This was a game that felt like it could have been promising for the Rangers, as they struck first in all three periods. Unfortunately, the Canucks responses continued to be strong as the New York Rangers fall on home ice to the Vancouver Canucks by a final score of 6-3. This is another one of those losses where it feels like the Rangers just did not play up to their strengths.
It would start well for the Rangers as the beautiful Blueshirts powerplay would get the show started. Mika Zibanejad took the puck to the net, creating a scramble in front and Thatcher Demko ended up falling over. It would come loose to Artemi Panarin at the boards, and he would fire a pass to Vincent Trocheck, who gives it over to Mika. A slap pass from Zibanejad back to Trocheck allows him to convert, and the Rangers strike first.
J.T. Miller would get it back quickly. Vancouver would get the puck in deep and the Rangers proved unable to clear. Brock Boeser fired it around the boards to Elias Pettersson behind the net. Pettersson found the former Ranger out in front, and Miller haunting his former club continues as the Rangers lead is wiped out with one failed defensive clearance from Vancouver's big line.
Vancouver would get its first lead on the night as Quinn Hughes sent a puck up the boards to Sam Lafferty. Lafferty would get it up to Nils Aman, and Aman sent it across to Nils Hoglander out in front, before Hoglander gets it past Igor on the glove side, and the Rangers were behind in the first period. A difficult result after a strong start to the game.
Before the first intermission the Canucks would make it a 3-1 lead. Hughes fired it up the ice to Pettersson at the Rangers blueline, before pasing the puck behind the defensive pairing for Brock Boeser to skate onto. Boeser would solve the Rangers Russian shot stopper once again, and with 16 seconds remaining in the period, the Blueshirts were on the wrong end of a 3-1 scoreline at the Garden.
Once again in the second, the Rangers would get the first goal. Alexis Lafreniere took the puck away from the Canucks and got the puck to Panarin as he drove up the ice. The breadman fired the puck, and it beat Demko. Trocheck was crashing the net and knocked the goal off its mount for good measure, but the Rangers suddenly had some life in this one.
Vancouver would make it a multiple goal lead once again as he went in behind the Ranger defense. He danced around a sliding K'Andre Miller before dangling around Shesterkin, and the Blueshirts were 4-2 down. It was a struggle for the Rangers to get the two they had, to have given up four at this point was painful, and a very pretty goal like is one that will damage the confidence of a team.
If you want to talk about a pretty goal, the Vancouver Canucks fifth one was even better. Nick Bonino couldn't get a puck in deep, so the Canucks came the other way. Pius Suter held the puck up at the dot before playing a pass to Hoglander. He pulled off the ambitious between-the-legs deke before getting it past Shesterkin for a 5-2 lead at the second intermission. Some very pretty goals for the Canucks tonight.
For the third straight period, the Rangers would grab the first goal of the period. Lafreniere led the break out from behind Shesterkinand drove up the ice before playing a gentle pass over to Trocheck. With Demko dropping into the butterfly to stop the shot, Trocheck fired it into the top corner for his second of the night, and it was now a 5-3 game. We had a contest in this once.
Elias Petterson would hit the empty net as the Canucks cleared the offensive zone pressure to kill the game off. The dagger came late, but it is yet another dagger for the Rangers as their struggles recently continue to haunt the team. Denied the chance of moving into first place in the NHL standings, the Rangers need to regather themselves and move on to St Louis.