Second Period Blues:
In their 5-1 victory over Buffalo, the Rangers had their breakouts on point, executing with style. They smoothly transitioned out of their zone, making it look like a breeze. Yet fast forward to Saturday, they seemed to channel their inner struggle from last year. They were passive with the puck, and the Blue Jackets saw right through their 1-3-1 neutral zone trap.
“There were some odd-man rushes that I didn’t like and some things that snuck back in there that you’ve got to take out,” Laviolette quipped. “It wasn’t overwhelming amounts of them, but the ones that we didn’t take charge of, they came back the other way and bit us.”
On Thursday, the Rangers allowed a total of six high-danger chances. They let ten trickle through in Columbus, five in the first period.
The second period saw turnovers piling up for the Blueshirts. Kaapo Kakko made a crucial turnover at the point, and the Jackets took full advantage. After a few shots were blocked, Jenner showed his muscles as he outmuscled Jones and Schneider behind the net.
Then he just parked himself in front of the net, and Jones couldn’t find a way to move him. The result? A Jake Bean shot that got tipped by the Blue Jackets captain, giving him his second career hat trick and making it 3-1.
“You want to clear out the front of the net and not let those tips (happen),” Fox said. “We score some goals like that that are around the net and tips. It’s hard for the goalie. There’s nothing they can really do on those, so it’s tough. We had some breakdowns, and they took advantage of it.”
And if that wasn’t enough, it soon turned into a 4-1 Blueshirts deficit when David Jiricek decided to pop his first NHL goal. Jiricek had all the time in the world at the top of the right circle and fired a wrist shot past Shesterkin, glove side. It was not the finest night for the Rangers’ netminder, who finished with a -1.97 goals saved above expected. It also was a forgettable night for the Jones-Schneider pair, who were a -2. The loss dropped the Rangers’ record without Lindgren to 47-52-17, compared to 149-82-27 when he’s played since 2019.