Recap: Flames Cool Off Rangers, 3-2 (OT)

The Rangers forced another overtime after trailing early, but drop their first game this month.

Hot off a huge comeback against Oilers, the Rangers headed next door to Calgary to take on the Flames. They almost pulled off another, but ultimately fell short in OT.

Unfortunately for the Rangers, another subpar start left them trailing by multiple goals. In the first minute. After an offensive zone turnover by the Rangers, Mikael Backlund sprung Andrew Mangiapane. Mangiapane fought off K’Andre Miller as he drove to the net before flipping the puck over a diving Jaroslav Halak.

The Rangers won the ensuing faceoff cleanly, but Adam Fox made a rare poor pass that Jonathan Huberdeau picked off. A few quick passes later, and Nazem Kadri whipped a wrist shot to put the Flames up 2-0 just eight seconds after the first goal. New York settled in a bit from there and managed to hit a post, but generally looked flat and underwhelming in the first.

They continued to look sluggish for a good chunk of the second period, and you know when you’ve got big, sluggish chunks you’ve got to get out that Line Blender and make new chunks. Some of those chunks were Artemi Panarin, Vincent Trocheck, and Vladimir Tarasenko, and they combined to create a silky smooth goal (oh god what am I on about). Panarin carried the puck toward the slot before peeling off and creating space for Trocheck, who found Tarasenko with plenty of room to shoot.

The Rangers couldn’t get much going in the first half of the third but got a chance to work the powerplay when Nazem Kadri took a holding call in the final ten. The first unit nearly tied the game when Mika Zibanejad wrang one off the iron, but it was the newfangled second unit that got the job done. Alexis Lafrenière continues to be the hot hand in clutch situations, as he received a pass from Filip Chytil before taking a shot ate up Jacob Markstrom. The puck sat on the goal line for a moment as Laf followed up the play, and Blake Coleman, attempting to clear the rubber, pushed it into his own net. The goal was Lafrenière’s first NHL powerplay goal, which is demonstrative of how little time he’s seen on the man advantage in his career.

So, for the second time in as many nights, the Rangers completed a comeback and sent the game to overtime. 50 seconds in, Fox, whose night never really improved after the early turnover, was sent to the box for highsticking in the midst of a scrum. On the 4-3 powerplay, Huberdeau took a wrister from range that Backlund deflected past Halak, clinching a 3-2 Calgary victory.

Thus, the win streak ends at seven, though their point streak lives on. It was a rare night in which the Rangers got caved with Fox on ice, but even the best players have off nights. Zibanejad and Kreider both saw their goal streaks broken, as did Jaroslav Halak for his personal win streak. The fourth line continues to be a huge liability, as they conceded six scoring chances against while only creating two of their own in 4:16 of ice-time, per Natural Stat Trick. They clearly are not trusted and do not deserve to be, which is an issue for a team with ambitions after the Stanley Cup. The good news is that Lafrenière stayed hot—he’s only been held off the scoresheet once since the break.

Their road trip wrapped at 3-0-1, the Rangers will return home to host the Winnipeg Jets on Monday.