Powerless Rangers drop third straight

Power play? More like powerless play.

That was the consensus after the Rangers lost their third in a row, 3-1 to the Avalanche last night at the Garden. The match was a mostly passionless affair as 17,771 souls were more focused on the Cliff-hanger 20 minutes northeast of The Garden in the Bronx.

With the win, Colorado completed a five games-in-seven-days road trip against Philadelphia, Detroit, the Islanders and the Rangers with a 3-2-0 record. The Rangers are 1-2-1 after four games.

“We were playing some high quality teams,” Avs coach Joe Sacco said. “We played very good hockey on this trip. It’s a big win tonight. We knew going into this trip that it wasn’t going to be easy but the guys really battled tonight. I was proud of every player.”

Whereas Sacco felt pride, the Rangers admitted to frustration. The Rangers were 0-for-5 with the man advantage—including four in a row spanning the second and third periods—and  were not able to take advantage. They were also unable to penetrate Craig Anderson during a second period in which the Blueshirts dominated a clearly tired Avalanche squad. The Rangers are now 4-for-22 on the power play this season.

“We’re getting chances. We’re working,” said Brandon Prust while noting the Rangers were “giving up too many chances against.

“We have to start playing better.  I don’t know if we took our foot off the gas in the third but we didn’t create too many chances in the third,” he added before honestly appraising his team’s offensive woes. “We’re trying to be fancy. We need to get pucks deep and crash and bang. We have to start doing that.”

The 65th meeting between the two franchises was tied 1-1 after the first period. Stewart redirected a John-Michael Liles shot from the right faceoff circle past Lundqvist for a power play goal at 12:41. Stewart had blocked out Marc Staal and was standing in front of the net. Alex Frolov evened the match with his first of the season and his first as a Ranger with 1:51 left in the period. Frolov finished a two-on-one following a missed shot by Matt Duchene with a cross-crease pass to Staal that deflected off of Kyle Quincey and skittered under Anderson.

The game stayed tied for 34:31 spanning the three periods until Stewart shoved a puck under Lundqvist (31 saves). Daniel Winnik added an insurance marker 26 seconds after Stewart’s second goal. 

“We played better tonight than we did (Saturday on Long Island),” praised Anderson, who made 31 saves. “Tonight we put on our hats and actually thought about the game.

“We won tonight because we played pretty solid defensively. We generated some chances and goals on the power play, and that was a big factor for us. Special teams are going to be the difference.”

It is a truism that the Rangers know only all too well.


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