Anger and turnovers.
Those were the prevalent themes after New York’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Devils.
Henrik Lundqvist, Ryan McDonagh and Rick Nash each made it a point after the game to say that the team was angry with itself for its’ performance tonight.
Losing to your bitter-rivals in a shootout will do that to a team.
Of course the 7th Avenue Skaters wouldn’t have been in that position if they could have just cleared their zone effectively.
They were credited with 13 giveaways for the game; although to the naked eye it seemed like more.
And had it not been for the continued solid play of Lundqvist, the Rangers would never have gotten the point they did.
Head Coach Alain Vigneault said: “In the first two periods we did everything possible to lose the game. But one player didn’t let us lose it and that was Hank.”
The trouble started right away when the Devils registered three shots on goal in the opening minute of play.
From there it got worse.
Former-Rangers defenseman John Moore opened the scoring at 7:22 of the first period thanks to the Blueshirts overloading on one side of the ice.
Luckily Jimmy Vesey and the puck conspired to tie the game up quickly.
Just 2:33 after Moore’s goal, a scramble in front of Cory Schneider’s net — and a fortuitous bounce — led Vesey to knock the puck past a sprawled out Schneider and into the Devils’ net; tying the game at one.
2:05 after that, the Blueshirts went up the ice on an odd-man rush and Schneider was unable to corral Chris Kreider’s shot. With the puck laying next to the Devils’ netminder, Nick Holden swooped in and buried the rebound for the 2-1 lead.
Blake Coleman tied the game for New Jersey in the second period; courtesy of a short-handed marker.
The teams opened the third period tied at two, but that didn’t last long. 1:48 into the frame, Kevin Hayes threw the puck at Schneider’s skates and it bounded into the Devils’ net for the 3-2 Rangers lead.
Unfortunately the Blueshirts’ special teams weren’t so special tonight.
Former-Ranger Brian Boyle scored a power-play goal 11:54 into the third period and suddenly the game was tied.
An exciting overtime wasn’t enough to determine a winner so a shootout was needed.
Kyle Palmieri and Mika Zibanejad each scored in the second-round of the glorified skills contest — and after a scoreless third-round — the game went to the fateful fourth.
Brian Boyle again beat Henrik Lundqvist. The Devils then completed their comeback victory when Schneider stoned Kevin Shattenkirk.
BLUESHIRT BULLET POINTS
PAPA JOHN’S: 22 times in their last 29 games the Blueshirts have tallied three or more goals; including each of their last four. Hope you’re not sick of discounted pizza.
HIS MAJESTY: Henrik Lundqvist made a season-high 45-saves. That’s a lot of saves, but when you think about it, it could have been more. New Jersey directed a whopping 22 shots towards Lundqvist in the second period. Over his last four games, Henrik has stopped 150 of 158 shots thrown his way; which averages out to 39.5 shots faced per game. He may be getting up there in age, but Lundqvist is still the “straw that stirs the Rangers’ drink.”
NOT SO SPECIAL “SPECIAL TEAMS”: The Rangers’ special teams had a rare off night thanks to the Devils’ double-dipping effort. New York surrendered both a short-handed goal and a power-play goal. This is one game the special teams would like to forget.
THIRD PERIOD GOALS: Kevin Hayes’ third period tally gives the Blueshirts 46 goals in the final period this season; tying them for the highest amount in the NHL.
The Rangers face Patrick Marleau and the Maple Leafs Saturday (Dec. 23) at MSG. Game time is 7p.m. ET and the broadcast is on MSG Networks.
An ugly affair across the Hudson river.
The Blueshirts inability to clear their zone led to forced turnovers. And the turnovers led to quality scoring chances for the Devils.
Rick Nash stated: “we played right into their transition game tonight.”
That they did; and the Rangers paid the price.