Rangers outclassed 5-2 by the defending champions

Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers blocks a shot
Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers blocks a shot /
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aden Schwartz #17 of the St. Louis Blues celebrates after the puck goes by Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers
aden Schwartz #17 of the St. Louis Blues celebrates after the puck goes by Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers /

The New York Rangers were beaten as thoroughly as they have been in any game this season.  Despite jumping out to the early lead, they were never really in this game.

Chalk this one up as a learning experience for this young New York Rangers team.  They were manhandled by the reigning Stanley Cup champions and were taught a lesson about what it takes to win.  The Blueshirts were dominated in every way in this game and it wasn’t pretty.

The Blues are a team without a superstar, but is a team that is so complete it is inspiring.  At time if felt like they were toying with the Rangers and after an evenly played first period, it was all Blues.

The game

The game got off to a crazy start when a communication issue between Henrik Lundqvist and Brady Skjei almost resulted in a wide open point blank shot.  Shortly after that, everyone in the rink was surprised when Filip Chytil broke into the Blues zone and put one past Jordan Binnington who was probably the most surprised person in the arena.   Chytil was spring by a nice outlet pass from Ryan Lindgren.

Chytil’s rush started in the Ranger zone and he scored with a great wrist shot.  That folks was the high point of the game for New York.

The Blueshirts had a golden opportunity when Micheal Haley drew a double minor for high sticking to Robert Bortuzzo.   The Rangers power play was awful with them getting only two shots on goal, the same as the shorthanded Blues.  It got even worse when the penalty ended and Bortuzzo was sprung for a breakaway exiting the penalty box.

The defenseman broke in on Lundqvist who did not play the breakaway well and Bortuzzo put the puck between the goalie’s legs for  his first goal of the season to tie the game.

The Rangers had their opportunities included a wrap-around attempt by Adam Fox that just missed

Defenseman Vince Dunn added a second goal with less than two minutes left in the first period.  It was a classic Ranger defensive shift as they were hemmed in their end, gave up the puck and Dunn was wide open coming in from the point.

On the whole, it wasn’t an awful period for New York.  The Blues had the shot advantage 9-8 and  the Rangers were almost even on faceoffs.

The second period began with a hooking penalty called on Pavel Buchnevich.  The Blues score once on every four power plays and it didn’t long for their top scorer, David Perron to score the backbreaker.  It was inevitable as Mika Zibanejad had broken his stick and the Rangers couldn’t clear the puck from the zone.

The Blueshirts fought back and the Chytil line did it again, with Brett Howden scoring on an excellent Chytil feed.  Howden didn’t even have to shoot the puck as it hit his stick and deflected into the goal.

That goal drew the Rangers within 3-2 and it felt like a game again…for almost two minutes.  Then, Zach Sanford scored on a brilliant passing play with Jacob de la Rose.   A few minutes later Tony DeAngelo hit a crossbar and the Blues came right back down the ice and Jaden Schwartz scored the fifth goal to ice the win.

The rest of the game was back and forth with a scoreless third period,  but the Rangers were never really in the game and the Blues defense just shut them down completely. The Blueshirts could only muster only 15 shots over the last two periods to 20 for the Blues.  It was a classic lead protection effort and the game ended with a scrum between the two teams that resulted in misconduct penalties for Brendan Smith and Jacob Trouba.

The good news was the play of the “kid line” as they accounted for both goals.  The bad news was the Blues were able to shut down the Rangers top lines though Artemi Panarin was on the ice and got the secondary assist on Howden’s goal.

The bad news was also that Lundqvist didn’t look sharp in his first game in nine days.  Libor Hajek returned from injury and showed his rust with one miscue that resulted in a Blues goal.