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Rangers collapse late and lose to Chicago; Brassard sets career high in goals

Bobby Bevilacqua

Rangers vs Blackhawks 2-17

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

Facing their toughest test in a while, the Rangers (32-19-6) looked up to the task. But a late collapse on their penalty kill handed the win to the Blackhawks (38-18-5), who continue to climb up the standings in the Central Division.

The Blackhawks snapped the Rangers 10 game point streak at home, handing New York their first regulation loss at MSG since December 20th. Artemi Panarin scored his first career hat trick, and Corey Crawford made 31 saves to help guide Chicago to a win.

The first period was pretty quick and free flowing, with not a lot of stoppages. The Rangers had more chances, outshooting Chicago 10-6, but the Blackhawks did a great job keeping their shots to the outside.

The Blackhawks scored on their first shot of the game, and it was Andrew Desjardins scoring his seventh goal of the season. Teuvo Teravainen sent a pass through the crease, and Desjardins fought off Dan Boyle and was able to redirect the puck past Henrik Lundqvist at the 3:30 mark.

That was the first even strength goal that Lundqvist had allowed in his last four starts. The Rangers didn’t have a lot of high quality scoring chances, with Chicago doing a good job of pressuring the puck carrier and pushing the puck to the outside. The Rangers had most of their shots from long range. Dan Girardi nearly scored on one, sending a wrist shot through traffic and forcing Corey Crawford to fight it off.

The Blackhawks had a power play at the end of the period, but New York did a solid job of killing it off. Lundqvist made a nice save on a rising shot from Patrick Kane, and Derek Stepan had a good shorthanded scoring chance following an excellent individual effort. The Blackhawks didn’t score on the man advantage, but headed into the locker room up a goal.

Early into the second period, it appeared that Dan Girardi had scored his team’s first goal and tied the game at one, sending a wrist shot past a Kreider screen and past Crawford. But Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville challenged the play, and the officials ruled that Chris Kreider had made enough contact with the pad of Crawford to throw him off, and the call was overturned.

Just over eight minutes into the period, Kreider was whistled for hooking on a very, very weak call. But the Blackhawks went on the man advantage, and they scored. Artemi Panarin scored the 20th goal of his rookie campaign, beating Lundqvist as he was screened by a Chicago forward and his own defenseman. Chicago led 2-0.

But the Rangers didn’t wait long to answer back. Kevin Hayes, the former Blackhawks draft pick, found the back of the net for his 10th goal of the season and his third in the last four games thanks to some great work by his linemates. Viktor Stalberg pressured Erik Gustafsson on the forecheck, pinning him to the boards and freeing the puck. Oscar Lindberg got it and made a fantastic pass past former Ranger Michal Roszival and to Hayes, who beat Crawford to cut the lead to one.

That got the Rangers buzzing, and they began to create more and more chances. Kevin Hayes made a great play to create separation and feed Girardi for an open wrist shot, and Crawford managed to fight that one of. The fourth line also created some havoc, with Tanner Glass finding Dan Boyle for a wrist shot, which was stopped. Then Daniel Paille and a few other Rangers had a few whacks at the puck, but Crawford was able to cover up the loose puck in the crease.

Henrik Lundqvist came up in the clutch in a crucial moment, making two saves on a Chicago 2-on-0. A turnover in the neutral zone caught the Rangers defenseman in a change, and Teravainen went on a breakaway with Brandon Mashinter. Lundqvist stopped the first shot from Teravainen, managed to kick out a pad and stop Mashinter’s rebound chance, and Kreider lifted the stick of Dennis Rasmussen to prevent that shot on goal.

Dominic Moore drew a double minor penalty for high sticking, and the Rangers headed into the locker room with 3:35 of that power play remaining. The Rangers were up in shots 19-13 after 40 minutes. The Rangers made the most of that power play, scoring twice on the double minor and taking their first lead of the game early in the third period.

The first goal came just 24 seconds into the third period, and it was Derick Brassard scoring his 20th goal of the season, a new career high. Following some great puck movement, Keith Yandle made a fantastic cross-crease pass to Brassard. He positioned himself, and fired a shot that deflected off of a Blackhawks’ stick and top shelf, beating Crawford and tying the game at two.

Because they scored in the first two minutes of the double minor, the Rangers stayed out on the man advantage. And they capitalized again. Dan Boyle scored his sixth goal of the season and his first in the last 18 games. JT Miller made a nice play to keep the puck in the zone, and then he sent the puck over to Kevin Hayes below the goal line. Hayes hit Boyle with a pass through the crease, and after missing the first shot, he hammered home the loose puck to give the Rangers a 3-2 lead.

After a 2-50 stretch on the man advantage, the Rangers have now scored four goals in their last seven opportunities. However, the wheels fell off of the bus for the Rangers. Viktor Stalberg took another questionable holding call, sending the Blackhawks on the power play. Teravainen beat Girardi with a perfect pass and found Andrew Shaw cutting to the net to tie the game at three. This wasn’t a bad breakdown on the penalty kill, just a good play by Chicago.

With 3:30 to go, the Rangers took another holding penalty, this one on Keith Yandle. Brent Seabrook hit Patrick Kane with a stretch pass, he carried it behind the net and made an unbelievable backhanded pass to Panarin, who shot it past Lundqvist to give Chicago a lead with three minutes left.

The Rangers pulled Lundqvist with less than two minutes remaining and Panarin scored his third goal of the night, completing his first ever NHL hat trick and sealing the Rangers fate with a 5-3 loss.

This one is a really tough loss. The Rangers had been so good lately in the last six or seven games, and it looked like they finally turned the corner. But the same problems that plagued them earlier in the year caused them to lose tonight; late goals, failed penalty killing, and mental lapses.

However, it’s just one game, so the key is seeing how they respond tomorrow night when they head to Toronto to take on the Maple Leafs.

THREE STARS

1) Kevin Hayes – 1 G, 1 A, 2 SOG, +4 CF

2) Derick Brassard – 1 G, 3 SOG, +16 CF, 19:29 TOT

3) Dan Girardi – +1, 4 SOG, 3 HT, +16 CF, 20:16 TOT

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Posted on February 18, 2016, in Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Yandle with the dirty cheap shot hit on panarin on the empty net at the end when the rangers were going to lose regardless. What a disgrace. Hope the league suspends him. Also rangers aren’t going anywhere this year so stop dreaming.

    Like

  2. Yandle cheap shots panarin on the empty net goal when the rangers had already lost. What a disgrace. I hope they suspend him. Rangers aren’t going anywhere this year so stop dreaming.

    Like

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