NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 28: Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers gives up a goal against Aleksander Barkov #16 of the Florida Panthers during their game at Madison Square Garden on November 28, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

The New York Rangers dug a hole too deep for themselves to climb out of and despite a comeback, fell 5-4 to the Florida Panthers.

On an evening that celebrates the sports world teaming together to fight cancer, the New York Rangers had a tough time teaming up for anything defense on Tuesday evening dropping a rollercoaster of a game 5-4 to the Florida Panthers.

It was announced late that center Mika Zibanejad was going to be out of the lineup with an upper-body injury, a strange happening since DJ Zbad did partake in the morning skate with no signs of distress. However, often healthy scratch David Desharnais stepped into the first line center role and performed admirably, notching three assists.

New York Rangers

Henrik Lundqvist, who had seemingly been playing his best hockey of the year as of late, was yanked in the first after allowing three goals on six shots. Yikes.

Alain Vigneault’s club, as they usually do, fought back to tie things up at four apiece in the third period prior to giving a bad one up late that put the final nail in the stunned MSG-crowd coffin.


Florida’s young budding superstar Aleksander Barkov got things started for the Cats, on the power play. Barkov was able to get a stick on a shot from Jonathan Huberdeau which came from up near the blue line. Not much a goalie can do on that one.

Jamie McGinn dug the hole deeper for the Blueshirts as he buried his fourth of the year off a feed from Nick Bjugstad. Nick Holden made a nice play to step up on Vincent Trocheck in the neutral zone and deny zone entry.

However, when Holden attempted to clear the puck, it was if he had never played hockey before and started aimlessly batting at it. Of course, Bjugstad was right there to collect the puck and slide it over to McGinn who went blocker high on Lundqvist.

Making matters worse, fourth liner Michael Haley scored off a rush to make things 3-0, the straw that broke Lundqvist’s back and sent him to the bench. Colton Sceviour of the Panthers does a nice job of driving Steven Kampfer into the net, legally, which allows Haley time and space.

Paul Carey offered a weak stick check on his back check which Haley shrugged off, and fired off a quick wrister.

J.T. Miller was finally able to to stop the bleeding early in the second frame, cleaning up a garbage goal in front of the net, off a partially blocked Mats Zuccarello shot. Whatever was said in the locker room in between the first and second was definitely effective, at least for the next period and a half.

Florida’s other young budding super star Jonathan Huberdeau momentarily swung the pendulum back in Florida’s favor, collecting a rebound in front and banging it home. This was Huberdeau’s eighth of the season.

But the Blueshirts get clawing back in this one as the Buchnevich, Kreider, Desharnais line combined for two of the prettiest passing plays of the year which led to Buch’s and Kreids’ ninth goals of the year. Kreider momentarily morphed into Wayne Gretzky setting up shop behind the net and finding Buchnevich back door for the tap in.

The line struck again off a beautiful zone entry play with Buch returning the favor for a tap in for Kreider.

A potential game tying goal by Kevin Hayes was ruled no goal later in the frame for “goalie interference.” We won’t go there for now.

Even with their will broken, the Rangers and their newly formed first line came back to tie the game in the third frame. David Desharnais slid a perfect pass to Kreider who was left alone in front and he buried it under James Reimer‘s pads.

Unfortunately, despite some dominant play from the Rangers that saw them draw a penalty and hit a post, they could not pull this out of a hat. Some will say they were on borrowed time with this run and gun no defense style of play. The style that got them out of a pickle on Sunday with the Canucks and had allowed them to come back to tie this game.

But it just wasn’t meant to be as Denis Malgin buried a one timer past Ondrej Pavelec for the game winning goal. Brendan Smith failed to get a puck deep, and unfortunately for the fans it was Nick Holden who was called upon to back him up.

But that only led to another patented Nick Holden turnover, and eventually, the game winning goal.

There are signs of positive to look forward to, one definitely being the rise in goal scoring five on five. But I don’t know if the need for Ryan McDonagh has ever been more. Nick Holden might need to spend a few games in the press box.

The Rangers close out a still impressive month of November, and return to the ice Dec. 1 at the Garden against the Carolina Hurricanes.


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