Canadiens Pounce on Rangers and Hand them 3-2 Defeat

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The Rangers entered tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens coming off one of their best games of the season, which was a 1-0 win over the NHL’s best Vancouver Canucks. Unfortunately, more stagnant offense and an undisciplined penalty by Brandon Dubinsky (in retaliation for the P.K Subban slew-foot the last time these two teams met, contributed to the Rangers 3-2 loss tonight in Montreal.

  • First period: The Rangers seemed to get off on the right track when Brian Boyle (15) knocked a loose puck past Carey Price a little less than seven minutes into the game. Brandon Prust had swiped at it as well, but Boyle was the last one to touch it; Girardi would also get an assist. It would be all downhill from there, as the Rangers would collapse for three minutes after failing to maintain their discipline. The Canadiens would get powerplay goals from Roman Hamrlik and Tomas Plekanec to take the lead, and then Andrei Kostitsyn would score their third goal. The Rangers failed on the two powerplay opportunities they had, as their offense was simply putrid. It has looked like this for many games, and they don’t even get shots on goal, let alone quality chances. This has to change—a peewee team would look better than they do.
  • Second Period: What was a relatively tame period, aside from another two blown mad-advantages, turned very intense at the 17:47 mark. Lundqvist had been bumped into on the Canadiens powerplay minutes earlier, but then he would be completely run into by Matt Pacorietty, causing the goaltender to fall over hard into the net. With Pacioretty laying on the ice, Lundqvist got up and pounced on him, punching him numerous times until it turned into a pile-on. Brian Gionta then jumped on top of Lundqvist, and bodies were locked up everywhere. This was a play that was years in the making—Lundqvist is constantly being bumped into and remains perfectly calm while the gutless dolts this team has on defense do nothing to protect him. Pacioretty was pushed by Dubinsky, but this was something Lundqvist had to do—enough is enough. This melee came off of three amazing saves on Montreal’s powerplay. Lundqvist was not assessed a penalty for the incident, and the crowd would boo him every time he touched the puck or made a save the rest of the game.
  • Third Period: For the first few minutes, there seemed to be no indication that the Rangers could come back in this game. They looked disinterested to say the least. There would be a breakthrough at the 6:57 mark when Mats Zuccarello (2) shot one in off a pass from Derek Stepan behind the net, but that’s as close as they would come to tying the game up. Lundqvist continued to be brilliant, but it was to no avail as the team in front of him could not shake their uninspired play, and the Rangers would fall 3-2.

Every game recap after a loss seems to sound the same: the Rangers aren’t shooting enough and with that comes a lack of goals. Gaborik yet again was invisible and I’m not even sure if Chris Drury is actually on the team anymore. It’s great to see the Prust-Boyle-Fedotenko line playing well, but if they are the Rangers’ best line night in and night out, the Rangers are going to start to slip in the standings. That and the atrocious powerplay is equating to some listless offensive play.

The Rangers have been very good at cycling and keeping the puck in the opponents’ zone, but that is a moot point if they aren’t getting shots through. Though the Rangers were able to put up 21 shots in the third period, it was too late. Had they kept the pressure up all game long (and stayed out of the penalty box), they would have won. The Rangers can’t seem to play more than one solid period every game, and that is a big problem.

The team will now return home for a game against the Flyers tomorrow. I would like to see Biron in net, but because it is an important game, Lundqvist may get the start on back-to-back nights. If it was up to me, Biron would have played tonight and Lundqvist tomorrow, but that ship has sailed.

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2 thoughts on “Canadiens Pounce on Rangers and Hand them 3-2 Defeat

  1. Jumbo

    Greg,

    The melee with Lundqvist reminded me of the 1974 playoffs when Eddie Giacomin finally had enough of getting run in the crease and whaled on Ross Lonsberry of the Flyers with his blocker glove. Sooner or later Lundqvist is going to get injured by a crease crasher and maybe that will teach this team a lesson.

    Do you think it’s time for the Rangers to eat the rest of Drury’s contract? It would be a steep price, about $10 million, but they are going to take the cap hit anyway and it will open a lineup spot for someone like Dale Weise or Evgeny Grachev. At age 34 I don’t think Drury is going to suddenly turn back the clock and become productive again. Maybe Sather can drum up some interest by a Cup contender in Drury and that may convince him to waive the no movement clause in his contract, but I am not optimistic that will happen. When Drury returned from injury I said I would be delighted if he scored 30-35 points but he would have to average almost a point a game for the rest of this season to achieve that plateau.

    Funny how in today’s Post Larry Brooks talks about how Wojtek Wolski pretty much has to be a top six forward to justify getting $3.8 million per year but Drury is a fourth-liner making nearly twice as much money. It is amazing that he escapes harsh media criticism for his lack of production.

    1. Well, Wolski is either a top-six forward or bust because he has the potential skill and is not a checker. He would be a waste elsewhere. Drury, meanwhile, is a prototypical 4th line center who is getting paid first line money. I would buy him out after this season since there isn’t a team out there who would take that contract, unless they get Iginla from Calgary which is still a hot rumor floating around, though I don’t know how legit it is.

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