Another Slow Start for the Blueshirts

The Rangers got out to another one of their characteristically infuriating sloppy starts Thursday night at the Garden against the Detroit Red Wings. The first five minutes of the game looked like the Red Wings were playing NHL 22 on “Rookie” mode while the Rangers were stuck on the “Superstar” setting. It’s forgivable in any profession to be a little rusty after 14 days off, but this is becoming a trend to keep an eye on because it predates the All-Star break.

Troy Stecher fired a wrister towards the net over two minutes into the game that deflected Zac Jones and past Igor Shesterkin for a 1-0 Red Wings lead. The Rangers were able to push back a little bit after the horrendous first five minutes. Still, they could not capitalize on any of their opportunities as Thomas Greiss shut the door on a number of premium chances.

The second period began with Shesterkin making a breakaway save against rookie phenom Lucas Raymond. After the early defensive lapse, the Rangers generated more scoring opportunities but still couldn’t slip one past Greiss. Coming into the game, the former Islander was 5-0-1 in his career against the Rangers. Nothing changed Thursday night as he continually bailed out his defense from poor defensive zone coverage and several odd-man rushes. Greiss looked unbeatable until K’Andre Miller was able to freeze the 36-year-old for a second as he faked a move towards the net, only to then swiftly circle the cage and slip a wrap-around in to tie the game at 1. The Wings quickly answered back within the next two minutes. A shot from the point bounced off the end boards directly to Dylan Larkin, who beat Shesterkin glove side high for the 2-1 lead. The Blueshirts generated 18 shots in the second, and the majority of them were solid scoring chances. However, the Red Wings were able to produce a good number of opportunities for themselves with 12 shots on goal.

New York finally tied it up with a Mika Zibanejad powerplay goal with a little over 8 minutes left in the third. Igor Shesterkin started the play by coming out of his net and firing a pass to a streaking Zibanejad at the Red Wings blue line. Zibanejad entered the zone, and four quick passes later, the Rangers tied it up with a one-timer from the left face-off dot.

The Rangers controlled the puck earlier in the overtime period, but Griess continued his stellar play. With about two minutes remaining in the extra period, the wheels fell off the wagon, and the Rangers began to give up several prime scoring chances. Igor made at least three incredible saves during the final flurry of shots, but perhaps the most impressive was a glove save that he immediately controlled to then shoot a pass down the length of the ice, which almost led to an Artemi Panarin breakaway chance, but the backchecking defender was able to break it up.

Unlike Tuesday night, the Rangers would lose this shootout. Not because Igor didn’t give them a chance, but because they couldn’t get one past Griess when it mattered most. Thomas Griess deserved the first star of the game and Igor the third star. The Rangers generated plenty of offense with 39 shots on goal but failed to cash in on 37 of them. The Blueshirts will try and bounce back Sunday night in Ottawa.

Guest Colin Stephenson : ECF Preview Ranting Rangers: A New York Rangers Podcast

In this playoff episode we have on NYR beat writer Colin Stephenson to preview the NYR vs FLA Eastern Conference Finals matchup.For more from us, visit Inside The RinkHow to support us and our sponsors:Columbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITRThanks for listening! Please rate and review our show on your favorite listening platform. Check out our partner's website at www.insidetherink.com for all your latest hockey news.
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Luca Perito

Born and raised in New York. I've lived in Arizona, Maryland, Delaware, and California. Love all sports. Twitter @elbigcalzonelp -- Instagram @thebigcalzone

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