Game 9: Rangers Cough Up Three Goal Lead, Fall to Senators in Shootout

Every game you think this team has hit rock-bottom, but then they surprise you and cough up another stinker. Today, the Rangers blew a 4-1 lead with about 10 minutes left, and fell to the Ottawa Senators, 5-4, in a shootout.

The Senators opened the scoring with about seven minutes left in the first period, when Chris Neil deflected a shot from the point that beat Henrik Lundqvist just inside the near post.

In the second, Zenon Konopka boarded Artem Anisimov, leading to a five-minute major power play for the Rangers. Midway through the power play, Ryan Callahan went top shelf on Craig Anderson to knot the game at 1. A minute later, Brad Richards buried a pass from Marian Gaborik on a low 2-on-1 break to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead.

The Rangers appeared to blow the game open in the third on goals by Gaborik and Richards to give the Rangers a 4-1 lead with about 10 minutes left. Then the wheels came off. The Senators scored three goals in eight minutes, including a power play goal by Jason Spezza after Wojtek Wolski elbowed Daniel Alfredsson in the head.

After a scoreless overtime, Erik Christensen, Richards and Wolski failed to beat Anderson and Milan Michalek beat Lundqvist for the 5-4 victory.

Reaction after the break

  • Awful loss, and one that could be tough to bounce back from. When you have a 4-1 lead with 10 minutes remaining in the third, you expect to win games. This team just doesn’t have it, and need to find it very quickly because teams around them are piling up points. Still early, but eventually, it won’t be.
  • It was positive to see Gaborik and Richards click, with Richards scoring two goals and Gaborik adding two assists. Wolski also had a strong game offensively.
  • The power play has gotten better, but more because it couldn’t get any worse. They came into the game ranked 29 out of 30 teams. The two power play goals surely bumped up the percentage a bit, but other than the one-minute explosion, they still looked mediocre at best.
  • Aside from the final 10 minutes, this was one of the Rangers’ more complete games thus far. That’s where the positive ends.
  • Can John Tortorella remind everyone why Sean Avery was demoted and Christensen was given a spot? He was given another chance to play on a top-line and did absolutely nothing. Where he is supposed to shine in the shootout, he is 0-for-2.
  • Bring up Carl Hagelin or Mats Zuccarello and get Kris Newbury out of here. He hasn’t done anything wrong, there is just no need for him to take a roster spot for 4 minutes and no offense, especially with other grinders on this team.
  • Brandon Dubinsky, although he skated well, is still goal-less. Derek Stepan is still on the goose egg as well. For this team to get going, they need to step up. Maybe Dubinsky is feeling the effects of the big contract and Stepan is falling into the dreaded sophomore slump.
  • Lundqvist didn’t play poorly, but he didn’t play great either. It could be that he sets the bar so high that when he doesn’t stand on his head, we think he had a poor game. Two of the goals were deflections and a third he didn’t see, so hard to blame him, I guess.
  • The team needs a shot in the arm. What that shot is is anyone’s guess.
Goals
Rangers: Callahan (3), Richards (2,3), Gaborik (5)
Senators: Neil (2), Spezza (6, 7), Michalek (7)
Goalies:
Rangers: Lundqvist (L) 36 saves
Senators: Anderson (W) 24 saves
Next Game: Monday vs. San Jose Sharks (7 pm)
Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia
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