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Rangers blanked at home by the Blackhawks; Talbot sharp in net again

Bobby Bevilacqua

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The Rangers came up on the short end of the stick in tonight’s game, falling to Chicago by a final score of 1-0. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The Rangers (44-18-7) were unable to extend their win streak to six games, falling short to the Chicago Blackhawks (43-21-8) in what felt like a playoff game. The defense was top-notch, as well as the goaltending, and Chicago scored the game’s only goal, coming off the stick of former Ranger Brad Richards.

It was the second time in 10 days that these two teams faced off, and both games finished with a final score of 1-0. These are two of the elite teams in the NHL, and the Blackhawks and Rangers showed that again, battling in an extremely close game tonight.

It was pretty even in both quality scoring chances and shots on goal, although the Blackhawks had a slight edge in that category, edging the Rangers 31-25 in shots. The Rangers were unable to get any pucks past Scott Darling before the whistle blew (we’ll get to that later), and Darling picked up his first career NHL shutout.

Talbot had another phenomenal game, stopping 30 shots in the game, including some more highlight reel saves. Talbot has not given up more than one goal in regulation since February 28th. Talbot continues to keep the Rangers in games every night, and his 15-3-3 record since Lundqvist has been out is really impressive.

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Cam Talbot was sensational yet again, but the Rangers could not provide any goal support, and Talbot allowed just one goal or less for the fifth consecutive start. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

Talbot’s best save came in the first period, when he made a great lunging save to rob Jonathan Toews with the glove on the power play. He continued to make strong saves throughout the night when the Blackhawks were pressuring hard, and gave New York a chance to win.

It was a frustrating game for the Rangers offense tonight. The Blackhawks did a great job of eliminating the speed game and closing down the neutral zone, stopping the Rangers entrances. There weren’t a ton of quality chances on net, and Darling was able to stop the shots that did get through.

The Rangers were also fantastic defensively, with the only lapse eventually leading to the goal. Defensively, the Rangers have drastically improved in the last two or three weeks. Ryan McDonagh was tremendous, blocking five shots and playing great defense. Marc Staal also had a good night on defense.

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Ryan McDonagh had a fantastic game defensively, as did most of the team. McDonagh has picked up his play, and as a result, the Rangers are allowing less goals. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

In the first period, the Rangers actually managed to score a goal, but it was negated by an extremely quick whistle. Jesper Fast had the initial shot on goal, and Darling made the save but could not control it. After a scramble, Dominic Moore got the puck and slid it in past Darling. But, the referee lost sight of the puck, and blew the whistle before Moore could score, despite the fact that the puck was never covered. Chicago got a lucky break, and the game carried on.

Rick Nash had a really strong first period, and had a pretty good game overall. He came close to scoring on a few chances, but was quickly tied up by defenders, or stopped by Darling. It’s not fair to criticize a player like Nash who is having a great season, but the lack of scoring lately is becoming a bit of a concern. He has just 2 goals in the last 11 games, with one of them being an empty netter. Nash needs to get going again before the playoffs start, especially with the Rangers struggling to score lately.

The Rangers best chance came in the third period on a three-on-two opportunity early in the period. Tanner Glass took a hit to get the puck over to Dominic Moore. Moore passed it off to Dan Boyle, and his wrist shot hit off of Darling’s mask and off of the post, keeping the game scoreless.

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Dan Boyle’s wrist shot in the third period hit the crossbar, just one of the unlucky moments in tonight’s game. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

 

Right after Boyle hit the post, Chicago carried the puck into the Rangers Zone. The puck eventually came to Brad Richards behind the net. He maneuvered out in front, waited for Talbot to go down, and shot it top shelf for the game’s only goal. It was Richards’ 11th goal of the season.

The Rangers need some of their key guys to start stepping up. Derek Stepan is now pointless in 11 consecutive games. Derick Brassard has been racking up the assists, but has just one goal in the last 20 games. Mats Zuccarello has just one goal in his last 16 games, and is pointless in the last four. All of these guys need to pick up the offensive production so the Rangers can get back to that three goals per game team from a few weeks ago.

The Rangers were 0-2 on the power play tonight as they continue to struggle in that area of their play. New York is 0-16 on the man advantage in their last eight games, and just 1-23 in the last nine games. Keith Yandle, known as a power play specialist, really hasn’t done much to improve the team in that area, and the Blueshirts missed on some big opportunities, most notably a power play chance with just over 4 minutes remaining.

The Rangers have two days off before they head to Raleigh, North Carolina to take on the Hurricanes. They will then play again on Sunday against the Ducks.

THREE STARS

1) Cam Talbot – 30 SV, .968 SV%

2) Ryan McDonagh – 3 SOG, 5 BS, 23:17 TOT

3) Rick Nash – 2 SOG, 1 TK, 17:26 TOT

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Posted on March 19, 2015, in Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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