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Recap: First Period Woes Continue, Rangers Lose 4-1 to Jets

Connor Hellebuyck makes 50 saves to stifle comeback.

NHL: Winnipeg Jets at New York Rangers Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

After getting some more of their deadline shopping done early by (re)acquired Tyler Motte, the Rangers hosted the Winnipeg Jets. I think most agree he is a good pickup at a decent price, but it didn’t help all that much tonight.

The Rangers’ string rough first periods continued as they went down 2-0 yet again. The PK, which has been subpar of late, conceded goal credited to Pierre-Luc Dubois off a heavy slapped launched by Josh Morrissey.

The middle of the period featured a fight between Vincent Trocheck and Sam Ganger, if that’s something you’re interested in. Not necessarily the two I’d expect to go but I guess you never know.

Late in the period, the Rangers coughed up the puck high in their zone as their powerplay expired, leading to a Winnipeg rush the other way. Kyle Connor took a shot, and Mark Scheifele cleaned up the rebound. The Rangers have been outscored 9-1 in their last three first periods. That’s, uh, not good.

The Rangers continued to tumble deeper into the hole in the second. Filip Chytil picked off a cross ice pass by Connor, but failed to corral the puck, coughing it up to Mason Appleton. He deftly returned the puck to Connor, whose quick release put the Jets up by a field goal.

The Rangers finally got on the board at the 11-minute mark. After dancing toward the net and taking a shot, Adam Fox retrieved the puck in the corner and threw it toward center. It popped out of a mass of bodies and toward Vladimir Tarasenko, who sent a pinpoint pass to a wide open Trocheck, who scored his sixteenth goal of the season. That line seems to be finding chemistry, which is nice, though I think we all know we shouldn’t get too, too attached to any combination. Despite their deficit remaining the same, the Rangers played a pretty solid second period. They only conceded six shot attempts against, four of which were on goal (granted one was on a breakaway).

The third period continued the trend of the Rangers heavily outshooting the Jets, but it was to no avail. The only goal was Scheifele’s second of the game, which put the Rangers away in the final five minutes. He and Connor linked up yet again, catching the Rangers off-guard on a counterattack.

With a 4-1 loss in regulation, the Rangers point streak ended at 10 games. The Rangers put up a season-high 51 shots on goal, accounting for four xG, but Connor Hellebuyck was just too good, and Igor Shesterkin was far from his best. It was a tough night for the Kid Line, too, who were on for three goals against. Overall, the Rangers need to stop this trend of going down early (even if it sometimes leads to fun comebacks). They’ve been able to claw back a few times, but they’re definitely playing on hard mode.

Next on the docket for the Rangers will be an Original Six matchup in Motor City, as they take on the Red Wings February 23.