Maple Leafs Play Role Of Grinch; Defeat Rangers 3-2

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Here is our recap of the Rangers 3-2 loss to the Maple Leafs.

Jimmy Vesey – With the Rangers trailing 2-0 in the second period, Jimmy Vesey was able to pull the Blueshirts within a goal early in the middle frame. Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen went to play the puck at the side of the net, but Vesey swooped in and took it away. Vesey came out from around the net and put the puck in to cut the Rangers deficit in half. The unassisted goal was Vesey’s eighth of the year, and the sophomore now has goals in back to back games, as well as points in four of the last five.

JT Miller – It was the third goal in his last five games for the Rangers forward, and it brought the Blueshirts as close as they would get to the Toronto club. With Alain Vigneault juggling the lines to try and get the Rangers back on level terms, Miller was playing on a line with Chris Kreider and Pavel Buchnevich, and the trio all had a hand in the second goal for the Blueshirts. Kevin Shattenkirk pinched in to keep the puck to Kreider, who threw it in deep to Buchnevich. The young Russian fired a no-look pass to the slot for Miller, who corralled the puck and beat Andersen between the pads. Miller’s goal was his seventh of the season and we can only hope that this recent goal-scoring trend continues upwards for the Ohio native.

Mental Mistakes – The Rangers lost this game for a few reasons. First, they didn’t start showing up until they were already down by two goals. Second, they chose to pass the puck when they had clear chances at getting the puck to the net. Most notably, David Desharnais deciding to pass back to the point from the goal line with the Rangers on a two-man advantage, as well as Mats Zuccarello passing up a shot coming down on a 2v1. And third, and perhaps most annoyingly, not making sure to stay onside when the puck is on the opposite end of the blue line. We’re looking at you, Kevin Hayes.

This is not to say that Hayes straying offsides was the reason that the Blueshirts ultimately lost this game. There were many other areas of the game that contributed to the demise of Alain Vigneault’s squad. But if you can’t do the little things correctly, like making sure to stay on the right side of the blue line, then you don’t have much of a chance at winning games in this league.

Special Teams – The Rangers entered the game with a struggling power play and a surging penalty kill. But unfortunately for the Blueshirts, the struggles continued for the man-advantage units, and the penalty kill wasn’t able to withstand all three Maple Leafs power plays, surrendering a goal to defenseman Ron Hainsey in the first minute of the second period. The Rangers power play had a two-man advantage for nearly a full two minutes but were only able to put two pucks on Andersen’s net.

Henrik Lundqvist – The Rangers top netminder has been treated like Louis XVI (look it up) in the last few weeks, and he’s the only reason the Rangers have been able to turn around their season after a horrendous October. Lundqvist made 34 saves on 37 Toronto shots, including saves on three breakaways in the third period with the Rangers looking for the tying goal. The Blueshirts will need to start giving their goaltender consistent efforts in front of him, otherwise, we could see more reactions from Henrik like this.

Next Game: The Rangers resume their season on Wednesday night when they host the Capitals at The Garden. Puck drops at 8!


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