Depleted Rangers Fall To The Canadiens At The Bell Centre
As the trade deadline inches closer, the Rangers met the Canadiens in a playoff rematch from last year. While both teams were playoff teams last year, both are struggling and find themselves at the bottom of the standings in the Eastern Conference. In addition, both team’s captains are on the trading block, although to different levels of seriousness.
Normally, a game between New York and Montreal features two world-class goaltenders in Henrik Lundqvist and Carey Price. However, Lundqvist was rested in favor of Alexandar Georgiev and Carey Price was out with symptoms from a concussion suffered during Montreal’s game on Tuesday. In addition, the Rangers were without Rick Nash and Michael Grabner, as they were held out, presumably because they are close to being traded. Add that to the Rangers still missing Chris Kreider, Kevin Shattenkirk, Ryan McDonagh, and the recently traded Nick Holden. With all of these regulars out of the lineup, the Rangers looked more like the Hartford Wolfpack.
As has happened way too often this season the Rangers struggled early on. While the Rangers did not give up a goal in the first minute, they did give up the first goal in the first period with under seven minutes gone in the period. New Rangers defenseman Rob O’Gara lost his man in front of the net as Tomas Plekanec buried a cross crease pass to give the Canadiens a 1-0 lead. The Rangers and Canadiens traded power plays but did not score any more in the opening frame with Georgiev channeling his inner Hank by withstanding the barrage of Montreal shots.
In the second period, the Canadiens scored again when Jeff Petry took another cross-ice pass and buried it behind Georgiev for a 2-0 Canadiens lead. Although the Rangers had some chances, they were unable to get one past Antti Niemi.
Despite the Rangers being down a number of key players, they battled and pulled within one goal when Kevin Hayes scored a controversial goal. Initially, it appeared that Hayes kicked the puck in the net. However, the review showed that Hayes kicked the puck towards the net, but his stick deflected the puck before going in the net. Right after the Hayes goal, the Rangers pulled Georgiev for the extra skater but were unable to capitalize on their chances. The Canadiens sealed the game when Phillip Danault scored into the empty net to make the game 3-1 in favor of Montreal.
Making A Good First Impression
The Canadiens won 3-1 behind a shot differential of 41-32 and great goaltending from Antti Niemi. While Georgiev took the loss, he showed great promise by stopping 38 out of the 40 shots that he faced behind a young and relatively inexperienced defense.
Alexandar Georgiev's 38 saves thus far tonight are the most a Ranger goaltender has made in his NHL debut (since shots were first tracked in 1955-56). The previous franchise record was held by Dan Blackburn (37 on Oct. 10, 2001).
— NYR Stats & Info (@NYRStatsInfo) February 23, 2018
Next Game: The Rangers are back at The Garden tonight against the Minnesota Wild. Puck drops at 7!
LETS GO RANGERS!!
Editor’s Note: The Rangers traded Michael Grabner after the game in Montreal. For more on the deal, click here.