Rangers vs Devils: Rangers Score Early But Give Up Four Unanswered In 6-4 Loss

The New York Rangers had a chance to pull within a point of the final playoff spot tonight, but they were defeated 6-4 in regulation by the New Jersey Devils. New York jumped out to a 2-1 lead during the opening frame before allowing four unanswered goals, and digging themselves into a hole. Igor Shesterkin made his first appearance after returning from injury, but was yanked during the third period after allowing five goals on 23 shots.

1st Period

Filip Chytil (14) - Julien Gauthier (3) & Adam Fox (30) - 5:34 1st Period

The Rangers came out in this game with some early jump in the offensive zone and were rewarded with the first goal of the game. Adam Fox started the play off with an excellent pass down low to Julien Gauthier, who circled the net and surveyed the ice. Gauthier elected to make a quick pass through the middle of the ice and found Filip Chytil with a wide open shooting lane. Chytil immediately one-timed the puck and beat MacKenzie Blackwood under the crossbar.

Kyle Palmieri (24) - Dakota Mermis (2) & Damon Severson (22) - 6:22 1st Period

Despite the quick start by New York, the Devils came right back down the ice and tied the game less than a minute later. Kyle Palmieri somehow slipped the puck between the post and Igor Shesterkin’s right pad to knot up the game for New Jersey.

Mika Zibanejad (39) - Adam Fox (31) & Pavel Buchnevich (28) - 7:18 1st Period

A little under a minute after the Devils tied the game, the Rangers answered right back with another goal of their own. This time around it was Mika Zibanejad, fresh off of his five-goal performance on Thursday, who reestablished New York’s one-goal lead. Zibanejad capped off a great give-and-go play with Adam Fox, and snapped a quick one-timer inside the right goal post.

2nd Period

Kyle Palmieri (25) - Miles Wood (12) & Dakota Mermis (3) - 0:44 2nd Period

Following a strong ending to the first period, the Rangers were stunned by a quick sequence of goals to open the middle frame. Kyle Palmieri registered his second goal of the game just 44 seconds into the second period, and made it a 2-2 game. The Rangers were unable to handle the early forecheck by New Jersey, and a wrist shot by Dakota Mermis created some chaos around the crease. After several bounces, Palmieri was able to swat at the loose puck and flip it over Igor Shesterkin.

Fredrik Claesson (1) - Nikita Gusev (31) - 1:36 2nd Period

New Jersey quickly rattled off their second goal of the period at the 1:36 mark and took their first lead of the evening. The Rangers were caught puck watching as Nikita Gusev entered the zone, and they left Fredrik Claesson all alone on the far side of the ice. Gusev setup Claesson with a beautiful centering feed and he wired a wrist shot over the glove hand of Shesterkin.

Travis Zajac (8) PPG - Nico Hischier (21) & P.K. Subban (10) - 16:19 2nd Period

The onslaught continued for New Jersey later on in the second period as they added a power play goal to make it 4-2 at the 16:19 mark. The Devils were able to create some space with quick puck movement and that movement led to Travis Zajac breaking free in the high slot. Nico Hischier setup Zajac with a centering pass and he was able to redirect the puck over Shesterkin’s right shoulder.

John Hayden (3) - Damon Severson (23) - 16:44 2nd Period

As if the three previous goals weren’t enough, New Jersey added one final goal to end the period courtesy of John Hayden. Another strong forecheck below the goal line forced the Rangers into a turnover and the puck landed right on Damon Severson’s stick. Severson’s shot from the blue took a deflection off of John Hayden’s stick and popped up over Shesterkin once again.

3rd Period

Greg McKegg (5) - Brendan Smith (5) & Pavel Buchnevich (29) - 13:42 3rd Period

Despite giving up four straight goals during the second period, the Rangers continued to push forward and pulled within a pair midway through the third. Greg McKegg was able to deflect a shot by Brendan Smith as he drove towards the crease, and slipped the puck past MacKenzie Blackwood.

Travis Zajac (9) ENG - Unassisted - 19:04 3rd Period

With the Rangers looking to jump back into the game, they elected to pull Henrik Lundqvist with under a minute remaining in regulation. After several chances against, Travis Zajac was able to capitalize on a turnover by Adam Fox and iced the game with an empty net goal.

Tony DeAngelo (15) - Greg McKegg (4) & Brett Howden (9) - 19:17 3rd Period

Right off of the ensuing faceoff, Tony DeAngelo was able to break into the offensive zone and attempted to make a pass across to Brett Howden. However, the puck wound up sliding under Blackwood after deflecting off of a defender in front to give New York their fourth goal of the evening.

The Rangers came out strong early in the game, and looked as if they were going to give New Jersey a run for their money. However, the second period went about as bad as it could  have for the Rangers, and they unable to recover from their mistakes. With the New York Islanders and Carolina Hurricanes ending in overtime earlier today, this one stings quite a bit. Following tonight’s loss, the Rangers will have two scheduled off days before beginning their road trip on Tuesday night against the Dallas Stars.