|NYR||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||1|
|STL||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||2|
• PHOTO GALLERY
By Jim Cerny, newyorkrangers.com
Monday night in St. Louis, the Rangers did many things better than they had 24 hours earlier in a disappointing home-ice loss, but the end result was still the same, as they dropped a 2-1 decision to the Blues at the Scottrade Center.
The Blues snapped a 1-1 tie late in the third period when B.J. Crombeen scored on a rebound at 14:46. Defenseman Barret Jackman powered a left wing slap shot on goal that Henrik Lundqvist denied with his left pad, but Crombeen beat Marc Staal to the puck and flipped it over a fallen Lundqvist for his 10th goal of the season.
Despite a vast disparity in the shots on goal, the Rangers had a chance to pick up at least a point from this match because of Lundqvist, who made a series of huge saves in the final period. Lundqvist stopped 31 of 33 shots in total, one night after he was pulled from the nets after allowing four goals on 14 shots in a 5-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Rangers were outshot 27-13 over the final two periods, including a 14-4 disparity in the third period. Lundqvist made big-time saves on Jackman, Patrik Berglund, and Keith Tkachuk in the final stanza. He also robbed Brad Boyes with 5:56 remaining -- less than a minute before Crombeen scored the eventual game-winner.
The Rangers are now 1-6-2 in their last nine contests, and they remain tied for fifth place in the Eastern Conference with 66 points.
Blues goalie Chris Mason made 19 saves, one game after earning a 1-0 shutout over the Chicago Blackhawks. His biggest save in the third period came at the nine-minute mark when he just barely got a glove on Chris Drury’s powerful rising left-wing slap shot.
Trailing 1-0 late in the second period, the Rangers finally broke through to tie the game, and it was their hottest offensive player of late, rookie Lauri Korpikoski, who delivered the clutch goal.
Korpikoski received a pass on his backhand from Scott Gomez at the bottom of the left-wing circle, and spun around to snap a forehand shot past Mason at 16:47 of the middle stanza to pull the Rangers even 1-1. The goal was Korpikoski’s sixth of the season, third in four games, and fourth in his last 10 matches.
It was a crucial goal, as well, because the Rangers had played a diligent first two periods, but were on the verge of heading into the final 20 minutes of regulation trying to erase a one-goal deficit on the road.
Instead, thanks to Korpikoski, the Rangers were exactly where they deserved to be in an extremely physical, tight-checking, and evenly-played contest to that point.
The Blues scored first at 10:27 of the second period when Andy McDonald cleanly won an offensive zone faceoff back to Carlo Colaiacovo, and the St. Louis defenseman sailed a left-point shot over Lundqvist’s glove for his third goal of the season.
The goal by Colaiacovo was especially frustrating for Rangers head coach Tom Renney and his team, because the faceoff took place in the Rangers’ end after an icing call against the Blueshirts. Sensing his players on the ice were exhausted, and not being able to make a line change because of the icing, Renney used his timeout to give his five players a chance to catch their breath.
Renney made a heads-up decision, but it didn’t pay off because of McDonald’s clutch, and clean, faceoff win.
Other than the two goals scored, there were not a lot of scoring chances for either club over the first two periods of play. Both teams neutralized the opposition with extremely tight defensive play. The Rangers and Blues each caused the other to turn the puck over on numerous occasions, in particular through the neutral zone.
The Rangers did have a few quality scoring chances, though. Brandon Dubinsky played a carom off the boards nine minutes into the contest and hammered a ten-foot shot on net that required a sharp save by Mason. Drury -- playing the left point on the power play with defenseman Paul Mara sidelined due to a shoulder injury -- fired a quick one-timer from the circle that seemed on its way past Mason until the goaltender’s stick deflected it up into the protective netting five minutes into the second.
Three minutes later, Ryan Callahan had his snap shot from the doorstep -- off a gorgeous Gomez feed -- denied by an outstanding pad save by Mason.
The fourth line of Blair Betts, Fredrik Sjostrom, and Colton Orr was ferocious on the forecheck for the Rangers. Orr also recorded a TKO over St. Louis’ Tyson Strachan in their fight at the 7:18 mark of the middle period.
Defensemen Wade Redden, Michal Rozsival, Dan Girardi, and Staal all stood out with their stout defensive play in front of Lundqvist. Blocking shots and passes, consistently angling shooters to the outside, and playing very physical were the calling cards of this group, with Erik Reitz and Dmitri Kalinin -- who returned after missing six straight games with a sore back -- in the mix, as well.
Unfortunately for the Rangers, their collective effort was very good, but once again their lack of scoring production proved costly.
Now the Rangers will look ahead to Wednesday night when they host the Islanders at Madison Square Garden. Although the Isles are out of the playoff mix, the Rangers are well aware that their longtime local rivals would love nothing more than extending the Blueshirts’ recent struggles.
|Carlo Colaiacovo (3) ASST: Andy McDonald (15)|
1 - 0 STL
|Lauri Korpikoski (6) ASST: Ryan Callahan (9), Scott Gomez (29)|
1 - 1 Tie
|B.J. Crombeen (10) ASST: Barret Jackman (13), Jay McClement (11)|
2 - 1 STL
|B.J. Crombeen Interference against Wade Redden|
|Mike Weaver Tripping against Chris Drury|
|Colton Orr Fighting against Tyson Strachan|
|Tyson Strachan Fighting against Colton Orr|
|Cam Janssen Fighting against Aaron Voros|
|Aaron Voros Fighting against Cam Janssen|
|Markus Naslund Holding against B.J. Crombeen|
|Erik Reitz Hooking against Jeff Woywitka|
|Carlo Colaiacovo Holding against Fredrik Sjostrom|
|Markus Naslund Tripping against Tyson Strachan|
|SA: 33||TOI: 58:56|
|Saves: 31||EV: 25 - 27|
|PIM: 0||PP: 6 - 6|
|SV%: .939||SH: 0 - 0|
|SA: 20||TOI: 60:00|
|Saves: 19||EV: 14 - 15|
|PIM: 0||PP: 4 - 4|
|SV%: .950||SH: 1 - 1|