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Rangers defense struggles in loss to Toronto

Bobby Bevilacqua

stepan returns 11-8

Derek Stepan made his season debut against the Maple Leafs, and recorded an assist with a plus-one rating in his first game. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

After a string of games where the Rangers (6-5-2) had earned at least a point in seven of their last eight games, the Maple Leafs (7-5-2) managed to secure a win in regulation with two late goals, winning by a final score of 5-4.

Rick Nash had another goal, his second in as many games, and Derek Stepan played well in his return, picking up an assist on Mats Zuccarello’s goal in the first period.

Cam Talbot struggled, allowing five goals on 31 shots. So far this season, Talbot has not been the dynamic goaltender that he was last season when he played. He has given up 12 goals in his three starts,and is yet to earn a win. However, it is not fair to blame the loss on Talbot, mainly because the Rangers defense, from the defenders and the forwards, was subpar for most of the night.

The Rangers opened up the scoring early, with Chris Kreider scoring his fourth goal of the season on a tip-in. Derek Stepan collected the puck along the boards, and passed it to Mats Zuccarello, who got the puck to Kevin Klein who blasted a one timer that Kreider tipped in past Bernier in front. It was the fastest opening goal for the Rangers this season, coming in at just 53 seconds.

chris kreider goal celebration 11-8

Chris Kreider scored his fourth goal of the season, coming just 53 seconds into the game. The goal was assisted by Zuccarello and Klein. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Toronto would swing the momentum back in their favor, scoring the next three goals after Kreider scored, with all of them coming in the first period. Phil Kessel scored the first goal, which came off of a wrist shot in front on the power play. It was Kessel’s 8th of the season, giving him a total of 19 points.

Peter Holland was next on the board. Following a giveaway by Matt Hunwick, Leo Komarov took the puck and made a nice backhanded pass to Holland, who was alone in front and deked past Talbot, giving the Leafs a 2-1 lead.

Richard Panik scored the third goal of the period for Toronto, cashing in on a huge rebound left in front by Talbot, and Toronto suddenly had a 3-1 lead.

But the Rangers answered back just 21 seconds later. Stepan got the puck behind the boards, and gave it to Chris Kreider. Kreider made a nice pass to Zuccarello in front, and he fired a shot past Bernier with just 40 seconds left in the period.

At the end of an action packed first, Toronto had a one goal lead, leading by a score of 3-2.

The second period was back and forth until the Rangers managed to tie the game at three, when Dominic Moore capitalized on a defensive miscue by Toronto, and stole the puck, eventually getting it to Carl Hagelin in front, who snuck it past Bernier for his third goal of the season, and his 100th career point.

carl hagelin with teammates 11-8

Carl Hagelin (center) tied the game at three for New York, after Dominc Moore had a takeaway on a Toronto mistake. It was Hagelin’s third goal of the season, and his 100th point of his NHL career. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

In the third, the Rangers would score their third straight goal, with the Rangers controlling the puck behind the net. Martin St. Louis would be the playmaker, getting the puck to Rick Nash on Bernier’s left, and Nash tapped it in for his 11th goal of season. The assists went to St. Louis and Derick Brassard, and the Rangers led 4-3.

Unfortunately for New York, the Rangers could not hold onto their lead, allowing a goal to Roman Polak, who scored on a slap shot and got it past the screened Cam Talbot, just three minutes after the goal by Rick Nash.

Toronto would later take the lead after Matt Hunwick made a bad outlet pass off of the boards, which was taken by the Maple Leafs easily, eventually leading to a 4 on 1, where Leo Komarov was able to score, giving the Leafs a 5-4 lead. Toronto would hold on to win.

It was unfortunate to see the Rangers lose on a night where their offensive game was strong. The Rangers scored four goals on 35 shots, and generated a lot of chances. It was their defensive play that really let them down. Matt Hunwick made two crucial mistakes that led to goals, and the defensive play of the forwards also didn’t do much to slow down Toronto.

Rick Nash continues to be the Rangers best player every night. Nash scored again, his second consecutive game with a goal. Brassard and St. Louis both picked up an assist, continuing the recent success of that line.

rick nas h11-8

Rick Nash is still red-hot, scoring his 11th goal of the season in just 13 games. Nash has shown tremendous, effort, determination, and skill throughout the year. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Mats Zuccarello had a tremendous game, scoring a goal as well as picking up an assist. He also had seven shots on goal as well as registering 5 hits. He also had a plus two rating in 17:07 of ice time. Having Zuccarello productive adds another dynamic aspect to the Rangers offense.

zuccarello hit 11-8

Mats Zuccarello had a great game against the Maple Leafs, scoring his second goal of the season and picking up an assist. Zuccarello somehow manages to be one of the more physical players on the team, despite being just 5-foot-6. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Kevin Klein was one of the lone bright spots on the Rangers defense. In 20:09 of ice time, Klein had seven blocked shots, two takeaways, three shots on goal, two hits, and an assist of Chris Kreider’s goal. Klein leads defensemen with four points (2-2-4).

The Rangers will back at home tonight when they face off against the Edmonton Oilers at 6 PM.

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Posted on November 9, 2014, in Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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