The Rangers didn’t get blown out in St Louis. That’s a positive step.
5:38 into the first, T.J. Oshe and Alexander Steen burst into the Rangers zone 2 on 4. The two criss-crossed in the high slot with Oshe taking a drop pass from Steen and firing a low slapper on net. Martin Biron kicked away the the shot directly to Steen on the doorstep and Marc Staal watched as Steen buried a shot by Biron for the 1-0 lead.
Though outplayed for most of the frame, the Rangers kept it close and on a 5-on-3 with five seconds left evened the game. The Blueshirts got their second PP goal with the two man advantage of the season. Derek Stepan sent a shot/pass to a crowded goal crease and Derick Brasard was able to squirt the puck to the crease to Ryan callahan and the Rangers captain tucked home the tying goal and the Rangers headed to the second period all even.
The second period was all Martin Biron.
Biron, in the pipes to give his starting netminder Henrik Lundqvist a much need mental health day, was awful in the middle period.
Blues captain David Backes beat Biron at 5:11 on a wrister from just inside the circles that Biron should have had.
Then at 12:44 Biron continued his stellar play by pretending to be a large piece of Swiss cheese on a slap shot by Derick Roy from the high slot to give the Blues a 3-1 lead.
True NHL superstar Brad Richards drew the NYR to within one goal, slamming home the rebound of a pass from Brassard backhander past Halak to cut the lead 3-2. B-Rich got his 4th of the season (which is like 3 more than all of last season, no?) and continued carrying the Blueshirts on his back as he has early this season.
But the good vibes were short-lived and the Blues upped their lead as the Rangers defense took another vacation. Oshe skated in on Dan Girardi and Marc Staal and Jasper Fast got confused as to who would cover David Backes, so no one did. The hulking Blues captain, alone in the crease, was able to redirect Oshe’s shot by Biron (no surprise) and put the Blues up 4-2. Fast, on the team somehow over Miller, Kreider, and Hrivik has looked terrible so far this season. The young Swede seems completely lost with his defensive zone coverage and is -3 with only 2 crummy shots on goal this season. Although, those stats look somewhat decent compared to Taylor Pyatt’s zero goals, zero points, -6 stat line. Why Pyatt is on the team is still taking a roster spot over any of the aforementioned kids, or a blind German shepherd for that matter is a delicious mystery.
That vitriol aside, the Rangers played much better in the second, outshooting the Blues 13-5, the only minor issue with those numbers is that Biron only stopped two of those shots. It got so bad that Lundqvist had to end his mental health day early and play the third period.
And in the Rangers continued to battle and scored again to cut the lead to 4-3 on the PP. Callahan crashed the net and chipped the rebound of a B-Rich shot way up in the air that somehow fluttered into the net. The Rangers had some life and some energy in their game and were actually playing meaningful minutes in a third period for the second time this season when yet another undisciplined Derek Dorsett penalty, his third of the match, sent the Blues to the power play.
St Louis struck quickly on the PP after Brian Boyle got smoked clean on a defensive zone draw by Derek Roy. Kevin Shattenkirk wheeled the puck to Vladimir Taresanko and the young Russian snapped one through a mass of humanity ion front of Hank for the 5-3 goal that iced the game.
The Rangers actually played better in St. Loo and were in the game in the third. The result may have been different if they had gotten just a smidge of capable goaltending in the second period, arguably their best of the season so far.
The Blueshirts head to the Nation’s capital to take on Alexander Ovechkin and friends on Wednesday.
Let’s go Rangers.