The Rangers came into Wednesday 4-1-1 in their last six games. The Ducks came into Wednesday without a single regulation in their last nineteen games, i.e. all season. The Rangers roster has many scoring threats, and the Ducks roster has been arguably the worst defense in the NHL.
The Ducks defeated the Rangers 3-2, obviously.
The Rangers got on the board first on an unassisted goal by Barclay Goodrow. John Klingberg, whose first season as a Duck is going about as poorly as one could imagine, took a shot from the point directly into the pads of Goodrow. Goodrow carried the puck up ice, fought off the backcheck, and fired a shot that got through the chronically overworked John Gibson.
That lead would last all of thirty seconds. Dmitry “Wait, he’s still in the league?!” Kulikov took a point shot that actually got through to Halak, and Mason MacTavish put the rebound hom to tie that game.
Less than a minute into the second period, the Ducks scored their second goal. Kulikov took a speculative shot from the half board that trickled through Halak. It was not what one might call a high-danger chance, but they all count the same on the scoreboard. Did you know Kulikov has seven points this year? I didn’t.
Later in the third period, Troy Terry fired an absolute laser past Halak to increase the Ducks’ lead to two. Artemi Panarin attempted to clear the zone to Goodrow, but the puck was intercepted by Cam Fowler. Vincent Trocheck hit him hard, but the puck squirted to Trevor Zegras, who quickly set up Terry.
The final goal of the game was scored by none other than Braden Schneider. Mika Zibanejad hit him with a cross ice pass, and Schneider threw the puck on net and somehow it got through Gibson. Panarin was credited with the secondary assist, giving him career assist number 400.
The third period was scoreless, despite near constant pressure from the Rangers, but the closest they came to scoring was another shot that hit the post.
Obviously, this was a disappointing result for the Rangers. I’m running out of ways to say that the Rangers outplayed their opponent and lost because of a great goalie performance, a lack of finish, or some combination thereof. Halak continued to be inconsistent, and I can’t help but to wonder if his days as the primary backup are numbered.
The Rangers return home on Saturday for a matinee against Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers. I am fully expecting Jack Campbell, who has had an abysmal season, to have a 60 save shutout.