The New York Rangers came into the 2022-23 season as an early Stanley Cup title. Not even a full month into the season and New York has learned that another playoff run will not be given.
The Rangers got the best game from Jaroslav Halak as a member of the team, but even he couldn’t make up for key mental mistakes in New York’s 3-2 overtime loss to Detroit.
“We came out flat in the second and the old problem is giving up the odd man rush and that’s what bit us tonight.” Gerard Gallant said.
It didn’t start out as a disappointing night for New York. Kaapo Kakko got the scoring started early for the Blueshirts with his third goal of the season, and the third time the former second-overall pick recorded a point in five games. Kakko received a friendly bounce and shot one past Nedeljkovic for the Rangers’ early 1-0 lead in the first period.
“If you’re going to score goals, you need to shoot the puck like I did today. I got a few chances…I think we played better in the first but I don’t know what happened after that.” Kakko told reporters after the game.
New York wouldn’t be done in the opening period though. After Ben Chiarot was called for an interference penalty, the Rangers’ 14th-best powerplay unit would score when Artemi Panarin found Mika Zibanejad for his popular one-timer and a 2-0 lead to close out the period. New York’s offense dominated in five-on-five in the first period but did give the upstart Red Wings enough chances on the offensive end when they were called for penalties. Detroit was 0-2 in the first period on the powerplay but had excellent chances throughout each run.
Jaroslav Halak did more than enough to keep the Red Wings off the board early to preserve the Rangers’ early momentum. Halak made 15 first-period saves and robbed Detroit of several excellent chances.
The Red Wings wouldn’t go away though in the second period and put the Rangers on their heels. First, it was Matt Luff scoring his first goal of the season off a deflection on Halak. Then, Pius Suter made the most of a sloppy Rangers line change to bury the tying goal.
“We just don’t manage that puck too well. It’s the odd man rush chances that we gamble too much in the offensive zone.” Gallant said. “To me turning the pucks over and not a lot of people getting back and plays like that.”
The third period saw different line combinations than what started the game for Gallant and the Rangers. Chris Kreider moved down to the fourth line, Panarin moved to work with Mika, and Vincent Trocheck worked the most with Jimmy Vesey and Sammy Blais.
To Gallant and the coaching staff, there was a clear message sent.
“We tried to shake things up and see if we can wake a few guys up,” Gallant said. In response to the drop from Kreider to the fourth line, Gallant added “he deserved to be where he was at.”
The message Gallant sent didn’t come as a shock to the Rangers’ locker room.
“Yea the second period wasn’t a good period. I don’t know if it sent some messages or what it does but we gotta go out and play better.” Jacob Trouba told reporters.
The line change wouldn’t make a major difference on the scoresheet though with the final period of action seeing no goals on either side.
It was Detroit who owned the night though. Dylan Larkin would make the most of a K’Andre Miller overtime penalty to give Detroit the win, and send New York to their second straight loss.
“I thought it was a bad call.” Gallant later said on the Miller penalty.
With the loss, the Rangers fall to 6-4-3 on the season. They have their second meeting with the New York Islanders on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.
- Filip Chytil made his return to the ice after a six-game absence with an upper-body injury. While Chytil made his return, defenseman Ryan Lindgren did not play in Sunday’s contest with an upper-body injury. Gerard Gallant said Lindgren is still “day-to-day”.
- Chris Kreider’s assist was the 200th of his Rangers career. He became the 24th Ranger to notch their first career 200 assists with the team and the 34th skater to record 200 assists in a Rangers uniform. Kreider is the 16th player from the 2009 NHL Entry Draft to notch 200 career assists.
- The final period saw more than just forward-line changes. Zac Jones did not see much ice time in the final period. Jones misplayed the second goal of the game and was not seen afterward. Gallant did not know if there was an injury to Jones.