After a weekend of eating on the delicious impeller, the Rangers bit the stars and cracked a tooth.
This lucky little landing that the Rangers finished last in Detroit became a blast when a strong Stars team rolled into the garden and drove out a 5-3 win Monday night.
After turning back the clock in Motown on Saturday night and collecting his first shutout since 2017, Henrik Lundqvist's game lasted only 40 minutes and allowed four goals in 15 shots before Alex Georgiev replaced him. Lundqvist made some great parades and allowed some hard goals. The same goes for the blues shirts – the disagreements that sparked their hopes for the off-season wane as the reality of the February 24 trading close continues.
"I don't want to stand here looking for excuses, turning points, or the like," said Mika Zibanejad. "We have done it to ourselves again and it is unfortunate."
Well, coach David Quinn knew exactly when the situation turned for his Rangers (25-22-4), who scored two of their three Powerplay goals in the first half – and surrendered two Powerplay goals to Joe Pavelski – but then Stephen Johns gave up a long bomb at 7:52 of the second period which gave Dallas (30-18-4) a 3-2 lead and turned the tide.
"It looked like we really lost our breath after we gave up that third goal," said Quinn, who also lost a challenge because he believed a puck was out of the game on the star's first goal to take a 2: 1 lead later.
"It's a goal, you're still in the game. And then we got sloppy," said Quinn. "It was really a story of two games for us. I really liked what we did up to that third goal , and then we really got away from all the things that we had done and that we have to do if we want a chance. "
The chance would of course be as big as in the playoffs. But the bad things didn't sneak back into their game, they resorted to it.
"Hold on to the puck too long, cheat, not physically enough – you tell me," Quinn said. "We weren't doing well in many areas after scoring that third goal."
These young rangers have left an impression of mental resilience, but mostly there are large blurs in focus. Sometimes it hurts them, sometimes it doesn't. Although the stars only have 21 shots online, they have made them count.
After Johns scored a goal, Blake Comeau continued his career attack on Lundqvist and hit him with a corner kick for his 14th career goal against Netminder, who was the fourth most common player in Lundqvist's career. Corey Perry was able to beat Georgiev to make it 5-2 early in the third, and essentially ended the game.
"They have men, they are tough, they have structure, they don't fight," said Quinn about the stars. "In the last 30 minutes, we just weren't up to the challenge."
The challenge before the Rangers is pretty daunting now, and they know it. The situation with three gates is a little more complicated, along with all the uncertainty as they approach the trading deadline. Quinn and his players want to focus on winning games, but for the youngest team in the league, they can sometimes get a little sideways.
The three Powerplay goals were nice, the first after a sharp shot by Pavel Buchnevich – in third place – that goalkeeper Anton Khudobin would certainly like to have again. And then Brett Howden made a nice game to tie it 2-2 at 15:41 of the first. But after Brendan Lemieux added the third part of the night to the man advantage in mopup time, statistics just jumped off the page:
The Rangers have scored only three goals of equal strength in the last four games and seven in power play. It's a difficult way to win and keep the off-season dream alive.
"It just wasn't enough," said Zibanejad.
You can find more information about the Rangers in the latest episode of the podcast "Up In The Blue Seats":