WARNING: Do not read this article if you suffer from high blood pressure or depression. Side effects may include — but are not limited to — increased frustration or moodiness, heartburn and a strong desire to stop watching hockey.
There are good games, bad games and ugly games in the NHL. And tonight’s 6-3 loss definitely falls under the ugly category.
Prior to the game, Head Coach Alain Vigneault said his team’s focus was to tighten up on defense.
Sounds good in theory, but once the game started it went out the window.
J.T. Brown scored 3:25 into the game off a three-on-one odd man rush in which Nick Holden got caught deep in the Ducks’ zone and couldn’t get back in time.
The three-on-one odd man rush definitely played a big role in Henrik Lundqvist failing to stop Brown’s shot. But that doesn’t excuse the fact that it was a very savable goal.
Eight minutes later, with the Rangers on the power-play, Rick Nash parked himself in front of Anaheim’s net.
Mats Zuccarello fed Nash with a pass and Rick used his power and wingspan to reach around John Gibson to put the puck in the net; tying the game.
Two minutes later the Blueshirts got caught in a bad change while on the penalty-kill and Corey Perry made them pay; converting a breakaway into a power-play goal. The puck trickled off Lundqvist’s glove and over the goal-line; giving Anaheim the 2-1 lead.
But the Rangers weren’t willing to go away quietly.
Rick Nash again parked himself in front of Gibson and this time, he found the loose puck in the crease and banged it home; tying the game at two. It’s Nash’s third two-goal game in his last five.
A minute later, Andrew Cogliano turned an innocent looking shot into the third Ducks’ goal; ending Lundqvist’s night.
Lundqvist surrendered three goals on seven shots; his first “off night” in two months.
In came Ondrej Pavelec and the Ducks were waiting.
With the Rangers on the power-play and just 1:22 left in the first period, Rangers-killer Adam Henrique converted a short-handed breakaway into the Ducks’ fourth goal of the period.
So, in a period where the Blueshirts outshot the Ducks 18-8 and outchanced them by a wide margin, the Ducks somehow led 4-2.
The second period came and Michael Grabner provided the only goal; a short-handed marker to draw within 4-3.
The Rangers then found themselves short-handed to begin the third and a Jesper Fast penalty made matters worse.
A five-on-three advantage for the Ducks allowed Rickard Rakell to score 30 seconds into the period; making the score 5-3.
From there Alain Vigneault continued to shorten his bench. Vigneault benched J.T. Miller after the forward played 4:55 in the first period.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was Miller’s turnover that led to Anaheim’s fourth-goal of the opening period.
And Jimmy Vesey joined Miller on the bench in the third period; seeing just one shift in the third period.
Anaheim mercifully put an end to the Blueshirts’ misery when Ryan Getzlaf scored the empty-netter; throwing salt on the Rangers’ wounds.
The Blueshirts’ 6-3 loss drops them out of a playoff spot and drops them to oh-for-three on the road trip.
BLUESHIRT BULLET POINTS
SPECIAL TEAMS MESS: The Rangers went one-for-three on the power-play; extending their run of strong play with the man advantage. Unfortunately, they also surrendered a short-handed goal to Adam Henrique. And to complete the messiness of the situation, they went four-for-six on the penalty-kill; marking the second straight game the Blueshirts gave up multiple power-play goals. One redeeming note, the Rangers scored their second short-handed goal of the season; courtesy of Michael Grabner.
PAPA JOHN’S: The Broadway Blueshirts tallied three goals for the third time in five games. But the discounted pizza doesn’t taste as good coming off a loss.
RIDING THE PINE: Both J.T. Miller and Jimmy Vesey found themselves benched for long stretches. Miller played just 4:55 and Vesey 9:18. J.T. never saw the ice after the first period and Vesey sat after the second period; except for one power-play shift in the third.
WHO’S IN NET: Henrik Lundqvist surrendered three goals on seven shots; getting pulled midway through the first period. It was the second shortest start of Lundqvist’s career. Ondrej Pavelec replaced him and did reasonably well; recording 21 saves on 23 shots.
The Rangers face Joe Thornton and the Sharks Thursday (Jan. 25) at SAP Center. Game time: 10:30 p.m. ET. Broadcast: MSG 2.
The Rangers registered 44 shots on goal. Rick Nash scored two more goals and Michael Grabner added a marker.
Beyond that, the Blueshirts did nothing but hurt themselves.