What it means: The Rangers dropped their second straight game, 4-1 against the Blues, after a dismal performance in which they failed to generate or sustain any offense. Down by two goals int he third, coach John Tortorella tried pulling goaltender Henrik Lundqvist for the extra attacker with less than three minutes to play, but St. Louis sealed their fourth straight with an empty-net goal. The Blueshirts have scored only two goals over the last two games.
Bad bounce: St. Louis reclaimed a two-goal lead with a lucky bounce early in the third. Blues center Alex Steen was credited with his tenth goal of the season when a puck swatted by Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi glanced off Steen and hopped over Lundqvist’s shoulder 1:01 into play.
Another win for Elliott: Blues goaltender Brian Elliott recorded his 13th win of the season with his 25-save effort. The 26-year-old has won all but two of 15 starts in what is turning out to be a breakout season for the former ninth-round pick. Elliott leads all goaltenders with at least ten games played in save percentage (1.45) and save percentage (.947).
Down a pair: The Rangers surrendered two goals to St. Louis in the first period to fall behind 2-0 heading into the second frame. Patrik Berglund beat Lundqvist stick-side at 7:06 and David Perron extended the Blues’ lead with a re-direct at 11: 03.
Brad benched: Star center Brad Richards, who was on the ice for both of the first two Blues goals, was benched for the remainder of the first period along with linemate Ruslan Fedotenko. Both players returned 23 seconds into the second period.
Del Zotto delivers: 21-year-old defenseman Michael Del Zotto cut the Blues’ lead in half, 2-1 with his backhander. Del Zotto’s marker was scored on the team’s second shot on goal of the period, which, alarmingly, did not come until 16:18 into the middle frame. Del Zotto now has nine points (one goal, eight assists) over the last ten games.
Eminger good to go: Rangers defenseman Steve Eminger played despite a sore left arm stemming from the team’s 1-0 shutout loss to the Stars Tuesday. In case he was not able to dress, the Rangers recalled 20-year-old defensive prospect Tim Erixon for the Rangers’ two-game Western Conference swing.
Winter Classic update: When the Rangers face off against the Flyers at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia January 2, they will face a Philly club without its captain Chris Pronger. Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren announced Thursday that the 37-year-old defenseman will miss the rest of the season with severe post-concussion syndrome. The Flyers are also without star center Claude Giroux although his status for the game remains unclear.
Up next: Rangers at Coyotes, Saturday at 8 p.m.