every opportunity. With tonight’s stunning loss, the Rangers now fall to 3-7-2 on the season and are right back where they started after a win over the Arizona Coyotes. Had the Rangers not been sleepwalking during the first period, this may have been a different game and that falls on the coaching staff.

Slow starts have been the Rangers kryptonite thus far and at some point Jeff Gorton and management need to take a glance over at the entire coaching staff. The message has clearly gone stale and it’s a problem when the Rangers only decide to turn it into high gear when they have their backs against the wall. It’s not a formula for success and sooner or later it needs to change.

Following tonight’s loss, the Rangers will have two days off before turning to action on Halloween night against the red hot Vegas Golden Knights. That should be fun.