The New York Rangers continue to struggle to find the back of the net consistently, losing the first game of the western road trip to the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday in Nevada.
The New York Ranger’s start to their game might have been the best in the past five years. Right off the opening faceoff, the Blueshirts were cycling in the corners, pinching on the blue line, forechecking, and getting shots on goal. They did everything right, except to score a goal.
When the dust settled, and the score was still in a scoreless tie, the wave of momentum started to turn the Golden Knights’ way, eventually giving them a 2-0 lead at the end of the first period on goals by Jonathan Marchessault and Ivan Barbashev.
Igor Shesterkin made 26 saves in the loss in another game where he didn’t look sharp in the net. Unfortunately for him and the team, scoring was an issue again as the team had some high-quality shots on Knights goalie Logam Thompson (29 saves) but could not find the back of the net early on, keeping his team in the game.
The Rangers lost focus
The Rangers suffered another breakdown in play late in the second period, where the Knights’s 2-0 lead turned into a 4-0 lead in 24 seconds.
Barbashev scored a power-play goal at 17:29 of the second stanza to give the Knights a 3-0 lead, then 25 seconds later, Keegan Kolesar redirected a wrist shot from Kaedan Korczak to give the Knights the commanding lead entering the third period.
Mika Zibanejad scored a power-play goal 40 seconds into the third to cut the Knights’s lead to three, but the Rangers were unable to get any closer, eventually losing the game. The loss was the Blueshirt’s fifth in their last of seven games (2-4-1).
Peter Laviolette, who was named an All-Star Coach earlier in the week, liked the start of the game for the Rangers, but the team’s failure to produce five-on-five was evident in why the team lost the game and continues to lose points in the standings.
“That’s a tough one. Our guys started with the right intentions and played hard the whole night,” New York coach Peter Laviolette said. “I hate the score. The game just kind of unraveled in the wrong way for us. … We were chasing the game a little bit. Five-on-5, we just couldn’t get anything to drop for us. I thought we had a lot of looks and opportunities. We just couldn’t get going.”NHL.com
Rangers’ Chris Kreider acknowledged what many who stayed up well beyond midnight were thinking after the loss,
“Again, some of those, ‘holy s—t’ moments in the back of the net where we got five or six minutes where we were playing really well,” said Chris Kreider, who notched an assist on the Rangers’ lone goal. “Hemming them in and working to get chances, and then they get one really good one going back the other way. … It’s hard when you’re not really setting your goalie up for success when that happens.”NY POST
The Rangers look to start another winning streak with back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday at Los Angeles and Anaheim, respectively.
Tyler Pitlick was a healthy scratch for last night’s game.
Game Notes via NYR PR
- Artemi Panarin tallied his 34th assist of the season, giving him 61 points on the season
- the fourth most in the NHL. Panarin has points in five of his last six games (2G-4A), 12 of
his last 13 games (10G-8A), and 17 of his last 19 games (11G-13A).
- Chris Kreider collected his 19th assist of the year. Kreider has points in five of his last
seven games (1G-4A) and 12 of his last 14 contests (4G-11A).
- Mika Zibanejad scored his 15th goal of the season and seventh on the power play. He has
points in four of his past seven games (1G-4A) and 14 of his last 18 games (9G-13A).
- Ryan Lindgren played in his 300th career NHL game tonight. Since his first full season
(2019-20), his plus-88 rating ranks first on the Rangers.
Follow Frank on X at @RangerProud