The New York Rangers six game winning streak has officially come to an end following a 6-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks this evening. The Rangers came out absolutely flying during the opening 20 minutes in this game, but unfortunately, they were only able to put one goal on the board. Corey Crawford played out his mind in the first period, and if not for him, this easily could have been a 3-0 game at the end of 20 minutes.
The Rangers offense was firing on all cylinders, and they were finally rewarded for their effort around the halfway mark. Mika Zibanejad was able to cash in off of a beautiful centering feed from Chris Kreider behind the net and chipped the puck over Crawford’s shoulder. Coming into the second period, the Rangers were caught a little flatfooted in the early going and the Blackhawks ramped up the pressure a bit.
Even while giving up more chances against, the Rangers were still positionally sound and were playing well in front of Henrik Lundqvist. That was, until, a late period goal by Alex DeBrincat evened the score up at one with Henrik Lundqvist giving up a bad goal. To his defense, there probably should have been a whistle before the puck snuck out from under his arm, but there wasn’t, and the game ended up being tied.
That goal against clearly rattled the Rangers confidence heading into the third period, and the Blackhawks took full advantage of the Rangers. In a span of 5:14, the Blackhawks scored three consecutive goals to give themselves a commanding 4-1 lead. All three goals resulted in the Rangers not clearing the front of the net, like they were doing all night long, and suddenly the Rangers looked dead in the water.
Henrik Lundqvist was yanked following the fourth goal against, but neither of the goals allowed were his fault. They were all a perfect example of the Rangers letting their guard down in the defensive end, and it wound up costing them on the scoreboard big time.
The Rangers mounted a slight comeback after the Hawks’ goal barrage with a pair of goals coming from Kevin Hayes and Rick Nash. Artem Anisimov would end that quick momentum shift rather quickly after he picked up his third goal of the evening at the 16:12 mark. Jonathan Toews eventually iced the game with under two minutes remaining with an empty netter and sent the Rangers home with a 6-3 loss.
As disappointing as it is to see the winning streak end, maybe this is a blessing in disguise for the Rangers. While they were picking up points, the Rangers weren’t necessarily playing great hockey at even-strength. The power play bailed the Rangers out more often than not during the six game winning streak, so maybe this opens some eyes heading into the next game.
We’ll also see if Brendan Smith finally makes his return to the lineup against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday evening. Hopefully the Rangers don’t fall asleep after grabbing the lead again.