New York Rangers fall flat in disappointing loss to the Golden Knights 5-1

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Jan 6, 2022; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; New York Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev (40) defends his net against Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Shea Theodore (27) during the second period at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers began a five game road trip in grand fashion against the Vegas Golden Knights. It was a homecoming for Ryan Reaves and Gerard Gallant that had drama even before the game started.

Just prior to warmups, the Rangers announced that projected starter Igor Shesterkin entered COVID-19 protocol. That meant Alexandar Georgiev would get a chance to avenge a 3-2 shootout loss at MSG on December 17.

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Recap: Golden Knights 5 vs Rangers 1

The first period saw the Vegas Golden Knights salute the return of Gerard Gallant before the puck drop. The fans cheered loudly for him and Ryan Reaves, who started the game for the Rangers.

Reaves rewarded them with a big hit in the opening minute on defenseman Brayden McNabb to get the festivities going.

New York carried the play for the most part and almost hit the scoreboard first on the PP. But Zac Jones shot went over Robin Lehner’s glove to only clang off the post.

Vegas would grab the lead on a PP of their own with just 1:25 on the clock. Jonathan Marchesseault would find a rebound in front and lift over Georgiev. The Rangers were outshot 11-8 in the opening 20, but there was a lot to like about the way the team played.

“We’re putting in the work and proving people wrong,” Reaves said after the first period. “We were physical and we handled their speed. Overall it was a pretty good period.”

rangers golden knights
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Rangers fizzle out

Early in the second period, Chris Kreider would draw the Rangers even with a hot shot that blew by Lehner’s glove at 52 seconds. Streaking down the right side, he converted a beautiful feed from Mika Zibanejad. Kaapo Kakko got the other helper.

The Golden Knights were undaunted and capitalized on mistakes by Libor Hajek for two goals. First it was Mark Stone with a redirect off his skate to make it 2-1 after Hajek failed to get it deep. Then it was Mattias Janmark skating by him to extend the lead to 3-1.

“We have to clean it up and get pucks behind them,” Kevin Rooney said. “We’re a little too perimeter right now. If we can get to the inside we can get two in the period and win it in OT.”

Easier said than done as the Golden Knights kept coming making the Rangers night miserable as they scored two more times in the third period to win this game 5-1.

“I loved our first 25 minutes– it was a 1-1 hockey game and from that point when they scored the second goal everything went the wrong way. Really disappointing 35 minutes,” Gallant said. “It’s too bad it fell apart on us. We’ll regroup”

Notable Rangers

  • Alexandar Georgiev stopped 30 of 35
  • Chris Kreider’s goal ties him with Brad Park for 19th in all-time team scoring (378)
  • Libor Hakej was a -4
  • Zac Jones was a -3
  • Ryan Reaves was a -3

Tomorrow (Friday, Jan. 7): Practice at Honda Center (1 PM PT/4 PM ET)

Next Game: Saturday, Jan. 8 vs. Anaheim Ducks (7 PM PT/10 PM ET – TV: MSG 2)

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Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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