Rangers embarrassed in 7-3 loss to Maple Leafs

NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs at New York Rangers
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers played host to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night. Unfortunately, too many defensive lapses early on allowed the Leafs to come away with a significant lead. Despite a great attempt at a comeback in the second period, the Rangers’ efforts fell short on Garden of Dreams Night by a final score of 7-3.

In the loss, Blake Wheeler recorded two goals while Mika Zibanejad had the other Rangers tally and an assist of his own. Artemi Panarin recorded his 700th career point, and Adam Fox registered another assist. After a rough first period, Igor Shesterkin had a solid second and third. Hopefully this is a good sign for him going forward as he has not played like himself since returning from injury.

“I don’t think we were very sharp,” coach Peter Laviolette noted of the poor start. “There’s things we need to do better… First period wasn’t the way we wanted it to go at all.”

Related: Barclay Goodrow lost part of jaw

Toronto Maple Leafs 7 vs New York Rangers 3

NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs at New York Rangers
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The first period of this Original Six matchup got off to a strange start, and a slow one for New York. Nearly four minutes into the game, Auston Matthews was able to score off of a feed from William Nylander while the Rangers had a delayed penalty upcoming.

Roughly a minute later, a harmless wrist shot from the blue line somehow found its way past Igor Shesterkin, whose reaction made it seem like he never saw it. Nonetheless, the Rangers were in a hole early.

New York was finally able to cut the deficit to one. Blake Wheeler fired a shot that hit a defenseman in front and found the back of the net for his third goal of the season. This, along with a successful penalty kill, seemed to swing the momentum in favor of the Rangers.

Unfortunately, that notion was short-lived. Toronto came storming back with two goals in 21 seconds from Calle Jarnkrok and Mitch Marner. Igor Shesterkin was held out to dry both times as the Rangers did not do much in terms of giving him defensive help. The Rangers would head into the locker room after being dominated in the first, down 4-1.

“It’s just not good enough for the first period,” Zibanejad commented. “You try to stay positive and keep pushing… but the first period really put us in a bad spot.”

The Rangers started the second period with a better pace. Both Nick Bonino and Tyler Pitlick had high-danger scoring chances but were unable to find the back of the net. Both teams seemed to settle into the game in the second period as the rapid-fire pace seemed to slow down.

The Rangers continued to generate good scoring chances as they definitely improved their play from that of the first period. A few great saves from Martin Jones kept the Rangers off the board, highlighted by a windmill glove save on a Blake Wheeler shot.

Finally, New York was able to break through. On the power play, Mika Zibanejad was able to blast one home from a low angle to make it 4-2. With an assist on the goal, Artemi Panarin notched his 700th point in the NHL.

One minute and 56 seconds later, following a huge save from Shesterkin, Blake Wheeler walked in and sniped one home over the glove of Jones, bringing the Rangers within one. The momentum was now fully in favor of New York. Behind a bounce back period from Shesterkin, they were able to change the story of this game heading into the third.

In the third, Igor Shesterkin continued where he left off with an incredible cross-crease save, followed up by a sliding block from Jacob Trouba on an open net.

Unfortunately for the Rangers, Toronto would go on to knock the wind out of the sails. After a questionable call, Mitch Marner scored his second of the game on a deflection. A powerplay goal for the Leafs. This puts the Rangers down by two once again with time winding down quickly.

Despite fighting hard, the Blueshirts could not convert over the course of the third. In the final minutes, Auston Matthews would find the net once again and put the game away. With an empty net goal as the dagger, the Rangers would fall 7-3.

The Rangers will need to turn things around as they have now lost three of their last four games. A slow start for New York proved to be too deep a hole to climb out of in this contest. Back to the drawing board for the Rangers.

Rangers Notes

  • Igor Shesterkin stopped 23 out of 29 shots (7th goal empty net)
  • Artemi Panarin recorded his 700th career point
  • Blake Wheeler scored twice, doubling his goal total for the season (4)
  • Mika Zibanejad had two points (1G-1A)
  • Jacob Trouba picked up his 300th career point

The Rangers are back in action on Thursday night as they host the Anaheim Ducks at 7:00 PM ET.

Dane Walsh is a life-long fan of the New York Rangers. Growing up in the tri-state area, Dane has... More about Dane Walsh