Rangers Blow Three Goal Lead And Lose In Shootout On Vic Hadfield Night At The Garden

JohnLuke Chaparro/Forever Blueshirts

Following two losses north of the border by a combined score of 8-2, the Rangers headed back to Madison Square Garden in hopes of getting back in the win column. And with many Rangers legends in the building to watch Vic Hadfield’s #11 rise to the MSG rafters, you’d think the Rangers would try and do whatever they could to come away with the two points. Unfortunately, for everyone in attendance, the Rangers couldn’t close out the Winnipeg Jets and would ultimately lose the game, sending The Garden Faithful home unhappily.

Jesper Fast – On his 27th birthday, Quickie gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead heading into the first intermission. With Mika Zibanejad having just stepped out of the penalty box, the two Swedes ran a give-and-go that resulted in Fast beating Connor Hellebuyck from the top of the blue paint.

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The goal was just the second of the season for Fast, who has been thrust onto the first line with the rash of injuries the Rangers have faced. Regardless of whether or not he deserves to be in a top-six role, Fast’s style of play doesn’t change and it’s always nice to see him get on the scoreboard.

Marc Staal – The elder statesman on David Quinn’s blue line, Staal has been a steady presence playing aside young gun Neal Pionk. And like Fast, Staal also recorded his second goal of the campaign. After a fantastic keep-in by Ryan Strome, the puck came right to Staal and he beat the Winnipeg netminder off of the far post. Despite what you may read on social media, Marc Staal hasn’t been as bad as people may lead you to believe; and seeing him on the scoresheet is definitely a welcome sight.

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Chris Kreider – The Rangers leading goal-scorer got his 14th goal of the season as he redirected a Mika Zibanejad shot as the Blueshirts powerplay expired. Kreider has scored in a variety of ways this season, be it off the rush, putting in a rebound, or deftly redirecting a puck past the opposing goaltender. David Quinn has sparked something within Kreider this season, and the 27-year-old has really shined this year.

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Brendan SmithAs I wrote a little over a week ago on the site, Brendan Smith should be the team’s seventh defenseman because he plays a bit risky for my liking. And tonight, with the Rangers up 3-0 in the third, Smith took a very unnecessary penalty, to say the least. The Jets would score on the ensuing powerplay, sparking their comeback and ultimate triumph over the Blueshirts. Was Smith’s penalty the only reason the Rangers lost tonight? No. But he didn’t do anything to help his team.

Henrik Lundqvist – Had it not been for some fantastic stops from King Henrik, the Rangers would’ve been blown out. The Jets peppered Lundqvist with 42 shots, 39 of which were stopped by the veteran Swede, and had an additional 24 attempts that were either blocked or missed the net. And as Lundqvist rightly said after the game, “they owned us.” Had Lundqvist not made save after save, this game would’ve ended in regulation with a much larger margin of defeat.

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Offense, Offense, Wherefore Art Thou? – The Rangers put up 19 shots on goal against a team that allows an average of 32 shots per game. Against the Canadiens on Saturday night, the Rangers recorded 22 shots while the Canadiens average 31 shots against. The Rangers have recorded 30 or more shots just five times in their last 16 games. Thanks to some good goaltending from Lundqvist and Alex Georgiev, a lot of those games resulted in wins. However, the Rangers are seeing that if they don’t mount some sort of consistent forecheck over the full 60 minutes, they aren’t going to win many games.

Vic Hadfield – It was a special night for the former Rangers forward as his number 11 was raised to the rafters. Coming into this season, Hadfield was the final member of the GAG line waiting to be enshrined in Rangers lore alongside his line mates, Rod Gilbert and Jean Ratelle. Hadfield was the first Rangers player to score 50 goals in a single season, and was an integral part in the Rangers run to the 71-72 Stanley Cup Finals.

Next Game: The Rangers will head south to The Sunshine State to take on the Florida Panthers on Friday night. Puck drops at 7!

LETS GO RANGERS!!