Following a convincing win over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday afternoon, the New York Rangers just weren’t ready from the opening puck drop and fell 4-1 to Vegas. The Vegas Golden Knights struck early in this game with a pair of goals, and added another pair in the second period to jump out to a commanding 4-0 lead. Brendan Lemieux added a goal of his own late in the second period, but that would as close as the Rangers would come in this game.
Alex Tuch (3) - Jonathan Marchessault (13) & Brayden McNabb (4) - 1:34 1st Period
A little over a minute after the opening faceoff, Vegas caught a bit of a lucky break after Alex Tuch’s wrist shot fell in behind Henrik Lundqvist. As the puck was rolling towards the goal line, Tony DeAngelo reached back in an attempt to trap the puck under Lundqvist’s pad. Unfortunately, it was just a second too late as the puck just barely slipped over the line as Lundqvist and DeAngelo attempted to make a play on it. The initial call on the ice was no goal, but after a quick review, the call was reversed and Vegas jumped out to a 1-0 lead.
Alex Tuch (4) PPG - Nate Schmidt (9) & William Karlsson (16) - 3:50 1st Period
It didn’t take Alex Tuch very long to get on the score sheet once again and he picked up his second goal of the night just about two minutes later. Nate Schmidt was able to make a beautiful cross-ice feed over to Tuch as they broke into the zone, and Tuch slammed home his fourth of the season.
Reilly Smith (12) - Unassisted - 4:44 2nd Period
New York’s deficit went from bad to worse early in the third period as a self inflicted turnover led to a breakaway goal for Reilly Smith. An ill-advised pass by Brett Howden at the blue line handcuffed Brady Skjei, who wound up being the last person back on the rush. With Jacob Trouba already in the zone, Reilly Smith stripped the puck and broke in all alone from the red line and tapped home his 12th of the season.
Max Pacioretty (10) PPG - Cody Glass (6) & Mark Stone (13) - 6:20 2nd Period
Vegas continued to swarm the Rangers in their own zone and eventually drew a hi-sticking penalty on Kaapo Kakko in the offensive zone. Vegas made quick work of the Rangers on the power play as Cody Glass sent a rocket of a pass over to Max Pacioretty on the far side of the ice. Pacioretty immediately fired a one-timer on net and slipped the puck between the post and Henrik Lundqvist’s left leg pad.
Brendan Lemieux (4) - Jacob Trouba (11) & Mika Zibanejad (9) - 15:15 2nd Period
Brendan Lemieux finally stopped the bleeding for the Rangers late in the second period as he redirected home his fourth of the season. Jacob Trouba made an excellent play to slip down from his right point spot and rifled a pass right at Lemieux’s stick. Lemieux opened up his blade just enough and redirected the puck just under crossbar to get the Rangers on the board.
Unfortunately, that would be as close as the Rangers would come in this game and they were defeated 4-1 in regulation. The Rangers didn’t play terrible during the middle part of this game, but giving up two quick goals in the opening minutes of this game certainly didn’t help the cause. Following tonight’s loss, the Rangers will have two days off before traveling to Ohio for a meeting with the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday evening.