The New York Rangers came into this weekend with an opportunity to win a few games against teams that were ranked last in each of their respective divisions at home. The Blackhawks came into Saturday’s contest against New York losers of their last eight games.
It didn’t ultimately matter though. The Blackhawks scored twice on the powerplay and the Rangers continued to miss key opportunities as they were blown off home ice by a 5-2 final.
New York’s problems on home ice persisted 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 past Jaroslav Halak for the 1-0 lead.
It wasn’t like the Rangers didn’t have their chances either. Jimmy Vesey found an open Alexis Lafreniere for an excellent offensive chance in the first period and Chris Kreider had another one in the second. But as has been the case for New York this season, neither could finish in front of the net and keep the deficit to one through the first period.
If there was any hope that the Rangers would come out with more of a sense of urgency in the second period, that was quickly dispelled.
After Mika Zibanejad was called for slashing on the powerplay and Ryan Carpenter was called for hooking, the Blackhawks scored twice on the five-on-three penalty. Patrick Kane and Max Domi were the recipients of both power-play goals that sent the Madison Square Garden crowd into a stunned silence.
A 3-0 Blackhawks lead led to the Rangers getting angry, and no one was angrier than their captain, Jacob Trouba. Trouba was involved in two separate fights, was given a five-minute major, and exited the second period by throwing his helmet down and screaming at the Rangers bench.
It appeared his team got the message Trouba put down. After Jonathan Toews was called for instigation of the second Trouba fight, Mika Zibanejad netted home a powerplay goal (his 13th of the season) to cut the Blackhawks’ lead to 3-1 after two periods.
“He’s trying to get the guys on board. Obviously, we don’t want him fighting three times in a weekend. Sometimes it doesn’t happen overnight.” Gallant added
Whatever momentum the Rangers had after the second period though was silenced again early in the third period. A Trouba penalty to prevent a breakaway was capitalized almost immediately when Taylor Raddysh scored his seventh of the year to make it 4-1 Chicago.
“there needs to be a little more pushback from within. We can’t keep doing the same thing and expecting for it to be different.” Trouba said afterward.
- The Rangers made a flurry of roster moves before Saturday night’s contest. First, Zac Jones had been sent down to Hartford while Jonny Brodzinski (forward) and Ben Harpur (defenseman) were each called up but did not play.
- Filip Chytil suffered a lower-body injury in Friday’s overtime loss to Ottawa and missed Saturday’s game. He is considered day-to-day according to the Rangers.
- Zibanejad’s powerplay goal was the 27th point for him as well as Adam Fox and Artemi Panarin. The Rangers are the only team in the league to have three players with 27+ points.