The Rangers did everything but score.
Despite 43 shots on goal, including 17 in the third period, the Rangers lost a tantalizing but disappointing 3-2 game to the Anaheim Ducks, a team that had a league worst five wins coming in and had not won a game in regulation before last night.
Ducks goaltender John Gibson made 41 saves but was shaky at times, and the Rangers couldn’t take advantage. Gibson’s best friend was the post and cross bar as the Rangers hit iron, an unofficial six times during the game, although he denied Kappo Kakko on a breakaway in the second period and stoned Filip Chytil who was alone in front.
“We created chances and we got quality chances, the puck didn’t want to go in today,” said Mika Zibanejad, who had six shots on goal but was a minus-1 in the game. “You have some nights like that, but gotta go home and reset.”
Jaroslav Halak has yet to win a game and he stopped 19 of 22 shots in this one but let in two (one that was as soft as a pillow) that he would’ve liked to have had back and that proved to be the difference.
The first one came 39 seconds into the second period of a 1-1 game as Dmitri Kulikov’s shot trickled through Halak’s legs. It was a bad goal that gave a struggling Anaheim team, a 2-1 lead. Kulikov had a goal and an assist on the night.
Rangers Coach Gerard Gallant has not lost faith in his back up goaltender who is now 0-5-1 on the season. “He didn’t get much work but I’m sure, second goal, he’s not happy about obviously but you stay with it,” Gallant said. “He’s a veteran guy, he’s won a lot of hockey games in his career and we’ll get some wins for him.”
A little under five minutes later, Troy Terry scored his eighth goal of the season to give the Ducks a 3-1 lead. Terry fired the puck from just inside the right face off circle and he beat Halak to the far post, top shelf.
Halak was good from there as he stopped former Ranger Frank Vatrano on a shorthanded breakaway to keep it a two goal deficit.
Braden Schneider’s second goal in as many games, with less than two minutes left in the second period, made it a one goal deficit. Artemi Panarin had an assist on the goal, the 400th of his career, but the Ducks had a lead after the second period for the first time all season.
The Rangers had taken a 1-0 lead on Barclay Goodrow’s goal that came as a result of an outstanding individual effort. Goodrow carried the puck into the Ducks zone and as he was being checked by Anaheim defenseman John Klingberg, he was able to get the puck on net and it slipped through Gibson, five hole for a 1-0 lead.
The lead was short lived as Mason McTavish (no relation to Craig, the former Ranger) got behind the Ranger defense and was able to bury a rebound of a Kulikov shot to tie the game.
The Ducks were statistically the worst team in the NHL on the penalty kill but the Rangers went 0 for 4 on the power play. One of the advantages was nullified by a Chris Kreider penalty just :19 seconds in, but the Rangers looked disorganized on at least two of those power plays and made the Ducks penalty kill look top notch.
Despite the offensive barrage, the Rangers were sloppy in their own zone and that led to the Ducks’ goals. Vincent Trocheck knows that’s something they need to clean up. “We gotta be less sloppy. That first two periods weren’t very good. Been saying it for awhile. Gotta get a full sixty minutes out of us,” he said.
Kakko continues to play a strong game but keeps missing the scoresheet, while Adam Fox saw his nine game point scoring streak end.
The Rangers finished a four game road trip with a 2-1-1 mark that they felt could’ve been better. “We wanted to close it out with a win and get those two points, but that wasn’t the case,” Zibanejad said.
Earlier in the day, the Rangers traded Ryan Reaves to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for a fifth round pick in the 2025 NHL Draft. Reaves was a healthy scratch in seven of the past eight games. The Wild will absorb the remaining the $1.75 million left on Reaves contract