The New York Rangers fell 3-2 in overtime against the Los Angeles Kings in their season opener. Registering a point is certainly a positive to take from the game, and after the first period effort something all associated with the Rangers would have signed up for. However, given the effort of the team for the second and third periods it is somewhat disappointing to only get the single point out of the game.
The Rangers kept giving the Kings opportunities with the man advantage and Jack Johnson finally took advantage with 52 second left in overtime. Ryan McDonagh, after playing a very good game on the top defensive pair, was whistled for a questionable penalty in the offensive zone when he was tied up with Willie Mitchell with 2:09 left in overtime. On the goal, Henrik Lundqvist was able to stop Mike Richards and Dan Girardi got a piece of the pass across, but Jack Johnson ended up with the puck on the left side and found a way to finish it.
The third period was the Rangers best of the game. They were able to establish more of their forecheck game and seemed to be wearing down the Kings as the game went along. Marian Gaborik gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead with 9:32 left when he cashed in from the slot. Brad Richards made a blind pass to the slot that Dubinsky found loose and after what looked like a fanned shot that turned into a pass to Gaborik, there was no mistake for the Slovakian sniper.
The first period was a display that the Rangers would like to forget as they were dominated by the Kings. From the opening faceoff the Kings controlled play with an excellent skating and passing display the Rangers had no answer for. The Rangers were shorthanded twice early after penalties from Mats Zuccarello and Steve Eminger. The Kings had chances on the first power play, but could not solve Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers were much better defensively on the second kill.
The Kings tied it up with 4:59 left when on a 2-on-2 Brad Richardson fed Mike Richards in front for the tap-in goal. Sauer gave Richardson too much room and allowed him to carry the puck for too long in the offensive zone before he finally passed the puck into the slot. Del Zotto also failed on the play because he has to lift Richards stick so he cannot get off that shot.
The Kings struck first when Ryan Callahan’s attempted pass to Artem Anisimov was behind him and led to Los Angeles transition which Anze Kopitar finished at 10:51. The Rangers took over 15 minutes to register their first shot of the game, but they would tie the game up on just their second one when Ryan Callahan banked it off the back of Quick from a sharp angle at 15:22. Certainly not the type of goal you expect to get, but it was what the Rangers needed to survive their brutal first period effort.
The second period effort was much better and the period overall was played to a stand-still leaving it to the third and overtime for the ultimate decision.
- Callahan, aside from the turnover, was excellent today. Love him being aggressive and shooting the puck as much as he did.
- Anisimov was very strong again and looks poised for a big season
- Dubinsky-Richards-Gaborik did not look very good early, but that was partially because of the bad penalties. The group got better as the game went along and was very effective in the third. Dubinsky was excellent defensively in the game. Richards showed his tremendous vision and also showed the other forwards are going to adjust and be ready at all times. Gaborik skating and aggression was much better today than last season.
- Stepan, Wolski, Zuccarello and Fedotenko were all either bad or invisible in this one.
- Dan Girardi was phenomenal all game in taking the role as the lead defender.
- Ryan McDonagh was very strong, aside from the mistake penalty in overtime. He continues to improve in all aspects of the game.
- Michael Del Zotto had his typical good and bad moments out there. Still a work in progress.
- Liked what I saw from Tim Erixon today against the Kings lower line players