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Rangers lose second straight in shootout; St. Louis scores twice

Bobby Bevilacqua

msg and skaters 11-3

The Rangers managed to score three goals against the Blues, but fell in the shootout for their second consecutive loss in overtime. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The Rangers (5-4-2) dropped their second consecutive game in the shootout to the red-hot St. Louis Blues (7-3-1) by a final score of 4-3.

With two rookie defensemen making their first starts of the season, and Cam Talbot making his first start since October 10th, the Rangers held their own against one of the better teams in the West and brought it into overtime, but could not finish it off and walked away with a point.

Cam Talbot played very well tonight, making 31 saves on 34 shots, including some huge saves in the second period as well as late in the game.

His counterpart Bryan Elliot also played extremely well, stopping 36 of the 39 shots he saw, but having some trouble controlling the rebound.

Martin St. Louis ended his scoring drought, netting two big goals in the third period that would give the Rangers the lead for a short time.

Derick Brassard also picked up two assists on both of St. Louis’ goals, continuing his hot start to the season and giving him 9 points in his first 11 games. Brassard anchored the top line of Nash and St. Louis on his wings, and the line had a combined five points tonight.

derick brassard 11-3

Derick Brassard had another successful game tonight, tallying two assists to give him a total of five this season alongside his four goals. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The game started out physical, with Ian Cole and Dylan McIlrath both picking up roughing penalites early, and Barret Jackman of St. Louis taking a hooking penalty just four minutes into the first period.

The Rangers would convert on their first power play opportunity, just the third time they’ve scored on the man advantage this season. Anthony Duclair managed to keep the puck in the zone after a battle against the boards, and got it over to Matt Hunwick, who fired a wrist shot towards the net that was tipped in by Chris Kreider for his third goal of the season.

This was the Rangers’ first power play goal since they scored two against the Devils on October 21st.

kreider goal celebration

Chris Kreider scored the first goal of the game for the Rangers on the powerplay, which was his third of the season. The goal was assisted by Anthony Duclair and Matt Hunwick. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The Rangers would have two more power play opportunities in the period, but did not convert.

The first period belonged to the Rangers. New York had almost all of the opportunitites, with Kreider, Hayes and Nash all getting prime scoring chances, but Bryan Elliot making big saves.

Dylan McIlrath, making his season debut, dropped the gloves with the big Ryan Reaves late in the first period. He stated that he was standing up for his teammates that Reaves was hitting hard, but it really seemed like an odd time to fight, and an unnecessary fight at that. Anyway, McIlrath held his own in his second NHL fight and went to the box.

McIlrath didn’t have a strong debut. He had nine penalty minutes, and had just over eight minutes of ice time. The only way he will get better is if he gets to play. He’s not going to do that in the box.

mcilrath fight 11-3

Dylan McIlrath decided to drop the gloves with Ryan Reaves. It was an odd time for a fight, as the Rangers had all of the momentum, and McIlrath accumulated a total of nine penalty minutes in tonight’s game. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

At the end of the first period, the Rangers had 11 more shots on goal than St. Louis did, with 15 to the Blues’ four.

The second period was the polar opposite of the first. The Blues had the majority of the chances and Cam Talbot got to show off his goaltending skills.

Talbot did so early, making a glove save on Jori Lehtera as well as another one-on-one stop on Magnus Paajarvi.

Vladimir Tarasenko became an early goal of the year candidate, with a power play goal at 7:18 to tie the game at 1.

Tarasenko carried the puck into the Rangers’ zone, and flat out beat Kostka and McIlrath, and as he was rushing towards the net, managed to pull to puck all the way to his back hand and slip it past Talbot for his seventh goal of the season.

The rest of the period was mostly the Blues getting very good chances, and Talbot making great saves. The Blues caught up in shots and were only down two shots to the Rangers’ 23.

talbot save 11-3

Cam Talbot was very strong tonight, especially in the second period, making 31 saves and anchoring the Rangers’ defenses. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The third period was very exciting. Chris Kreider had the first chance of the period, blazing down the left wing and firing a shot off of Elliot’s mask. Then Nash nearly connected after St. Louis set him up in front, but he was tied up by St. Louis’ defenseman.

The Blues would score first in this period. Patrik Berglund managed to score one of the luckiest goals I have ever seen. After Dan Girardi blocked a shot, the puck got to St. Louis’ Jackman near the line, who quickly shot a puck that tipped off of Chris Mueller’s stick, then off of Berglund’s legs twice while he was still on the ice, and the puck trickled past Talbot, giving the Blues a 2-1 lead.

Then the Rangers could not connect on some prime chances in front of the net. Players from both teams crashed the net, pushing Elliot out of the crease. Kevin Hayes missed a backhander, and Kreider couldn’t get the puck past the many Blues crowding the net and on the ice, with Blues’ defenseman Gunnarsson making a few timely blocks.

New York didn’t let up, and Martin St. Louis cashed in on one as a result of two of the best shifts the Rangers have had all season.

Martin St. Louis 10-16

Martin St. Louis scored his second and third goals of the season tonight, and was one of the best forwards for the Rangers tonight. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The Rangers did a great job controlling the puck and keeping it in the offensive zone, wearing down the St. Louis skaters. Derick Brassard got the puck to Carl Hagelin behind the net, who made a pretty no-look pass to Martin St. Louis in front, and he slid it past the unsuspecting Elliot, tying the game at two.

Both teams had a few good chances following the goal, but it was Martin St. Louis who scored his second of the night to put New York up 3-2.

Derick Brassard got the puck along the boards, and got the puck to St. Louis who dished it off to Rick Nash. Nash used his speed to get past the defender and made a fantastic backhand saucer pass that went right to St. Louis in front, and he scored his third goal of the season. Derick Brassard picked up his second assist of the night.

nash and msl 11-1

Rick Nash and Martin St. Louis (pictured) played very well together on the top line in between Derick Brassard. St. Louis scored the last two Rangers goals and Rick Nash set up St. Louis with a great pass on New York’s third goal. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

But the Blues would answer back just over a minute later. Jay Bouwmeester scored on a wrist shot for his first of the season, tying the game at three.

The Rangers would draw another penalty and head into overtime with a man advantage.

In overtime, on the power play, the crowd thought Rick Nash had scored the game winner off of a great pass from Martin St. Louis, but he hit the post, missing by inches.

The Rangers, notably Nash, would get a few more good scoring chances in overtime, but it was all stopped by Elliot, and the game headed into a shootout.

In the shootout, Vladimir Tarasenko would be the hero once again, scoring on Talbot in the third round to help earn St. Louis’ fifth straight win.

The loss was a tough one for the Rangers. They managed to get 39 shots on goal, and scored three times, but were denied by Bryan Elliot and the Blues’ defenders on some really good chances.

However, they managed to earn a point for the sixth time in their last seven games, despite missing four of their starting defensemen and Mats Zuccarello from the lineup, as well as having Talbot in net. They also did this against one of the better teams in the Western Conference.

Cam Talbot was extremely sharp, which was nice to see considering his lack of starts this season. He made some huge saves and kept the Rangers in it until the very end.

cam talbot 11-3

Cam Talbot was extremely sharp tonight, which was a nice surprise considering that he has not started a game in 24 days. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

Rick Nash had yet another fantastic game. What is different in his pay this season is that every time he is on the ice, he is playing with grit, determination, and physicality on every single shift, and is always making something happen. He also made that beautiful pass that set up St. Louis’ second goal of the night.

Martin St. Louis needed a big game, and he did just that tonight. St. Louis, who has been struggling to score, had two goals in tonight’s game and was all over the ice. St. Louis also made some nice passes and had a solid all-around effort. Moving him back to his natural right wing positions seemed to benefit him.

Chris Kreider had one of his best games this season. He helped out on the power play, scoring the first goal of the game on the man advantage, and was extremely active tonight. He had five shots on goal and could have easily had a hat-trick if it wasn’t for the great play from Bryan Elliot and the St. Louis defenseman.

chris kreider skating 11-3

Chris Kreider had arguably his best game of the season tonight, with five shots on goal and a power play goal in the first period. he was aggressive, active, and didn’t take any penalties or bad hits. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

Kevin Hayes also had one of his better games this season. Hayes moved the puck well, and never hesitated to shoot the puck, which was one of the few criticisms against the rookie this season. Hayes had six shots on goal and played very well.

Dan Girardi and Marc Staal both stepped up again in the top defensive pairing role. Girardi logged almost 33 minutes of ice time and was solid defensively. Staal had 26:33 of ice time and was also one of the best defensive players for the Rangers.

dan girardi 11-3

Dan Girardi is an iron man, recording over 30 minutes on ice for the second game in a row, and anchoring the top defensive pairing alongside Marc Staal. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

On an off note, the shootout is a really tough way to end a game. After only five minutes of overtime, the game is essentially decided on a skills competition. A one-on-one goalie test shouldn’t be how a game is decided. I don’t know what else to do, and I certainly don’t want games to end in a tie, but losing in the shootout stinks.

The Rangers next game is Wednesday against the Detroit Red Wings, who are off to a good start this season. It is very likely that Derek Stepan will be making his season debut that night, which would be a huge boost to the Rangers’ offense. The game will be an 8 PM start and will be at Madison Square Garden.

THREE STARS:

1) Martin St. Louis; 2 Goals, 21:52 TOI

2) Cam Talbot; 31 Saves, .912 Save Percentage

3) Derick Brassard; 2 Assists; 15 Faceoff Wins

Honorable Mention: Rick Nash; 1 Assist, 21:59 TOI

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Posted on November 4, 2014, in Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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