NEW YORK, NY – The NY Rangers went into Tuesday night’s game against the Florida Panthers looking for their fifth straight win and their ninth straight win at home. But when it was all said and done, the “Fire AV” squad were out in full force. It was a game that displayed the best and worst of Viggy’s team.
The Blueshirts got out to an inauspicious start and were behind before a lot of people had gotten to their seats. The Panthers played the night before but it was the Rangers who came out looking tired. By the end of the first period the Rangers were in a 3-0 hole and Henrik Lundqvist found himself at the end of the bench. There were some personnel issues with captain Ryan McDonagh and Mika Zibanejad missing through injury but the rest of the team came out flat and found themselves behind by a field goal before the opening period was through. The Broadway Blues have made a habit of starting slowly and it has cost them a lot of points.
The second period was a different story, as they came out flying. The Kreider-Desharnais-Buchnevich line worked over the Panthers and scored two goals, after JT Miller opened the Rangers account four minutes into the period. By the end of the period, they were down 4-3 and firing on all cylinders. The game should have been tied but a NY goal was chalked off due to a highly questionable goaltender interference call. But the Rangers were in the ascendancy heading into the third.
The second period performance was indicative of this year’s Rangers team. They’re never out of any game, no matter what the score is. They seem to be able to come up with the goals they need to get back into any contest. They should have gone on to win this contest. The Panthers were on the tail end of back-to-back games and the Rangers were flying high after the second period. Things seemed to be following the script when Chris Kreider scored the tying goal with six minutes left in the third period. It should have been enough to at least secure the Rangers a point.
It wasn’t to be. Alain Vigneault had Brendan Smith and Nick Holden (Both -2 for the game) on the blue line with less than two minutes left. It was a disastrous decision as the two put on a Keystone Cops routine to allow the Panthers to score the winning goal. It was an ugly end to a contest that had everything fans love and hate about this Rangers team.
In the end they were undone by a poor late-game personnel decision that epitomizes Alain Vigneault’s tenure in New York. Now the Rangers will have to start a new streak when they take on the Carolina Hurricanes at the Garden tonight. Mika Zibanejad will probably miss tonight’s game, but Ryan McDonagh might be back in the lineup. The Blueshirts need to get off to a good start. They still haven’t put together many full 60-minute performances. They will need to be more consistent in their starts to contend this season. We’ll see if they can bounce back tonight.
That’s it for me today. Come back tomorrow for Junoir Blaber and enjoy your weekend. And please check us out on Twitter: @Different_Matt, @MeetTheMatts & @Matt_McCarthy00 & Instagram @MeetTheMatts and like our Facebook page, Meet The Matts.