Sunday, January 15, 2012

Rangers Nightmares Continue In Montreal With 4-1 Loss

The New York Rangers failures in Montral continued with an ugly 4-1 loss Sunday night.  The loss dropped the Rangers to 0-5-1 in their last six trips to the Bell Centre. 

After dominating the Toronto Maple Leafs top line last night the New York Rangers watched the Montreal Canadiens top line of Max Pacioretty, David Desharnais and Erik Cole dance circles around them for three goals and nine points in a 4-1 loss.  While the Rangers used Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh mainly against the Tomas Plekanec line, it was this line that made the Rangers defense look lost.

The Rangers certainly did not get the start they wanted as the Canadiens got on the board only 2:39 into the opening period.  Marc Staal had a number of fails leading to the Montreal goal as he turned the puck over in the neutral zone with a bad pass allowing the Canadiens to carry back into the Rangers zone.  Staal then could not stop Desharnais from getting behind the net with the puck.  With Desharnais behind the net failed coverages from Wolski, Bickel and Newbury left Lundqvist down and out when Max Pacioretty eventually ended up with the puck in the slot.

New York got back into the flow of the game when Stu Bickel dropped the gloves with Travis Moen directly off a faceoff.  The fight came just moments after Rene Bourque side swiped Carl Hagelin along the wall, which drew the ire of both Brian Boyle and Brandon Prust.

Getting even on the scoreboard came 12:49 into the first period when John Mitchell converted a Derek Stepan rebound from the crease.  The scoring play started with Gaborik working behind the Montreal net feeding Stepan in the slot for the initial shot which Budaj stopped, but bad rebound control left the puck laying there for Mitchell.  The assist for Gaborik was his 300th of his NHL career and first since December 20.

Montreal took the lead back early in the second when the Rangers once again failed to clear their zone against the Pacioretty -Desharnais-Cole line.  Following the failed clear Desharnais played the puck back to Erik Cole who let the shot go from just inside the blue line and it was deflected off Pacioretty in front.  Stu Bickel had an awful shift in failing to get the puck out, not clearing Pacioretty out from in front and helping screen Lundqvist.  Following the goal he got an earful from Tortorella on the bench and never saw the ice again on the night.

The deficit expanded to two when Scott Gomez found Mike Blunden in the right faceoff that beat Lundqvist short side.  Desharnais got his turn to finish one off when he beat Marc Staal down the ice in transition and had a tap-in goal to beat Lundqvist to push the Canadiens’ advantage to 4-1.

The Rangers will look to toss this one aside and get back at it Tuesday against Nashville.