Monday night marked another frustrating chapter in the Rangers’ early-season story, falling 3-1 at home to the Colorado Avalanche.
Fittingly enough for a hockey game, Monday’s was a tale of three periods, only they did not divide into 20 minute intervals. Colorado came out skating circles around the Rangers, outshooting New York 15-4 and taking a 1-0 lead before Blueshirt bench boss John Tortorella called time out. The pause revived the Rangers, who rallied to outshot the Avs 8-2 over the final 13 minutes, knotting the score on Alexander Frolov’s first goal of the season.
New York stayed strong throughout the second period, but ultimately collapsed in the third after coming away scoreless on a pair of power plays to start the final frame. A PP goal by Chris Stewart and an even-strength tally by Daniel Winnik provided the winning margin for Colorado.
Special teams were the crucial component of tonight’s game, but before we pile on to the power play and penalty kill problems, here’s a look at the positive.
Dubinsky was, again, the best Ranger on the ice. In the absence of captain Chris Drury, he spent all of his 20:44 of ice time leading by example. He finished without a point, but put five shots on goal and drew two penalties. If only he and his mates could have converted on those opportunities.
King Henrik didn’t look particularly sharp early on as the puck took some weird bounces around his crease but he was very big in the third when the Ranger skaters gave up a pair of breakaways. Lundqvist stoned both shooters, then shut off a Hejduk one-timer with an outstanding side-to-side move with 13:41 remaining. He had no chance on the go-ahead goal, scored on the doorstep by Stewart who was pretty much untouched by D Michal Rozsival.
The Power Play
The Rangers scored exactly zero goals in five opportunities. Instead, they gave up two breakaways on a giveaway at the point and another when D Marc Staal’s telegraphed slap shot was blocked and kicked back to neutral ice. The Blueshirts were 0-5 Friday against the Maple Leafs as well.
The Penalty Kill
Two goals in three chances for an Avalanche team that entered the game 2-of-18 on the PP. Ouch.
The Rangers got smoked at the faceoff dot. They lost 17 of 25 draws in the first period that largely contributed to the opening onslaught of shots. Through the second period it wasn’t any better, dropping 27 of 42. Derek Stepan and Artem Anisimov combined for 11 wins and 26 losses over the course of the game.
Notes and Quotes
* In his return to the lineup Erik Christensen skated 9:43, a little under half of that time on the power play.
* Todd White, in his first regular season game with the Rangers, saw 7:46 worth of action.
* Derek Boogaard took just three shifts.
* Tortorella on the PP: “I don’t think we won many battles or had many good looks. We’ve got to work through it. We didn’t have the puck enough. We were hitting legs and were sloppy with the puck.”
* On the PK: “We didn’t eliminate sticks and on the first one we got beat by a cross-seam pass.”
* On the early-game time out call: “I just didn’t want them to blow themselves up. I felt [the Avs] had the momentum. After, I thought we gathered ourselves and played better, but you can’t have 6 minutes of power play time [more than your opponent] and not score.”