If moral victories counted, then everyone in the NHL would be undefeated. Unfortunately for the New York Rangers, they found this lesson out the hard way in their first road game of the 2016-17 campaign.
Despite holding the St. Louis Blues to no shots in the 3rd period, accumulating 15 of their own, the Rangers would be unable to overcome a trio of Blues scores in the first two frames, stonewalled by St. Louis newcomer Carter Hutton in a 3-2 defeat at Scottrade Center.
Overall, the Rangers outshot the Blues 35-18 in the game despite going the final 11:40 of the first period without putting one on net, a period in which they were out shot 11-8. St. Louis did a majority of their damage in the opening stanza, as Valdimir Tarasenko put in his 3rd goal of the young season past Henrik Lundqvist on St. Louis’s first shot of the game with 1:13 gone by. Paul Stasny would put one in just over 16 minutes later, with the Blues goals sandwiching a Chris Kreider score from Mika Zibanejad and Dan Girardi.
The Rangers’ penalty kill was mostly efficient, forced to kill off five infractions, but a JT Miller high-sticking turned out to be deadly. Just six seconds into the power play, Alex Pietrangelo scored his first of the season to make it 3-1, the eventual necessary goal for the 3-1 win. Zibanejad would put one in later in the period, good for his first New York goal and fourth point, but Hutton stymied the Rangers (1-1-0) for the remainder of the game. The former Predator bailed out his new teammates, who did not tally a shot for the final 21:16 of the game.
Despite the moral victory in allowing a powerful team like the Blues, last season’s Western Conference runner-ups, shotless for the final period, the Rangers couldn’t nab a road point and possibly lost more than a game. Dan Girardi, who tallied a point on Kreider‘s goal via assist, left the game with a hip flexor injury. He is expected to evaluated today, but head coach Alain Vigneault said afterward that the injury was potentially “more than day-to-day”. Already without Kevin Klein on defense, the Rangers play next on Monday night, when they return home to Madison Square Garden to take on the defending Western Conference champion San Jose Sharks (7:00 PM, MSG/NHL Network)
Rangers season is officially underway. Stay tuned to blueshirtsnation.com for all the coverage/analysis!