The New York Rangers just got the memo that the New Jersey Devils might be for real this year, falling to their tri-state rival by the score of 4-3. Mackenzie Blackwood was outstanding in net for New Jersey in stopping 47 shots.
The Devils scored three times in the second period, led by 2019 first overall pick Jack Hughes who had two goals and an assist.
Once again, the Rangers got off to a slow start by allowing New Jersey to score within the first 32 seconds of the game, courtesy of a Travis Zajac goal. The play was set up when Miles Wood got a long pass from P.K. Subban and brought the puck up the right side while the Rangers were making a line change. Wood then fired a shot from the right circle that Alexandar Georgiev stopped, but Zajac put the rebound in the net.
Georgiev started for a second consecutive game after shutting out the Islanders on Saturday night but gave up four goals on 20 shots through two periods. Igor Shesterkin came on to begin the third and finished with eight saves.
The comeback falls just short. pic.twitter.com/4MZ36wuWd7
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) January 20, 2021
In the post-game Zoom press conference, Jacob Trouba addressed the issue of getting off to a slow start. ” There are some things that we want to adjust and there are some things to be happy about or get super discouraged about but getting off to a faster start is something we want to do.”
Postgame head coach David Quinn echoed those sentiments: “We played 48 minutes instead of 60.”
In spite of Blackwood’s outstanding play, Chris Kreider felt that the Rangers could have been more efficient considering that the Rangers had 50 shots in total. “He (Blackwood) probably saw a few too many shots and we’ve got to do a better job of screening,” Kreider said in his post-game Zoom conference. “But at the end of the day, you have to tip your cap to him.”
Kreider also addressed the slow start by saying that “For whatever reason, we got back to trying to do too much in that first period. If we had that same kind of desperation that we had in the third we probably would have gotten off to a better start.”
Things do not get easier as the Rangers travel to Pittsburgh on Friday to face the Penguins in back-to-back road contests.