New York Rangers 1 St. Louis Blues 2
Kevin Kline looked good in his first shift, he was communicating well with John Moore. Around the four-minute mark Mats Zuccarello was robbed on a beautiful shot to a wide open net. Followed shortly after by Chris Kreider then Rick Nash. The Rangers came out strong and put the pressure on the Blues early. Maxim Lapierre tried hard to get Ryan McDonagh riled up early, to no avail. Derek Stepan gad a huge shot around the eight minute mark but the shot went wide. As the puck switched ends, on a bad turnover, the puck went off the skate of Alexander Steen slid right through Henrik Lundqvist‘s “five hole”. The Blues did everything they could to draw a penalty early, and they got one when Ryan Callahan obliged, but he took T.J. Oshie with him. After the penalties expired Kreider had another great shot on goal that went off the post and he got hit with a high stick after that laid him out on the ice and had him sliding along the boards behind the Blues’ goal. Of course the referee standing right in the corner didn’t see it. The Rangers finally got a power play from a delay of game call on Barrett Jackman at 15:03 in the period. The sixth rated power play in the league could not convert. Despite out shooting the Blues 12-9, the Rangers headed to the dressing room down by one goal.
The Blues came out strong and kept the puck deep in the Rangers zone for nearly two minutes. After getting a much needed line change, the puck headed back toward Lundqvist, as Anton Stralman fell Mats Zuccarello covered his tail to get to the puck quickly.The period moved fast with few interruptions. The only consistency was the changing of defensive pairs, again. Patrik Berglund got a dangerous shot around the ten minute mark. Lundqvist made the initial save but the puck rebounded up into the air before he was able to bring it down and hold it. Carl Hagelin had some impressive work around the net which nearly netted him a goal. Once again the Blues went after Callahan, trying to get the man advantage, but “Cally” said no! The Blues managed to get a power play off a hooking call to Stralman. The last 30-45 seconds of the power play was all Nash putting pressure on the net. The Blues weren’t giving Nash any time or space and for some reason when Nash was taken down and knocked the net off the posts, there was no penalty. Go figure. But Nash came back and made the Blues pay as he rocketed the puck past the glove of Jaroslav Halak at 18:17. Mats Zuccarello had some words with Backes shortly after the goal that resulted in Zuccarello blowing Backes off like he was nothing. After that goal the Rangers had life and they put pressure on the net in full force. Brad Richards got close with a shot off Halak’s shoulder which Hagelin narrowly missed batting in with his stick. As the period came to an end, the Rangers were given a power play when Ian Cole was whistled for concealing the puck with four seconds remaining in the period. The Rangers again out shot the Blues 16-9 in the period.
The period started with the Rangers on the power play. They didn’t really get it going until the last 30 seconds, but were unable to convert. Nash took a slashing penalty at the three-minute mark and the Blues took the lead with only nine seconds of power play time. Steen did not return to the ice for the Blues; lower body injury was cited. There was a pile up in front of the net which left Derick Brassard‘s legs under Halak. One of the Blues’ players felt it necessary to grab Brassard and drag him across the ice, no penalty was called and luckily Halak wasn’t cut by Brassard’s blades. Around 12:30 in the period Jackman went back to the box for a HUGE cross check on Zuccarello in the crease. The Rangers were again, unable to convert on the power play. As time dwindled Lundqvist made his way to the bench. with 7.1 seconds remaining the Blues narrowly missed the empty net giving the Rangers a face-off and one last shot at tying the game. It was not to be, as the Rangers fell to the Blues for the second time this season. This was the only period of the game the Rangers did not outshoot the Blues; they tied at seven. Though the Rangers outshot the Blues 35-25 for the game.
Three Stars of the Game:
3) Rick Nash
I don’t even have three stars for this game, nor can I lay blame on anyone for the loss. The Rangers had no puck luck despite working their tails off the whole game. The Rangers next face the New Jersey Devils on Sunday, 26 January at 12:30 for the first Stadium Series game.