With a 4-3 loss in overtime, the Rangers’ nine-game homestand starts off on a sour note, as they let a two-goal lead slip away to the division rival Devils. Chris Kreider’s game-tying goal with 21.3 seconds to play ensured the Rangers picked up a single point, but they could not seal the deal in overtime thanks to Eric Gelinas’ game-winner.
Brad Richards gave the Rangers an early lead at the 3:32 minute mark when he unleashed a wrist shot from the left faceoff circle that beat Martin Brodeur to the short side. Justin Falk started the play with a simple outlet pass past a vacant Devils’ blue line, that sprung Richards and Ryan Callahan on an odd-man rush. For Richards, his ninth goal of the season extended his point streak to six games. Congratulations to Falk as well for his first point of the season.
Other than the goal, there is not much else to say about the first period. I would say the Devils had the better of play, especially for the first half of the period. Henrik Lundqvist was forced to be sharp early, and got some help from the post on a Jaromir Jagr shot from in close. The Rangers clamped down defensively later in the period, but were still out-Fenwicked 10-6 (37.5%) at even strength through the first twenty minutes.
The Rangers doubled their lead just 57 seconds into the second period, when Mats Zuccarello converted on a rebound opportunity. Dan Girardi made the first pass out of the Rangers’ zone to Callahan, who gained the offensive zone with possession before firing a low slap shot from the top of the faceoff circle. Brodeur allowed an enormous rebound that landed directly on the stick of Zuccarello, who wasted no time depositing the puck into an open net.
The Devils put a goal on the board at the 6:07 mark when Tim Sestito’s original shot caromed off of a driving Cam Janssen’s left skate. Lundqvist immediately skated over to argue with the officials, who reviewed the play and upheld the call on the ice. These reviews have not gone the Rangers’ way so far this season, but I thought the right call was made. In my opinion, there was no distinct kicking motion from Janssen; he simply redirected the puck without making any forward motion. The Devils’ fourth line had the scoring opportunity in the first place because Brodeur launched a saucer pass to Sestito while catching the Rangers in the middle of a line change.
The Devils maintained their puck possession advantage through two periods, holding a 29-22 Fenwick advantage (43.1% for the Rangers).
Travis Zajac evened the score 5:58 into the third following a great individual effort from Jagr, who displayed great strength to shield the puck behind the Rangers’ net before dishing the puck cross crease. The puck popped out to Zajac all alone in front of the net and he roofed it over a sprawling Lundqvist.
It was a low-event third period until the final minutes when Michael Ryder made it three unanswered goals for the Devils. Ryder advanced the puck through the neutral zone and then made John Moore miss at the blue line, who whiffed in trying to knock the puck loose. Ryder advanced in and beat Lundqvist’s to his five-hole to give the Devils a 3-2 lead with 4:04 to play.
The Rangers’ comeback attempt was aided by a Zajac delay of game penalty when he inadvertently cleared the puck over the glass. With Lundqvist pulled the Rangers cashed in on the 6-on-4 advantage with 21.3 seconds remaining. The Rangers had been moving the puck around the perimeter of the offensive zone before Ryan McDonagh’s point shot was blocked in front by Callahan, leaving a loose puck for Chris Kreider to chip past Brodeur from the slot.
One minute into the overtime period, Callahan recklessly swung his stick at Andy Greene, and was assessed a double minor. On the ensuing faceoff, the Devils took advantage on an Eric Gelinas slap shot one-timer that Lundqvist was only able to get a small piece of.
Marc Staal left the game with an injury and did not return after Reid Boucher got his shoulder up high and made contact with Staal’s jaw early in the third period.
The overall Corsi and Fenwick numbers for tonight tell two different stories. By Corsi, the Rangers were slightly outdone 46-44 (48.9), but were dominated in Fenwick events 35-26 (42.6%). Regardless of the negative possession numbers, the Rangers needed to get two points in tonight’s game when considering the 2-0 lead. I’m sure Lundqvist would love to have back the third and fourth goals that he gave up, but the team’s performance as a whole was a tad underwhelming.
Here’s the Fenwick Chart form Extra Skater:
The Rangers are back in action tomorrow night when they host the Washington Capitals.