Your New York Rangers followed up a 5-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres with a 5-3 loss at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Now, the score doesn’t tell the story of this game, as this was not a game where Columbus dominated proceedings. This was a wacky game that very much had the feel of a team trying to get the cogs in place. While there are things to remove, there are still players trying to knock the rust off and get back into the swing of an NHL season.
Let’s start in the first period. Erik Gustafsson picks the puck up and tries to throw it across the slot, but it gets deflected. It gets deflected straight past Elvis Merzlikins and into the net, as the Rangers take a 1-0 lead to grab the momentum early in this game. It felt like the Rangers had the building blocks for a successful performance to come home unbeaten, but that would not be the case.
Alexis Lafreniere would receive the puck as he crossed the blueline, playing a beautiful pass to Gustafsson. Gustafsson sent it into the slot for Chytil, who tapped it home to make it 2-0 Rangers! Until he didn’t. After review, the original play from Lafreniere was offside, as he didn’t bring the puck into the zone with him. So this comes off the board, and it remains just 1-0 Rangers.
Then Boone Jenner scores to make it 1-1. Johnny Gaudreau would get his 19th point in 18 games against the Rangers as he started to create the magic the Columbus Captain would cap off to knot the game up at one. After the disallowed goal, this did feel like it took the wind out of the Ranger sails, as there was nothing Igor Shesterkin could do to stop that one.
But Mika Zibanejad would restore the lead for the Rangers, or so he thought. This, too, turned out to be offside, and the second disallowed goal of the period seemed to suck the life out of the Rangers. Suddenly, Columbus was all over, and even thought they had taken the lead before it was revealed on a review that a desperate dive from Jacob Trouba had spared the Rangers’ blushes.
In the second period, Jenner would score again and then a third time to complete a natural hat trick. He became the first Blue Jacket captain ever to record a natural hat trick. David Jiricek would get in on the action as he scored his first NHL goal to make it a 4-1 game at the end of the second period. It was just gone for the Rangers at this point, despite some good efforts from individuals in the third period.
Will Cuylle would record his first NHL point as he scored to make it 4-2. He actually scored one that counted. Justin Danforth would go the other way and convert a rush chance set up by Cole Sillinger. That made it 5-2. With a little under 3 minutes, Peter Laviolette called for Shesterkin from the crease and even had Chris Kreider tally a powerplay goal with less than a minute left, but it wasn’t enough as the New York Rangers became the first team to lose to Pascal Vincent.
If you want to take something away from this game, focus on the absentee in this one that was Ryan Lindgren. Without the top-pairing defenseman, the Rangers defensively had some issues. That will happen. Zac Jones came in and was young and rusty after sitting. There’s some good stuff to take away from this one, but it wasn’t an ideal start. Now, the Rangers get to prepare for hockey at MSG.