New York Rangers will look for complete effort against Kraken

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Oct 31, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; New York Rangers right wing Barclay Goodrow (21) moves the puck away from the goal during the second period at Climate Pledge Arena. New York defeated Seattle 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers are on their first losing streak since December, and each of the losses features the recurring theme of taking an early two-goal lead and then fading the rest of the way.

The Rangers look to avoid their second three-game losing streak of the season Sunday afternoon when they host the expansion Seattle Kraken for the first time.

New York Rangers fizzling after hot starts

New York is coming off an unsuccessful back-to-back set against the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild, giving them consecutive losses for the first time since Dec. 17 and 29 and consecutive regulation losses for the first time since Dec. 12-14.

On Thursday, the Rangers held a two-goal lead in the opening 4:44 but wound up with a 5-3 loss in Columbus when they allowed four straight goals and saw a third-period comeback fall short.

A night later, New York retired goaltender Henrik Lundqvist’s No. 30 before the opening faceoff, took a two-goal lead in the first period and then allowed three straight goals in a 3-2 loss to the Wild.

“We invited them right back into the game,” New York’s Mika Zibanejad said. “I feel like that’s on us, obviously. We got to be better.”

On Friday, Barclay Goodrow scored for the third straight game and Chris Kreider got his league-leading 31st goal. After allowing five shots in the first 20 minutes, the Rangers allowed 29 in the final 40 minutes as their defense struggled after putting All-Star Adam Fox on injured reserve with a lower-body injury he sustained Thursday.

Despite fading, the Rangers nearly tied the game with 1.9 seconds left but saw a goal disallowed due to goaltender interference.

“I obviously don’t agree with it– I can’t say much more than that,” Zibanejad said afterwards about the call. “Honestly, it just sucks we couldn’t end the night on a better note.”

Rangers look to rebound

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Oct 31, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) blocks a goal shot with his chest during the first period against the Seattle Kraken at Climate Pledge Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Before the previous two losses, the Rangers had won nine of 12. Their previous three home wins over the Toronto Maple Leafs, Arizona Coyotes and Los Angeles Kings were achieved after extremely slow starts.

Now the Rangers are looking to avoid their first three-game skid since going 0-1-2 at Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary from Nov. 2-6. They also are looking to avoid consecutive home losses for the third time this season.

“We’ve got to play a full 60,” Ryan Lindgren said via NHL.com. “It seems like we start off well some nights and then we go to sleep a little bit in the second, or vice versa. It’s key in this league to play a full 60. When you get out to those leads you’ve got to make sure you’re playing smart and not letting teams get back into it. It’s definitely something we’ve got to clean up.”

Adam Fox will be back after the break

The New York Rangers placed defenseman Adam Fox on IR before Henrik Lundqvist Night. The stint requires a minimum stay of 7 days. That will mean missing Sunday’s matinee against the Kraken and Tuesday’s game versus the Panthers.

New York will not play again until after the All-Star Game at home against the Bruins on February 15. One thing was made clear by Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant is that Fox will be back for that contest.

“If [an injury] was going to happen, it’s perfect timing,” Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said via NHL.com. “We fully expect him to be back after the break.”

Fox, 23, has recorded 136 points in 169 NHL games to go along with a +53 rating and only 60 penalty minutes. The native of Jericho, LI shocked the hockey world by winning the Norris Trophy for best defenseman in his sophomore season. A feat only accomplished by one other rearguard, Hall of Famer Bobby Orr.

This season, he has 47 points in 44 contests which leads all NHL blue-liners in scoring.

Kraken playing better

Seattle was originally slated for the second part of a back-to-back, but its game with the New York Islanders in Elmont, N.Y., was postponed until Wednesday due to the blizzard in the area.

The Kraken are 4-2-0 in their past six games following a nine-game skid (0-8-1) from Dec. 15-Jan. 15. The Kraken are seeking their fifth win over a top team in the Eastern Conference after beating the Carolina Hurricanes on Nov. 24, the Florida Panthers twice (Nov. 27 and Jan. 23) and getting a 2-1 overtime win in Pittsburgh on Thursday.

Adam Larsson scored 1:17 into the extra period to give the expansion team its first overtime win. It snapped a four-game road skid and gave the Kraken their second win when scoring fewer than three goals. Jared McCann scored his team-leading 17th goal with 3:56 remaining to tie it and Seattle also earned the first win in team history when trailing after two periods (1-18-1).

“We’ve been in that situation a lot this season,” McCann said. “And we stuck with it.”

The Rangers claimed the first meeting between the teams on Oct. 31 in Seattle when Kreider, Goodrow and Fox scored in a 3-1 win.

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–Field Level Media contributed to this article