Flames Burn Rangers 4-1
Sunday night hockey came to Madison Square Garden, as the Flames came into town to play the Rangers. After a solid first period, the wheels on the train fell off with the Flames taking control of the final two periods of the game. Here’s our recap.
So, That Happened – The first period of the game was a solid one. New York was outshooting Calgary and although only down 1-0, controlled the tempo and seemed as if the team was going to break out with one tiny little break. That break never came, as backup goaltender David Rittich kept the Flames in the game long enough for them to capitalize on the Rangers shortcomings. Goals in quick succession by Garnet Hathaway and Johnny Gaudreau quickly put New York in a 3-0 hole. Gaudreau scored two goals against Lundqvist, which were both highlight reel type goals.
“That second period, they started getting some momentum on some turnovers, and their forecheck is going — it’s going to happen in a game,” alternate captain Marc Staal said.
Instead of sticking to structure in our end, having guys support each other, we got sloppy and really disconnected. We have to figure out how to deal with it better when a team starts getting momentum, and be able to handle that and not get hurt. We got sloppy and stupid for a large stretch of the second.” Brett Cygralis/NY Post
The sloppy play continued as Calgary kept dominating the tempo, and it flared up late in the 3rd period. Calgary’s rookie defenseman Rasmus Andersson laid a big hit on Mats Zuccarello, prompting Brady Skjei to jump Andersson in hopes of a fight. Andersson turtled, and with Skjei foregoing his defensive responsibilities, Garnet Hathaway made a clean break towards Lundqvist and tickled the twine glove side to make it 4-1.
“It’s too bad,” said Lundqvist, who made 22 saves. “I feel like these types of games are starting to add up, unfortunately. We are playing good enough to win games, but we are not finding ways to win games. It’s obviously something that we need to change fast.” – Brett Cygralis/NY Post
Defensive miscues, lack of tenacity and simply seeming like the whole group phoned it in after they went down 3-0 all appear to be part of the growing pains of this rebuild. Although there is no excuse for lackluster play, the only thing you can really take out of this is that games like this would be expected. The team can and will play better but losses like these will come more often than not.
Sooner or later, these mistakes should come few and far between. The lack of effort and sluggish play from the team, especially in their own zone, will hopefully go away. The record is not indicative but this team has played well, but are still very raw in many aspects.
Silver Lining, Mika Zibanejad – On the bright side, the only tally of the game was notched by none other than Mika Zibanejad. At 6:41 of the 3rd period, Mika Zibanejad scored on a beautifully placed shot past rookie goaltender David Rittich on the power play. As of late, Zibanejad has been one of the Rangers better players and has played incredibly well with his linemates Jesper Fast and Chris Kreider.
Next Game: The Rangers will look to snap their losing skid at two against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night. Puck drops at 7.
LETS GO RANGERS!!