Momentum is the game you bring today, not the latest miracle you pulled off yesterday.
And so that’s the lesson for the Rangers, who produced a low-energy, kind of sloppy effort at the Garden on Sunday, losing 2-1 to No. 27 Montreal after a pair of rousing comeback wins earlier on Broadway. decent against Minnesota and Dallas at home.
“We didn’t play to our level tonight. We played a bad game,” said Artemi Panarin, who scored the Blues’ only goal on a delayed penalty to tie the game 1-1 at 16:03 of the second period. “We have to recover mentally and be ready for it [Monday] in Columbus.”
The Blueshirts were out of sync. They spent too much time on the outside, largely unable to break through a fairly dogged performance from the other end. Sam Montembo was completely spotless in net for Montreal, but rarely had to deal with second chances, facing a misleading total of 40 shots, 7 of which went off Panarin’s stick.
“We didn’t get into the areas where you score,” said Filip Chytil, who was as ordinary as most of his teammates in a blah contest. “There are not many chances. There are too many from outside.”
On the one hand, there were too many outsiders, and on the other hand, too many glorious opportunities. Igor Shesterkin was brilliant in this game and stood shoulder to shoulder with his teammates, making half a dozen impressive saves that kept the Blues in the game.
“Igor was fantastic, but we have to help him,” Chitil said. “We can’t leave him with those two-on-ones.”
The Canadiens scored their first goal when Kirby Dutch completed a three-on-two power play inside the right hash mark at 4:54 of the second period after Jacob Truba was denied on a two-on-one play. They won at 8:56 of the third period when the exceptional Cole Coffield got his 26th of the year in front, converting Nick Suzuki’s center feed while both Truba and teammate K’Andre Miller chased the back of the net and Jimmy Vesey couldn’t. : don’t get there in time.
That was on top of countless other mistakes the Blueshirts routinely committed despite holding a 67-45 advantage in five-on-five attempts, according to Natural Stat Trick.
“We were kind of flat, a little sleepy,” said head coach Gerard Gallant, who refused to use the flu that had swept through the team as an excuse for the disappointing performance. “The energy level didn’t look great, but I’m not going to yell and scream at them.”
Alexis Lafreniere was around the net and had one Grade A chance in the first period of her second match with Mika Zibanejad and Kaapo Kakko in Chris Kreider’s absence. But number 13 was denied by Montembo. the official table does not mark the winger for the kick.
The rest of his game featured false starts and too many turnovers in his own end, though Gallant put him on the ice when the coach pulled Shesterkin for the extra forward with 1:56 left.
The coach made several adjustments, in particular, moving Vitaly Kravtsov from the Panarin-Troszek unit to the bench for the last 9:00, while Vesey moved up.
It was a waning comeback game for Kravtsov, who wasn’t particularly effective at the line in his seventh straight match and spent most of this match on the perimeter.
Until the Rangers come to the conclusion that Lafreniere can’t play right wing, it’s possible the No. 13 could fill Kravtsov’s spot with Trochek and Panarin when Kreider is allowed to return. The Panarin-Trocheck-Lafreniere unit was untouchable through 12 games through the first month of the season, compiling a 59.06 Corsi rating, 55.06 shot share and 50.48 xGF while allowing seven goals and 10 against.
The power play failed on both of its chances, stretching the oh-fer to 11 over the past four games, getting three shots in this game with the man-advantage. Opposing penalty kill units continue to pressure the formation and lean towards clearing Zibanejad’s one-timer from the left circle. The underperforming power play ranks in the middle of the league at 16th at 22.1 percent. That’s not even remotely enough for this group. If performance does not improve, personnel changes should be considered and initiated.
Rangers are 13-3-2 in their last 18. They have a seven-point playoff cushion. Sunday, they ran out of miracles and comebacks. They didn’t earn on Sunday either.