The Rangers hope to put their most recent loss behind them and revert to their winning ways on Tuesday.
The New York Rangers were hot coming into Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. They had been winning and getting healthy just in time for a potential playoff push.
The beginning of Sunday’s game reflected how the team had been playing, lately. The Rangers got on the board early and the snake-bitten Mika Zibanejad was the one to do it.
However, the celebrations wouldn’t last very long as the Penguins went on to score three goals in 61 seconds.
The Rangers ended up losing this game 5-1 and would need to learn from their mistakes in order to bounce back against the same opponent on Tuesday.
David Quinn decided to make some line changes for this game: Colin Blackwell would come back into the lineup as the fourth line right winger while Brendan Lemieux would be a healthy scratch.
Libor Hájek was also a healthy scratch to be replaced by Jack Johnson as the third left-handed defenseman. Keith Kinkaid, who came on in relief of Alexandar Georgiev in the first period of Sunday’s game, would get his first start as a Ranger.
1st period: Oh, Jack Johnson
This period was the Jack Johnson show. He saved a goal, scored a goal, and then made a bad play at the end of the period resulting in a Penguins goal. At least the score heading into the second would be much better this game.
Kinkaid had another strong period, indicating that starting him was the right decision. Julien Gauthier, who had the primary assist on Johnson’s goal, has been fantastic lately.
We also caught some special teams play. The penalty kill, which has been the best in the league over the past 16 games, was excellent again here.
The Rangers have struggled on the man-advantage, lately, and the power play this period was completely unproductive.
2nd period: Power play or poverty play?
This was a bad period for the Rangers.
The power play is becoming a serious problem. The Penguins were able to score their second while short-handed. The goal was scored as a result of a mistake committed by K’Andre Miller, who hasn’t looked too great in his last several games.
Overall, the Rangers couldn’t do anything offensively this period and looked dry in the Penguins’ zone. They did look alive at the end of the period, but the Penguins scored another when they got the puck to the Rangers’ zone and completely dominated there.
3rd period: How
Did jinxing the power play work? A Sidney Crosby penalty resulted in power play number three of the game for the Rangers. Ryan Strome quickly got the job done, scoring his ninth goal of the season to bring the Rangers within one.
Strome continues to be one of New York’s hottest players, recording his 12th point in his last 10 games.
The Rangers looked much better offensively this period and were, by far, the more dominant team, but it wasn’t enough.
The game ended with some crazy back-and-forth plays and it was hard to believe that the Rangers weren’t able to score, given how many great chances they had in front of the net.
This was another tough loss for the Rangers, whose schedule isn’t going to get easier any time soon.
Key Moment: Stromer on the PP
The key moment of the game was Strome’s power play goal early in the third. Although the Rangers lost the game, this goal allowed them to build momentum in what ended up being a strong offensive period.
It was also nice to see the Rangers get a goal on the power play, which has been struggling recently. Lastly, this goal highlighted Strome’s excellent recent play, especially in the absence of his linemate, Artemi Panarin.
Player of the game: Chris Kreider
The Rangers’ best player was Chris Kreider, who was also the best overall player on the ice.
The first goal of the game doesn’t happen without Kreider, who was rewarded the secondary assist on the play, and he was one of the very few Rangers who looked good up and down the ice all night.
He continues to play very well during this stretch. His numbers: 16:00 TOI, 1 A, 60.53 CF%, 0.02 iXG, 1 block, 0.44 xGF, 0.14 xGA, 1.06 GF, 0 GA, 0.78 defensive rating, 0.34 offensive rating, and 0.61 individual rating.