Three PPGs not enough for Rangers

Following back to back wins against the league-worst Detroit Red Wings, the Blueshirts returned to MSG to face the second-place Dallas Stars. And despite scoring three times with the man advantage, the Rangers were unable to pull out the victory, as they lost 5-3 to Jamie Benn and the Stars.

Pavel Buchnevich – It’ll look like a top corner snipe in the box score, but the young Russian’s goal was nowhere near as pretty. With the Rangers on the power play, Buchnevich’s cross ice pass for Mika Zibanejad went on goal and fooled Anton Khudobin to give the Rangers the early lead.

The goal was the tenth of the season for Buchnevich and his third in the last four games. It’s been another up and down season for the 24-year-old, but if he can continue scoring consistently, he’ll be a key contributor for David Quinn’s squad.

Brett Howden – Though it was initially disallowed, Brett Howden scored a nifty power play goal to tie the game at two late in the opening frame. After Kaapo Kakko’s shot deflected in the air off of Brendan Lemieux, Howden found the puck, knocked it down with his glove and batted it in with his stick before the puck crossed the goal line.

Howden’s goal was his seventh of the season, as he continues to be a steady bottom-six player for the Blueshirts.

Brendan Lemieux – In addition to his assist, albeit unintentional, Lemieux got the Rangers within two late in the third period. The rugged winger was able to redirect Adam Fox’s blue line blast past Khudobin with just under seven minutes to go.

Lemieux would also have a goal disallowed that would’ve gotten the Blueshirts within one, but he slashed the stick out of the hands of Jamie Benn just before receiving the pass that Lemieux would one-time into the net. It was the right call from the officials, who then had to deal with the ensuing scrum that came.

Mistake After Mistake – The story of the game will be Dallas’ ability to make the Rangers pay for their mistakes. The two first period power-play goals from Joe Pavelski came on a deflection between the two defensemen and a turnover leading to a wide-open one-timer from between the circles. The third goal, a point blast through multiple screens. The fourth, a 2v1 snipe from noted Rangers killer Blake Comeau. Finally, Corey Perry, who got his first goal since November 19th, pounced on a juicy rebound while being lightly checked by Greg McKegg.

Are some of these mistakes due to the team being inexperienced? Perhaps. But things, like clearing bodies from the crease or being hard on your opponent’s stick, are things a player is taught from youth hockey. These are the little things that the Rangers are going to have to clean up if they want to become a better team going forward.

Goaltending – As mentioned above, Henrik Lundqvist and Alexandar Georgiev, who relieved Lundqvist to start the final 20 minutes, didn’t have a whole lot of help from their teammates. That being said, it wasn’t a great night for either goaltender. Lundqvist gave up four goals on 15 shots, while Georgiev allowed one on six shots, though it should have been two on Georgiev after an egregious giveaway by the goaltender was missed by the Dallas player. With the Rangers seemingly riding three goaltenders into the February 24th trade deadline, playing at the top of your game will get you more starts. And are this one, neither goalie, in this writer’s opinion, deserve to start Wednesday night’s game against Toronto.

Next Game: The Rangers continue their homestand with an Original Six matchup against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Puck drops at 730!

Post Game Notes

  • Artemi Panarin tallied a power play assist and registered four shots on goal while skating in a team-high 24:36 of ice time. He has recorded an assist/point in seven of his last nine games (five goals, 11 assists over the span). He has also tallied a point in nine of his last 10 games at MSG, and he has registered 20 points (seven goals, 13 assists) in those 10 contests.
  • Adam Fox tallied a power play assist and tied for the team-high with two blocked shots. He has notched an assist/point in three of the last four games (three assists) and has registered 12 points (one goal, 11 assists) in the last 13 games.
  • Brett Howden tallied a power play goal and won 11 of 13 faceoffs (84.6%). Howden registered his seventh goal of the 2019-20 season in tonight’s contest, establishing a new career-high. In addition, his goal tonight was the first he has recorded on the power play (as well as the first special teams goal) in his NHL career.
  • Kaapo Kakko notched a power play assist and logged 17:32 of ice time in tonight’s contest. Kakko recorded his 17th career NHL point, which is the most by an 18-year-old in Rangers history.

Notes provided by the Rangers


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