Recap: Rangers Feeling The Blues, Pick Up Third Consecutive Loss 

Recap: Rangers Feeling The Blues, Pick Up Third Consecutive Loss 
Jan 11, 2024; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; St. Louis Blues left wing Pavel Buchnevich (89) controls the puck against the New York Rangers during the second period at Enterprise Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers paid a visit to St. Louis to take on the Blues for the first time this season and boy did things not go great. This team is officially in a rut as they picked up their third loss in a row and fourth in their last five games. After picking up an early lead, the Rangers allowed the Blues to tie things up and eventually take the lead on the power play as special teams quickly became a problem. It wouldn’t help that the Rangers would be without Mika Zibanejad who ended up leaving warm ups early as he battles an illness. This forced the Rangers to go with 11 forwards and 7 defensemen as Zac Jones was the only other available option to slot in as the 18th skater.

1st Period:

Not even a full minute into the game the Rangers were cooking with some chances as Alexis Lafrenière rung a shot off the post, nearly giving his team an early lead. From that moment on it was all New York and just two minutes in, would capitalize. Adam Fox crept into the Blues zone and let a shot go from the top of the right circle. Barclay Goodrow would throw the rebound on net but it was Adam Fox putting away the rebound with a quick spin-o-rama to make it a 1-0 game.

The Rangers were off to a good start, spending plenty of time in the offensive zone, getting scoring chances and forcing turnovers from St. Louis. Unfortunately, the lead wouldn’t last too long as Jordan Kyrou bounced right back up following an effective hit from Adam Fox and went straight to the Rangers zone. There, he caught a sharp pass from Robert Thomas and let a quick shot go that beat Igor Shesterkin on the blocker side to tie the game up at one.

Just a couple of minutes after the Blues tied it up, Nick Bonino made an “ouchie” of a play as Braden Schneider would say and unintentionally sent the puck over the glass, earning him a delay of game penalty. This sent the Blues power play unit to the ice and it only took them a minute to find the back of the net. They would catch the Rangers penalty killers sleeping as they slowly entered the zone and pulled off an outstanding passing play that ended with Pavel Buchnevich feeding Kyrou right at the door step for his second of the night. 2-1 St. Louis.

That top line for St. Louis would continue to be a problem as they saw the majority of their team’s chances throughout the opening period. So much so that Jordan Kyrou had a handful of chances for the hat-trick early on. Practically all of the wind had been taken out of the Rangers sails following those two quick goals from St. Louis as the remainder of the game’s opening period was a bit uneventful.

After the first twenty, the Rangers were down 2-1 but out-shot the Blues 13-8. Outside of that, the Rangers only won three of the ten face-offs and were allowing St. Louis too many big chances which ended up costing them on the scoresheet.

2nd Period:

Much of the same continued to start the second. Jordan Kyrou was still hungry for that third goal but Igor Shesterkin came up with a pair of really big saves to keep the score at 2-1.

The Rangers took their second penalty of the night a couple of minutes into the period as Jonny Brodzinski was sent off for holding Nathan Walker. The Rangers were successful in killing that one off but just after Brodzinski returned to the ice, Barclay Godorow was called for interference sending the Blues right back to the power play. Jimmy Vesey had a nice shorthanded chance that required a pair of saves from Jordan Binnington which helped the Rangers kill off yet another St. Louis power play.

Low and behold, the Blues would get yet another chance as Vincent Trocheck was sent off for getting the stick up on Kasperi Kapanen. That would be three penalties spread across a span of five minutes. Enough was enough at this point. The Rangers were giving the Blues every chance to build on their lead with all the penalties and sure enough, Brandon Saad picked up a loose puck that bounced off a rebound to find the back of the net to make it 3-1 St. Louis.

Finally, the whistle would blow the other way. With about seven minutes to go in the period, Chris Kreider found himself on a breakaway but was slowed down by the stick of Torey Krug which gave St. Louis their first penalty of the night. With Mika being unavailable at the last minute, Alexis Lafrenière joined the Rangers top power play unit in his place. Kreider had a pair of great chances on the man advantage, hitting the post twice but the Rangers were unable to convert throughout those two minutes.

Jordan Kyrou had a breakaway with four minutes to go in the period but a respectable back check from Ryan Lindgren helped pressure the red hot Blues forward off the puck as he lost control of it and play carried on. That would again do things as play slowed down and the Blues took a two goal lead into the second intermission. The Rangers still lead on the shot count, now 27-15 after two, but three penalties in a row really had a negative impact on their involvement in this one.

3rd Period:

The Rangers would get their second chance at the power play just a couple minutes into the final period of regulation as Brayden Schenn got his stick up high on K’Andre Miller. They had some chances but Jordan Binnington was having a strong enough night to come up with all the necessary saves to help preserve his team’s lead.

With just over twelve minutes to go, it was once again Jordan Kyrou finding himself on yet another breakaway. You pretty much knew from the first period that he was going to end up with the hat-trick and sure enough, he would get it. A quick shot with plenty of time all alone with Igor as a result of a rough giveaway by Zac Jones. 4-1 Blues.

Nearing the midway mark of the period, Will Cuylle drew a St. Louis penalty as he was handling the puck through the slot. Third time would indeed be the charm as Vincent Trocheck buried a rebound off an Artemiy Panarin shot from the point, continuing his hot streak of three goals in his last three games. Panarin also extends his point streak to nine games.

The Rangers would pull Igor Shesterkin for the extra attacker with three minutes to go in the game and would actually have some of the better puck possession they’ve had with an empty net so far this season. The Blues iced the puck a minute and a half later which prompted a time out but it wouldn’t help the Rangers out much as the Blues were getting bodies in front of practically everything the Rangers were throwing on net. Pavel Buchnevich would pick up a late empty net goal to cover the Pavel Buchnevich anytime goal scorer bet placed by Rangers fans who know how these things often go and to secure the Blues win, 5-2.

Once again, the Rangers registered over 40 shots on goal as the final tally on shots would be 43-20 in their favor. Too many penalties and inconsistencies with special teams really hurt the Rangers with strong goaltending and 23 blocked shots from St. Louis also being a difference maker. The Rangers will head over to Washington to kick off another weekend back-to-back with both games coming as 1 o’clock matinees with the Capitals. There’s no question this group will need to be hungry to snap this losing streak and get back on track one way or another.