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Rangers fall to Winnipeg in shootout, lose McDonagh and Klein to Injury

Bobby Bevilacqua

ryan mcdonagh 11-1

The Rangers lost captain Ryan McDonagh early in the first period with a separated shoulder, and could miss a significant amount of playing time. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The Rangers faced off against the Jets in a very exciting game, but came away with a 1-0 shootout loss, and a bad taste in their mouth following the loss of captain Ryan McDonagh and Kevin Klein to injuries.

Both Ondrej Pavelec and Henrik Lundqvist recored shutouts, with 65 minutes of shutout hockey. Both made some great saves, but it was Pavelec who had the heavier workload, stopping all 38 shots he faced.

The Jets (5-5-1) improved their record despite being noticeably outplayed throughout the game. Pavelec was the backbone of the team, and saved them on multiple occasions. Evander Kane scored the deciding goal in the shootout to seal the win for Winnipeg.

The Rangers (5-4-1) had one of their best efforts of the season, but could not get it done on the offensive end, registering 38 shots on goal, with many of them being quality chances. The Blueshirts just could not finish and Pavlec was outstanding in net for the Jets.

The entire game was very physical and aggressive, but the Rangers appeared to have most of the time on attack, basically embarrassing the Jets through the first two periods, outshooting them by a total of 26-14 in the first 40 minutes, despite being two men down.

However, Winnipeg was able to stop a flurry of quality chances for the Blueshirts, and held on until overtime.

There were plenty of chances for the Rangers to score. Chris Kreider missed a wide-open net following a rebound. Kevin Hayes, playing in his first game after being scratched on Monday, could not get the puck over to Lee Stempniak for another potential tap in following a takeaway. And Martin St. Louis, perhaps with the best chance of the night for New York, was stopped by Pavelec on a breakaway in overtime following a great outlet pass from Rick Nash.

martin st louis 11-1

St. Louis was denied on a prime scoring opportunity in overtime by Ondrej Pavelec, who recorded a 38 save shutout and a victory for Winnipeg. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The Rangers also struggled on the power play once again, going 0-5 tonight, making them 2-28 on the season. The Rangers had some moments where the power play looked great, connecting on passes and rifling shots on net, but they could not manage to score the crucial goal.

There really isn’t much to say about each period, like I usually do in all of my recaps. The Rangers outplayed the Jets for most of the game, controlling play in the Jets’ zone, getting tons of shots on goal, and missing on some great chances. Goaltending was the name of the game tonight, and both of the netminders did a fantastic job.

The Rangers victory against the Devils on October 21st remains as the only game where the Rangers have scored a power play goal.

On top of the loss, the Rangers will be dealing with even more injuries to their already thin defense. Kevin Klein was the first Ranger to go down, suffering a foot contusion on his second shift of the night after blocking a shot from Winnipeg Defenseman Jacob Trouba. Klein left immediately and did not return.

St. Louis Blues v New York Rangers

Kevin Klein suffered a foot contusion very early in the game, and missed the remainder of the game. It is not known at this time how long Klein will be sidelined for, or if he will be sidelined. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

Following the Klein injury, and just under 12 minutes into the first period, Ryan McDonagh collected the puck along the boards and behind the net. Evander Kane, recently coming back from injury himself, hit McDonagh hard into the boards, with all the force being absorbed by McDonagh’s previously injured left shoulder. The captain went down immediately, and left the ice. He was diagnosed with a separated shoulder and did not return.

Mats Zuccarello appeared to injure himself early, but continued to play shortly after and played the most physical game out of all the Rangers’ skaters. “Zukes” was constantly throwing checks, getting involved in the play, and being an energizing presence for the team. He was also the only Ranger to score in the shootout.

zuccarello hi-5 11-1

Mats Zuccarello had another strong game tonight, and did a great job playing physically and trying to spur the Rangers offense. He also managed to score in the shootout on his trademark slow-crawl move to the net. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

McDonagh and Klein will both have MRIs done on Sunday, and further evaluation and decisions will be made from there. It is not known how long both of them will be out for.

Unfortunately, McDonagh’s injury is the type that could sideline him for the rest of the month, and maybe even longer. A separated shoulder is no laughing matter, especially because this happened on the shoulder that he injured towards the end of last season.

Klein’s injury is not as serious as McDonagh’s, but he could still miss time, which would mean that four of the starting six defenseman for the Rangers will be out of the lineup for the next four games at least.

New York is already paper-thin on defense, with Dan Boyle still out after suffering a broken hand in the season opener, and John Moore still serving the remaining four games of his suspension.

With New York potentially down four defenseman for Monday’s game against St. Louis, there will have to be at least one call-up to start. Conner Allen could be a candidate for promotion, although he has not received such high praise in Hartford. Matt Bodie, a new acquisition from Union College, is also available, as are Dylan McIlrath and even Tommy Hughes.

Whoever does get the call-up, will have a significant job on their hands. The Rangers have a jam-packed schedule in November, and they will need solid minutes from all of the defenseman.

Another question that comes to mind is if the Rangers would make a move for a defenseman. Being down four out of their six starting d-men, it is not entirely out of the realm of possibility.

With the injuries in the game, the Rangers had to play the final 48:14 with only four defenseman, something that is practically unheard of in hockey. A lot of credit has to go to Dan Girardi, Marc Staal, Matt Hunwick, and Kevin Kostka, who all played key minutes and managed to shut down the Jets, with some help from Lundqvist.

rangers defense 11-1

After losing McDonah and Klein to injury, the remaining 4 defenseman for the Rangers (Pictured: Kostka, Hunwick, Girardi; Missing: Staal) did a phenomenal job shutting down the WInnipeg offense and playing a tremendous amount of ice time. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

Marc Staal was sensational tonight. Staal was strong offensively and especially defensively, making a ton of plays and really solidifying what became the top line for the Rangers following the injuries. Staal managed to create chances on offensive rushes, and logged a massive 29:33 of ice time.

Dan Girardi also played a great game. Girardi was extremely strong defensively, bailing out the Rangers on many occasions and logging an even larger 34:50 of ice time. Girardi and Staal were excellent against Winnipeg.

dan girardi skating 11-1

Dan Girardi logged a mind-boggling 34:50 of ice time tonight, and anchored a Rangers defense that really needed help for the last 48-plus minutes of the game. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

Matt Hunwick and Michael Kostka were both steady throughout the night. Kostka played for the first time since October 14th, where he made a few costly errors throughout the night. He played for 21:56, and at important times, and stepped up in a role he did not expect coming into the game.

Hunwick continued his solid play as well. Playing in his 300th career NHL game, Hunwick had 27:58 of ice time and was solid. He continues to improve me with his defensive capabilities and his ability to move the puck.

matt hunwick 11-1

Matt Hunwick, playing in his 300th career game tonight, seems to have established himself as a capable defenseman who can play important minutes while also contributing on the offensive side by moving the puck well. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

Lundqvist (5-3-1) had a great night in net, stopping all 25 shots he faced to record his 52nd career shutout. The only two pucks that got past him were in the shootout. Lundqvist has been much better since allowing six goals in two consecutive games, and had another great effort tonight. This was Lundqvist’s ninth start of the season, and his eighth straight.

lundqvist save 11-1

Henrik Lundqvist makes a glove save, one of his 25 on the night as he collected his second shutout of the year in a shootout loss. Lundqvist was very good tonight in his 8th consecutive start. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

One thing that annoyed me tonight was the play of Tanner Glass. When Glass was signed, it was known that he would not be a prolific goal scorer. He was signed to provide grit, toughness, and penalty killing minutes.

However, he was invisible tonight. Following the hit on McDonagh, which was perfectly legal, one would think that you would want to try and energize the team and the crowd with physicality. Glass did not do that all. Instead, it was the 5-foot-6 winger Mats Zuccarello who was throwing the body and playing physical, ad getting a lot of support from the crowd. And Glass only played 1:28 out of the six minutes the Rangers spent short-handed.

It was a game that the Rangers really deserved to win, but they could not finish and were stopped by a tremendous effort in net by Winnipeg’s Pavelec. Instead, they come away with a tough loss and injuries to two key defensemen, including the Captain.

The Rangers will look to rebound on home ice as they take on the St. Louis Blues on Monday, a rematch of the home opener, which the Blueshirts won by a score of 3-2.

THREE STARS
1) Dan Girardi: 34:50 TOI, 3 hits
2) Marc Staal: 29:33 TOI, 2 hits
3) Henrik Lundqvist: 25 saves over 65 minutes

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Posted on November 2, 2014, in Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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