The New York Rangers came into this weekend with an opportunity to win some games against teams that finished last in their respective divisions at home. The Blackhawks came into Saturday’s contest on the losing side of New York’s last eight games.
It didn’t matter in the end though. The Blackhawks scored twice on the powerplay and the Rangers continued to miss key chances as they were blown away on home ice 5-2 from the final.
New York’s problems on home ice continued once again as the Rangers fell to 4–6–4 at Madison Square Garden this season. After a Libor Hajek turnover kept the Blackhawks in possession, Reese Johnson got a deflection off Jaroslav Halak for a 1–0 lead.
Not that the Rangers didn’t even have a chance. Jimmy Veasey found an open Alexis Lafreniere for an excellent offensive opportunity in the first period and Chris Kreider had another in the second. But as has been the case with New York this season, neither could finish in front of the net and keep the deficit to one during the first period.
If there was any hope that the Rangers would come out with more urgency in the second period, it was quickly dispelled.
After Mika Zibenjad was called for slashing on the powerplay and Ryan Carpenter was called for hooking, the Blackhawks scored twice on five-on-three penalties. Patrick Kane and Max Domi were both the recipients of power-play goals that sent the Madison Square Garden crowd into an awkward silence.
The 3-0 Blackhawks lead left the Rangers fuming, and no one was more fuming than their captain, Jakub Trouba. Trouba was involved in two separate fights, was given a five-minute major, and stormed out of the second period by throwing his helmet down on the Rangers’ bench and yelling.
It appeared that his team got Troba’s message. After Jonathan Toews was called for inciting a second Troba fight, Mika Zibanejad nailed home a powerplay goal (13th of the season) to cut the Blackhawks’ lead to 3–1 after two periods.
“He’s trying to get people on board. Obviously, we don’t want him fighting three times a weekend. Sometimes it doesn’t happen overnight.” gallant added
Whatever momentum the Rangers had after the second period, however, fell silent again in the third period. A Trouba penalty was converted almost immediately to stop the breakaway when Taylor Radish scored his seventh of the year to put Chicago up 4–1.
“There needs to be a little more pushback from within. We can’t keep doing the same thing and expect it to be different. Trouba said later.
- The Rangers made a flurry of roster moves ahead of Saturday night’s contest. First, Zack Jones was sent to Hartford while Johnny Brodzinski (forward) and Ben Harpur (defenseman) were each called up but did not play.
- Filip Chitil suffered a lower-body injury in Friday’s overtime loss to Ottawa and missed Saturday’s game. They are considered day-to-day according to Rangers.
- Zibnejad’s powerplay goal was his 27th point as well as Adam Fox and Artemi Panarin’s. The Rangers are the only team in the league to have three players with 27+ points.