On this Festivus evening, the Rangers failed the feats of energy.
They positive tried down the stretch, wrestling with the Maple Leafs and at one level having a tying aim waved off, however two unsatisfactory durations could not be overcome on this Three-2 residence loss Saturday evening.
Because the traces had been juggled, the underside two defensive pairs switched and Mika Zibanejad obtained benched after one third-period shift, the Rangers began to indicate indicators of life down by two targets and seemingly had an equalizer at 12:09 of the interval.
It was Michael Grabner beating Frederik Andersen inflicting the Backyard crowd to erupt after J.T. Miller had introduced the Rangers inside one simply 44 seconds earlier. However the Maple Leafs challenged for offside and video assessment confirmed that Kevin Hayes was certainly offside on the other finish of the play, nullifying the aim.
Miller’s aim got here off a feed by Pavel Buchnevich from behind the web by way of Roman Polak’s legs. Miller started the sport on the fourth line and switched with Buchnevich for the second interval earlier than each performed collectively whereas Zibanejad rode the pine.
The Rangers (19-13-Four) made a mad sprint on the finish of the sport even regardless of taking a too-many-men on the ice infraction with 1:24 remaining, Henrik Lundqvist summoned to the bench simply to maintain issues at five-on-five.
A penalty-laden first interval noticed the Maple Leafs take a 1-Zero lead at 17:14 when the Rangers obtained caught for a endless shift in their very own finish following a failed energy play. Three of the 5 gamers on the Rangers’ prime power-play unit could not get off the ice and logged shifts of at the least three minutes: Kevin Shattenkirk (Three:43,) Mika Zibanejad (Three:01) and Mats Zuccarello (Three:01,) the final roughly minute-and-a-half spent chasing the puck in their very own finish earlier than William Nylander’s aim.
Ryan McDonagh’s late delay-of-game penalty for flipping the puck over the glass resulted in a Toronto energy play which carried over into the second interval, and a one-time blast from Ron Hainsey with six seconds left within the man-advantage doubled the Leafs’ lead.
With the sport getting ready to getting out of hand, the Rangers discovered a much-needed aim lower than two minutes later because of a Frederik Andersen misplay along side his personal web. The goalie appeared indecisive with the puck, permitting Jimmy Vesey to pounce on it and wrap it round into an open web to halve the Blueshirts’ deficit.
Then got here the aim from the American wunderkind Auston Matthews, who returned to Toronto’s lineup after lacking the earlier six video games with a concussion. After McDonagh and Nick Holden misplaced a puck battle on the wall, Zach Hyman’s move hit off an open Matthews’ stick blade in entrance. Henrik Lundqvist tried to poke the puck away however did not get sufficient on it, permitting Matthews to pot a backhand and provides the Leafs a Three-1 benefit, Lundqvist slamming his stick on the crossbar in frustration.
Boo Nieves got here again into the lineup Saturday after being a wholesome scratch the earlier two video games since Zibanejad’s return from a concussion. He returned after Jesper Quick on Friday was dominated out for two-to-three weeks with a quad pressure.
However Nieves and fellow fourth-liner Paul Carey barely performed on this one. Nieves logged simply Four:38 and Carey performed 5:40.
The Blueshirts head into the NHL’s three-day Christmas moratorium having misplaced two in a row after Thursday’s poor effort in Newark, which ended with a shootout.