NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 20: John Tavares #91 of the Toronto Maple Leafs watches a shot by Mitchell Marner #16 get past Alexandar Georgiev #40 of the New York Rangers at 2:50 of the second period on the power-play at Madison Square Garden on December 20, 2019 in New York City.
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The New York Rangers enjoyed a few moments, but an ugly third period led to a 6-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, their third-straight loss. 

  • New York Rangers 3 (16-14-4, 36 pts)
  • Toronto Maple Leafs 6 (18-14-4, 40 pts)
  • NHL, Final, Box Score
  • Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

Alexandar Georgiev, who had boasted a ridiculous career .942% save percentage and 2.00 GAA against Toronto, couldn’t quite replicate that success against the Maple Leafs on Friday night. His New York Rangers fell by a final of 6-3 in a frustrating affair.

To begin the game, the Rangers had a very early power-play after Morgan Rielly tripped Jesper Fast. Adam Fox turned over the puck, allowing Zach Hyman a dangerous breakaway. But Fox did a great job of hustling back to make a defensive play, which helped Georgiev make a save on Hyman’s shot.

The Maple Leafs transition quickly and turned almost every Rangers’ mistake or misplay into a scoring opportunity. The possession quickly turned in Toronto’s favor, which led to their first goal of the game. After a sequence of beautiful passing by Toronto, Pierre Engvall was able to get the Maple Leafs on the board.

Shortly after, Georgiev played the puck off the boards, but it was intercepted by Kasperi Kapanen. Georgiev made the save on his shot but William Nylander was able to rebound in front of the net and put it in. That was a bad goal for Georgiev as well as Jacob Trouba, who left Nylander open.

The Rangers were able to answer back, beginning with a great play by Chris Kreider, who used his speed to rush to the puck and get it to Mika Zibanejad, who passed it to Brady Skjei.

Skjei was standing in front of the net and was able to get it past Frederik Andersen. Kreider has been hot lately, tallying five points over the last six games.

The Rangers were able to tie the game before the first intermission. Pavel Buchnevich did a great job of forcing a turnover and passing it to Artemi Panarin, who eventually slid it across to Ryan Strome for the goal, ending his 15-game goal drought.

Kaapo Kakko suffered a scary injury after blocking a shot and having trouble putting weight on his leg.

The Rangers should have been scared going into the second period because the Maple Leafs are one of the best second-period teams in the entire league.

This was clear in the first minute after Mitch Marner executed a filthy move on Skjei to have a breakaway opportunity. Skjei was able to recover quickly to disrupt the shot and Georgiev made a great save.

A clearly accidental collision with Nylander turned into a terrible interference call on Zibanejad. Twenty seconds into that power play, Brendan Smith was also sent to the box on a slashing call. The Maple Leafs were able to take advantage of the five on three after Skjei deflected a shot by Marner into the net.

The Rangers had been playing a game of cat-and-mouse, and Buchnevich was up next. He had been playing great hockey as of late, especially tonight, and that allowed him to end his nine-game goal drought.

The referees were not interested in ruling in favor of the Rangers tonight. With about ninety seconds left in the period, Fox was called for an absurd roughing penalty. That power play carried into the third, but the Rangers were successful on the penalty kill.

Things got away from the Rangers in the third. Nylander scored his second goal of the game early on. It was not a great defensive effort by Ryan Lindgren, but Georgiev probably should have made the save.

A few seconds later, Strome tried to pass the puck to Panarin but ended up turning it over to Marner, who turned that into a goal.

Dmytro Timashov took a good penalty after hooking Panarin, who was on the verge of scoring an easy tip-in goal. Unfortunately for the Rangers, they could not score on the power play.

Ilya Mikheyev’s goal was the cherry on top for the Maple Leafs and was the result of yet another Georgiev mistake.

The Rangers did have some good chances in the third but could not capitalize. They do lead the league in most points and goals by defensemen, but even that was not enough tonight.

The Rangers played poorly as a whole, but, for some, this game was just another piece of evidence that Georgiev is nothing more than a good back-up goaltender.

The Rangers look to snap their three-game losing streak on Sunday when they host the Anaheim Ducks.

Leen has written about the MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, and international soccer. She is currently the primary NHL writer for ESNY. Leen's work has been featured on Bleacher Report and she was formerly a contributor for FanSided's New York Mets blog, Rising Apple. She is a co-host of the Yankees-Mets Express podcast.