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Rangers fall to resilient Vancouver Canucks in a shootout; St. Louis delivers late

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers vs canucks opening faceoff 2-19

The Rangers played their first game at Madison Square Garden for the first time in 11 days, but were unable to get a win over the Canucks. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

After dominating the first period, the Rangers (34-16-6) couldn’t keep up with the Vancouver Canucks (33-21-3), who scored four times in the final two periods and converted on both of their shootout chances for a crucial win on their part.

The Rangers surrendered three different leads in the game, and were not nearly as dominant in the final two periods. Their puck management was pretty rough, and the Sedin twins took over, dominating in every shift in the final 40 minutes.

Cam Talbot started in net for the eight consecutive game, and had his fair share of struggles in the game. Granted the defense did not play well in front of him in the latter stages of the game, but four goals should be enough to win on most nights.

Talbot is 5-1-2 since taking over as starter, but some of that has to do with the face that the Rangers have 26 goals in their last five games. Talbot has a .894 save percentage since Lundqvist has been injured, and needs to improve before his next start.

cam talbot glove save 2-19

Cam Talbot struggled in net, giving up four goals against a depleted Canucks team. The defense in front of him wasn’t all that good, but Talbot needs to be better. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

For the second consecutive game, Martin St. Louis found the back of the net, scoring an absolutely gorgeous goal to tie the game at three. It was probably his best game in over a month, and he had a pep in his step the whole night, likely due to the fact that he scored in the game before.

The first period started off with a few chances for Vancouver after a lively bounce off the boards, but Talbot stopped those. That would be the majority of their chances in the period, as the Rangers shut them down for the rest of the first, closing down the ice in front of Talbot. The Rangers outshot the Canucks 14-1 over the final 17:15 of the period.

The only goal of the period was one of the prettiest they have scored all season, and it was Derek Stepan scoring his 11th goal of the season. After Dan Girardi’s initial shot was blocked, he fed it to Martin St. Louis behind the net, who quickly passed it to Stepan in front. His one timer beat Ryan Miller, giving the Rangers a 1-0 lead. Girardi tied a career high three game assist streak on the play.

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Derek Stepan scored on a one timer in the first period to put the Rangers on the board early. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

The Canucks wasted no time in the second period, scoring just 1:43 after puck drop. Jannik Hansen was tied up with Ryan McDonagh behind the net, and managed to chip it out to Shawn Matthias. Dan Girardi went to cover him, but actually wound up tripping Talbot, and Matthias deposited the puck past a sprawling Talbot to tie the game at one.

However, the Rangers leading goal scorer answered the call, scoring his 36th goal of the season and giving the Rangers a 2-1 lead. The Rangers settled the puck in the neutral zone, and Derick Brassard hit Rick Nash in stride, splitting two defensemen with the pass. Nash did what he does best, beating Ryan Miller for the Rangers lead. The assist gave extended Derick Brassard’s point streak to five games.

rick nash goal celebration 2-19

Rick Nash scored his 36th goal of the season, after Derick Brassard connected with him on a fantastic pass for a breakaway. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

It seemed the Rangers had the momentum, but the Canucks kept increasing the pressure, and broke through 2:18 later. Ryan McDonagh tried to pinch in the offensive zone, but the puck was chipped past him, sending the Canucks on a 2-on-1. The 19 year old Bo Horvak was there to sneak it past Talbot, tying the game at two heading into the final period.

Yet again, the Canucks came out strong, and would take the lead just 3:35 into the third period. On their only power play opportunity, Adam Clendenning fired a shot from the point. It caught a piece of Henrik Sedin’s stick, and went past the screened Cam Talbot. All of a sudden, the Canucks had the lead, the momentum, and a silent Madison Square Garden.

Now it was the Rangers turn to answer back in a big way. Just 1:08 after Henrik Sedin scored, Martin St. Louis scored a gorgeous goal to tie the game. Carl Hagelin cleared the puck out to Derek Stepan around center ice. Stepan sent a hard pass over to a streaking St. Louis. Marty leaped over the puck, took it in stride, and wristed one past Ryan Miller for his 16th point of the season.

martin st louis goal 2-19

Martin St. Louis scored on a great pass from Derek Stepan, leaping over the puck before putting it past Ryan Miller for his 16th goal of the season. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

With the assist on the play, Derek Stepan now has three consecutive multipoint games, which is the second time in his career he has had such a streak (November 5-9, 2011).

Just 21 seconds later, they scored again. Tanner Glass tied up his man along the boards, causing Henrik Sedin to try and backhand a puck out of the zone. It was intercepted by Dan Girardi, and his shot was deflected by Carl Hagelin and past Miller. In the blink of an eye, the Rangers had recaptured their one goal lead on Hagelin’s 13th of the season.

Later in the period, Yannick Weber’s shot bounced off the boards towards Talbot. He misplayed it, nearly putting it into his own net. He used his stick to keep it out, and Marc Staal was there to stop any rebound chances, ending a scary moment.

Near the end of the third period, the Rangers got caught in their own end for two very long shifts, and the Canucks made them pay. Dan Hamhuis’ shot was soft, throwing off Talbot as he made a pad save. There was a big rebound, and Henrik Sedin was there to cash in for his second goal of the night, tying the game with two minutes remaining.

The game would eventually make its way to the shootout. The Canucks converted on both of their chances, and the Rangers missed on theirs, capping off a disappointing loss on home ice.

Against a depleted Canucks team, and with three leads in the game, this was a game that the Rangers should have gotten two points out of. The Defensive lapses over the past few games are inexcusable, and they need to stop making turnovers in the neutral zone and their own zone.

The second line was probably the strongest for the Rangers in the game. Derek Stepan and Martin St. Louis were fantastic, each registering a goal and an assist. Chris Kreider wasn’t on the scoresheet, but had a good game.

derek stepan and martin st louis 2-19

Martin St. Louis and Derek Stepan had great games, making up a very strong second line. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

St. Louis had his best game in a few months, hopefully rejuvenated by ending his goal drought. He is third on the team in scoring with 42 points (16-26-42). Derek Stepan is right behind him, averaging just under a point per game, and is fourth on the team in scoring with 41 points (11-30-41).

Carl Hagelin’s play since his game winning goal against Ottawa has skyrocketed. Hagelin has 10 points (5-5-10) in his past 13 games, and has been generating a lot of offensive pressure as well, developing into another scoring threat. Hagelin has 13 goals and 13 assists this season.

The Rangers play on Friday in their rescheduled game against the Buffalo Sabres. The Sabres are 3-17-1 in their last 21 games, winning on Thursday night over the Flyers. With Talbot struggling against the Canucks, and playing eight straight games, Alain Vigneault may turn to the 20 year old Mackenzie Skapski for his first NHL start in Buffalo.

THREE STARS

1) Martin St. Louis – 1 G, 1 A

2) Derek Stepan – 1 G, 1 A, 4 SOG,

3) Carl Hagelin – 1 G, 1 A, +2

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Posted on February 20, 2015, in Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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