|Rangers forward Marian Gaborik goes into the corner of the Anaheim zone against the Ducks' Todd Marchant. Gaborik scored the Rangers' second goal on a power play at 5:31 of the third period.
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By Jim Cerny, newyorkrangers.com
After Wednesday’s morning pregame skate, Henrik Lundqvist
was discussing how lately the Rangers have been benefitting from fortunate bounces and had not been victimized by the deflections and fluky goals against that had plagued them for several weeks on an almost nightly basis.
Perhaps Lundqvist tempted fate by speaking about that subject, because in the Rangers’ 5-2 loss to the Ducks at the Honda Center on Wednesday evening Anaheim scored three first-period goals, each one deflected off a Rangers’ player and past Lundqvist.
Lubomir Visnovsky and Corey Perry paced the Ducks with two goals and one assist apiece, while teammate Bobby Ryan had a goal and three assists, to end the Rangers’ bid for a three-game winning streak.
“Obviously they got a couple of lucky goals, but that’s no excuse for how we played,” said Lundqvist, who finished with 28 saves. “We have to be better. I’m just really frustrated. But it’s over, and now we just have to move on.”
The Rangers remain in seventh place in the Eastern Conference standings with 74 points, two ahead of both Buffalo and Carolina. Their next chance to add to their point total comes Saturday night when they face the Sharks in San Jose.
“We (stunk),” said Rangers head coach John Tortorella. “It’s a tough way to play at this time of the year. We had some passengers. We had some guys that were testing the water. So we get to sit on it for a couple of days until we have another one, and get back to the way we are supposed to play.”
|Rangers rookie defenseman Michael Sauer keeps an eye on Anaheim Ducks forward Jarkko Ruutu during Wednesday night's game at Honda Center. |
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Despite scoring the first goal of the game, the Rangers trailed 3-1 after 20 minutes of play as the Ducks scored three times on shots that deflected past Lundqvist.Brandon Dubinsky
provided the visitors with an early 1-0 advantage by scoring his 20th goal of the season off a pretty passing sequence with linemates Artem Anisimov
and Ryan Callahan
. Dubinsky found himself wide open on right wing after Anisimov crossed over the Ducks’ blueline on the left wing and slid a pass into the middle to Callahan, who in turn twisted a backhand pass to the free Dubinsky to his right.
Dubinsky calmly beat Ducks goalie Dan Ellis to the glove side at 3:30 of the opening period for his first goal in 12 games. The goal also marked the second consecutive season that Dubinsky has reached the 20-goal plateau, and tied his career-high set last season.
However, the good feeling soon left the Rangers as Perry and Visnovsky scored less than two minutes apart shortly after Dubinsky’s goal. Perry netted his 32nd goal when he whipped the puck into the crease, off of the skate of Rangers’ defenseman Dan Girardi
, and over the goal line at 7:34. Then at 9:19, Visnovsky blasted a slap shot that glanced off Rangers defenseman Marc Staal
and past a screened Lundqvist to give the Ducks a 2-1 lead.
“It’s bad bounces, but I think your effort and the way you work creates bounces and we didn’t work hard enough to get bounces going our way tonight,” said Callahan. “Unfortunately they did get some bounces and we found ourselves down early. At the same time we need to be stronger, especially at this time of the year with how much these games mean.”
Misfortune continued to plague the Rangers when, with 40.5 seconds remaining in the first period, Visnovsky’s slap shot hit the stick of Anisimov, making the puck bounce straight down on the ice and ricochet back up and over Lundqvist’s shoulder like a basketball.
Stunned by a third consecutive goal that had been deflected past him by one of his teammates, Lundqvist slammed his stick on the ice in disgust. To his credit, Lundqvist hung in there and came back to play a very strong second period, stopping all 13 shots he faced including four during one Ducks power play, to keep his team in the game.
“They’re really skilled,” Lundqvist said of the Ducks and their top players. “We can’t give them the goals they got and we can’t give them the puck the way we did all night. There were bad bounces and deflections, but I have to be better, and we have to be better.”
There was nothing Lundqvist could do 2:19 into the third period to stop the Ducks from increasing their lead to 4-1 when Ryan scored off a 2-on-1 rush with Perry. The backbreaking goal came mere seconds after Ellis made a sensational stop, diving across his crease to make a stick save on Dubinsky’s rebound shot from the left circle.
“That definitely hurt us a lot,” said Callahan. “We came out in the third and I thought we were able to sustain a little pressure, but then (Ellis) comes up with a huge save on Dubi and then they turn around and instead of a one-goal game it’s a three-goal game.”
The Rangers did answer back at 5:31 as Marian Gaborik
scored a power-play goal, assisted by Vinny Prospal, who now has nine points (2-7-9) in his last eight games, and Derek Stepan
. The goal was Gaborik’s 18th of the season.
Perry closed out the scoring with his second goal of the night with 5:24 left to play.
“It doesn’t matter if they get goals that go in off of 10 sticks, the effort has to be there on our part, and there is no excuse for our (lack of) effort tonight,” said Girardi. “We’ll have to get back to practice (on Thursday) and get our minds back on straight here.”