Game 17: Rangers’ Streak Ends With Ugly Loss Against Habs

The Rangers’ seven-game win streak came to a screeching halt last night in Montreal, when the Rangers fell to the Montreal Canadiens 4-0 at the Bell Center. It was the Rangers’ sixth consecutive loss in Montreal, a place that has become a difficult place to play for the Blueshirts.

From start to finish, the Rangers just did not show up to play. About the only positive to come from the game was that Scott Gomez didn’t score his first goal of the season, though he did have a strong game finishing with two assists.

“Their speed. We had problems,” said head coach John Tortorella. “We were chasing the game the whole night. We didn’t do much with battles. We didn’t do much with races to the puck, right on through the lineup.”

That’s for sure. The Rangers couldn’t generate anything in terms of offense last night, and their power play continued to be dreadful. The Blueshirts couldn’t break through the blue line, and when they could, there wasn’t much room to move the puck. They went 0-for-3, and are 4-for-35 over the last eight games.

Martin Biron made the start, and while he didn’t play awful, he didn’t play great either, especially on Brian Gionta‘s second period goal to make it 2-0. Gionta was about 10 feet away from the goal-line coming down the near-side boards. His low wrist-shot was just inside the far post, a puck Biron should have stopped.

“He has nothing to do with it, we just didn’t play well tonight,” Tortorella said.

“I was just over thinking it,” Biron said. “The short side and bad angle, he’s all by himself, I should just face up to him and make that save.”

The line of Marian Gaborik, Derek Stepan and Artem Anisimov seems to have faded a bit, now zero points over the last three games. As several writers have said, I believe it is time to get Gaborik and Brad Richards back together on the top line. I’d even shift Stepan to the wing to play along with the both of them.

Sean Avery’s modest two game goal streak was snapped as well.

The Rangers have a difficult string of games coming up, starting Wednesday night against the Florida Panthers, followed by back-to-backs Friday and Saturday against the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers, respectively. A week from Tuesday, the Rangers will host the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Follow Matt on Twitter @MattCalamia

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