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Battling bug, Rangers can’t muster enough offense in 2-1 loss to Canadiens

Rangers fall to Montreal 2-1
New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin reacts after giving up a goal to Montreal Canadiens right wing Cole Caufield in the third period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
AP Photos

The New York Rangers weren’t the hottest commodity on Sunday afternoon, and it showed throughout. 

Battling a stomach bug and the loss of two offensive players, the Rangers fell to a feeling Montreal Canadiens team at home 2-1.

“I don’t think we played our best game. Whatever the reason but that happens once in a while and it bit us a little bit tonight.” Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant said. 

Sunday’s battle started hot with both Montreal and New York totaling a combined 24 shots on net and several breakaway opportunities. But both Igor Shesterkin and Sam Montembeault were up to the challenge and traded off excellent stops. 

Montreal would strike first though on the powerplay when an odd-man rush was converted thanks to Kirby Dach for his eighth goal of the season. 

The Rangers would battle back in the second period though. On a delayed penalty, Artemi Panarin found open space and scored his 12th goal of the season to tie the game at one late in the second period. 

Tied at one at the start of the third period, the goaltender battle between Montembeault and Shesterkin continued. It wasn’t until nine minutes in when Cole Caufield found himself open in front of the net and got a shot past the reigning Vezina winner for the winning goal. 

That would be all the scoring from both team’s Sunday with the Rangers falling to 24-13-7 on the season and this first pointless game in their last seven contests. 

Igor Shesterkin was masterful throughout making 29 saves but Montembeault outdueled the Rangers goaltender putting up 38 saves on the night. New York had several key players battling a stomach bug before the contest and called up Ryan Carpenter as insurance in case one player couldn’t go but Gallant later said it wasn’t an excuse for the poor offensive showing. 

The Rangers will be back in action on Monday when they take on the Columbus Blue Jackets in a Metro division showdown. 

Game Notes

  • Julien Gauthier and Chris Kreider did not play in Sunday’s contest with upper-body injuries. Gauthier suffered his injury in New York’s 2-1 over Dallas while Kreider missed his second straight game with his.
  • Throughout Sunday’s contest, the Rangers and Madison Square Garden played highlights of the New York Giants’ 31-24 playoff victory over Minnesota. For more on the Giants’ win, check out their postgame coverage here. 
  • K’Andre Miller’s turnover may have led to Caufield’s game-winning goal in the third but he also recorded an assist on Panarin’s score. It was Miller’s 24th point of the season and his sixth straight game with a point. His eight points since the new year are third amongst NHL defensemen. 

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