Latest posts by Phil Kocher (see all)
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“I think we got outworked tonight. They had better execution than we did. They stuck to their gameplan, we kind of got off track on ours and the score showed that.”
That’s what Rick Nash told MSG’s John Gianonne in the post-game interview following tonight’s 5-2 loss, the Rangers fourth game in six nights, to the Metropolitan division rival Columbus Blue Jackets.
While the game wasn’t yet lost, surely the game’s opening tally, scored by Jackets forward Alexander Wennberg just 62 seconds into the contest was a sign of things to come for the Rangers tonight. Despite Rick Nash finding the game-tying answer just a few minutes later off a beautiful feed from Jimmy Vesey, the Rangers just never seemed to get their game going quickly enough to take a lead.
With 13:13 to go in the first period, Cam Atkinson scored his career high 28th goal to give the Jackets a 2-1 lead that the Rangers would never threaten before the final buzzer.
The Rangers would leave the first period down 2-1 and keep the game close through most of the second, but Wennberg would find his second of the night to put the Jackets up 3-1 less than a minute after Atkinson nearly scored his second on a breakaway attempt.
The Blueshirts made much effort to draw within one but just couldn’t solve Bobrovsky as the period drew to a close.
Unfortunately, the third period would only stretch Columbus’ lead as Atkinson would make up for his failed breakaway attempt, burying a pass from ex-Ranger Brandon Dubinsky to get his second of the night. Nick Holden, who had an especially poor night, gave the puck away to Dubinsky in front of the benches and the Rangers couldn’t get back in time to stop the Jackets attack.
To the Rangers credit, they never quit on the game and they forced Bobrovsky to stand tall through the remaining minutes of the period, including forcing him to make a desperation save on Chris Kreider with exactly 3:00 to go in the game. It just wouldn’t be enough, however.
The icing on the cake came in the game’s final minute as Josh Anderson gave the Jackets a commanding 5-1 lead. Though Jesper Fast would actually score one more goal with just three-tenths of a second remaining on the clock, the Rangers ultimately fell in the second game of their back-to-back games this weekend by a final score of 5-2.
Their next game is Tuesday night against the Washington Capitals—just one day before the NHL’s trade deadline of 3 pm EST this coming Wednesday.
Assorted musings: Nick Holden is just one goal shy of tying his career high of ten goals in a season; He and defense partner Marc Staal had an especially miserable game, however, as both men were on the ice for four of the five goals scored against the Rangers; Michael Grabner, despite not scoring tonight, has five goals against the Blue Jackets this season; With his next win, Henrik Lundqvist will officially tie for tenth all-time in goalie wins with Grant Fuhr; Fatigue probably played a sizable factor this evening as the Rangers have played in three consecutive overtime matches prior to the drop of the puck against the Blue Jackets.