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Recap: Rangers Lose Third in a Row

At least Panarin finally scored?

New Jersey Devils v New York Rangers Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

After a brutal third period loss against Edmonton, the Rangers returned home to take on the Metro-leading New Jersey Devils. Despite shaking up the middle six, the result was all too familiar, as the Rangers dropped the decision 5-3.

Perhaps a change of scenery was just what Artemi Panarin needed, as he was not shy about shooting, and he snapped his 12 game-goal drought early in the first period. K’Andre Miller hit Filip Chytil with a stretch pass to create a two-on-one. Chytil’s ensuing pass crossed the royal road and found Panarin, who buried the wrister.

The Rangers struck again when Mika Zibanejad punished a botched rebound by Vitek Vanecek to put the Rangers up 2-0. But Devils managed to knot the game at two before the period was over. The first was scored by the enigmatic Tomas Tartar, who has returned to form as a top-six forward after looking cooked for a couple seasons. Yegor Sharangovich scored the second. It still feels very odd to think of the Devils as a team with a skillful, high-octane offense, but here we are.

The Rangers began the third period with a quick pace and tilted the ice in their favor, only for Jack Hughes to put the Devils up 3-2 on a partial breakaway. Dawson Mercer flipped the puck out of the Rangers zone, and Hughes fought off a backchecking Ryan Lindgren and slipped the puck through Igor Shesterkin’s legs. The Devil piled on another a few minutes later when Miles Woods and Michael McLeod took advantage of a Braden Schneider turnover. For the second game in a row, the Rangers conceded four unanswered goals to an opponent. That, in my semi-professional analysis, is Very Bad.

Up two goals in the third, the Devils turtled something fierce. The Rangers eventually cut into the Devils lead with 6:42 to go when Trocheck jammed home a rebound on the man advantage. It wasn’t pretty, but it was the Rangers first powerplay goal in four games. Alas, it was too little too late, as Sharangovich put the game away with an empty netter in the last minute of play.

The Rangers have now lost three in a row. Technically they won the xG battle 3.6-2.8, but that has more to do with the Devils sitting back in the third than anything else. Lately it feels like the Rangers have not been resilient, that when they give up a goal, they give up another (and in this case of the past two games, another and another).

They’ll try to get back in the win column Wednesday against Cam Talbot and the Ottawa Senators.