In the first game after adding three new pieces at the trade deadline, the New York Rangers looked like a well oiled machine.....for 20 minutes. The New Jersey Devils scored five unanswered goals in the second period, and added another pair in the third to completely stun the Rangers. Igor Shesterkin was yanked from the crease after the second period, and everything that could have possibly gone wrong, went wrong in the final 40 minutes of play.
Mika Zibanejad (26) - Chris Kreider (16) & Alexis Lafrenière (9) - 7:10
Fresh off of the post trade deadline buzz, the Rangers came out absolutely flying to open up the first period against the Devils. To no surprise, the top line dominated puck possession in the offensive zone and they were able to transition that pressure into the opening goal. Alexis Lafrenière was an absolute menace on this shift, and made a great pass out from behind the net to find Chris Kreider. Nico Daws was able to turn away the first attempt on goal, but Mika Zibanejad was ready and waiting to clean up the loose puck to give New York an early 1-0 lead.
Adam Fox (10) - Mika Zibanejad (39) & Andrew Copp (23) - 13:55
About seven minutes after the opening tally, the Rangers continued pressure led to them doubling up their lead. The versatility of Andrew Copp is already paying off as Gerard Gallant threw him on the ice between Kreider and Zibanejad for an offensive zone draw. Copp was able to win the faceoff cleanly on his strong side, and slid the puck back to Mika Zibanejad who was stationed right behind him. Zibanejad immediately found Adam Fox cutting through the middle of the ice, and Fox surprised Nico Daws with a quick wrist shot. The puck sailed right over the Daws’ shoulder, and the Rangers took a commanding 2-0 lead through 20 minutes of play.
Nope. Burn the tape and act like nothing ever happened. Easily the worst 20 minutes of hockey of the season.
The Devils scored two more times, but the Rangers also scored as well. Unfortunately we have no evidence of it because the game tape was incinerated after the second period. Oh well!
Obviously, this was just a catastrophic collapse by the Rangers after they had seemingly all the control during the opening 20 minutes. Odd-man rushes were the Rangers downfall all night long, and the Devils just kept attacking when they sensed the weakness on the backcheck. Since the Rangers appear to play better against higher skilled teams, the Penguins will be in town on Friday, so that is good news.