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Recap: Rangers Fall to Blackhawks 5-2

Halak’s struggles continue, Rangers keep the bad times rolling

NHL: DEC 03 Blackhawks at Rangers Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Rangers and Blackhawks both hobbled into Saturday having played poorly of late, but someone had to win tonight. It wasn’t the Rangers.

Things started poorly for the Rangers, and they never got much better. While the lineup card graphics were still scrolling, Libor Hajek coughed up the puck behind the net simply because Boris Katchouk was in his proximity. Katchouk moved the puck high to Jake McCabe, who took a slapshot that was tipped in by Reese Johnson.

The game remained 1-0 until midway though the second, when Patrick Kane capitalized on a big rebound left by Jaroslav Halak on the powerplay. The Rangers immediately took another penalty, and Kane picked up another point, this time on a goal by Max Domi. The shot was not from a particularly dangerous location, but Jacob Trouba set up a perfect screen on his own goaltender. After a few second period fights–apparently the Rangers are reverting to Torterlla-era fisticuffs in their frustration–the Rangers ended up on a powerplay, and Mika Zibanejad rifled a one-timer past Petr Mrazek to put the Rangers on the board.

The third period was much of the same, with the Rangers generally putting on pressure and still getting outscored. Taylor Raddish and Domi each had a marker in the third, while the Rangers only goal was courtesy of Chris Kreider.

This stretch continues to be frustrating for the Rangers (and by extension, us). Again they looked good in the xG department, but Halak continues to be an issue and they just haven’t been able to match their expected results. Sure, Chytil being out hurts, but it’s not like the Blackhawks are any good this year. Trouba and Goodrow can fight all they want, but that’s not going to get on the scoreboard. Trouba taking 12 minutes worth of penalties is especially egregious. It’s not leadership, it’s not helpful, it’s only exposing an already shallow defense.

The Rangers will next play on Monday when they take on dear, sweet Pavel Buchnevich and the St. Louis Blues at Madison Square Garden.