Rangers Drop Game 3 at MSG; Still Lead Series
Thursday’s game three was a tough loss for the Rangers both on the ice and off. Not only did they drop a crucial game three at home but they also found themselves down a forward in Dan Carcillo early, and learned the news of Derek Stepan breaking his jaw the next day.
The Rangers got off to a good enough start in the first period of game one but things really got stirred up when Montreal forward (and former Ranger) Brandon Prust illegally hit Rangers center Derek Stepan and left Stepan motionless on the ice for a few moments. Stepan would eventually get up and skate off but tempers got flared and moments later the Rangers would lose someone for the game. Dan Carcillo, who was in the middle of a heated moment with Canadiens players was dragged off toward the penalty box by a ref and Carcillo angrily trying to get back over toward the scrum elbowed the linesman and we all know that’s a instant game ender and off he went. The Rangers would go on to score the first goal of the period when Carl Hagelin knocked the puck out of the air and into the back of the net but the Rangers inability to score a second soon hurt them.
In the second period the Canadiens would get the tying goal when an unmarked Andrei Markov skated down the right wing and shot one past Henrik Lundqvist to make it 1-1. Each team would have one power play each but otherwise it was a pretty tame period compared to the first.
Things got interesting again in the third as each team exchanged chance after chance putting up 9 shots a piece. Montreal eventually broke the tie with just over three minutes to go when a puck lost in a scrum found its way into the back of the net and looked for all the world as if it would be the winning goal. The Rangers pulled Henrik Lundqvist and put an onslaught of shots on the Canadiens net and finally with 29 seconds left the Rangers tied the game when Chris Kreider bounced it off a Canadiens stick in front of the net.
However, early in overtime the Canadiens would find a way to squeak a puck past Henrik Lundqvist and get their first win of the series. It is now 2-1 Rangers heading into game four. The real question for the Rangers will be the loss of skaters however with Derrick Brassard still injured from game one, Daniel Carcillo sure to see a lengthy suspension for his hit on the ref, and Derek Stepan (their first line center) out indefinitely with a broken jaw. On the other side the Canadiens should be without Brandon Prust for some time but that fourth line grinder certainly doesn’t equate to a first line center.
The Rangers will look to right the ship on Sunday night however when they get back on the ice at Madison Square Garden at 8 PM EST on NBCSN. The Rangers still sit in a wonderful position up two games to one and if they can win game three at home will go up three games to one in the series which is certainly favorable. The Rangers have to find a way to get more shots on net as they sent way too many high over Dustin Tokarski, use their speed to get in behind the Canadiens defense, and just keep scoring goals.