The Rangers lost their third straight last night, falling to the unbeaten St. Louis Blues by a score of 5-3. This game, unlike the two in San Jose and Anaheim, was not an unmitigated disaster. New York was not completely dominated by the Blues, and managed to put control the puck a lot more. There were some defensive miscues, but there weren’t nearly as many as in the prior two games. Plus, it looked like the team remembered how to pass the puck.
The Blueshirts got a pair of goals on the powerplay, continuing to show that this is a vastly improved unit from last year. Brad Richards had another strong game, as did Ryan Callahan and Derick Brassard. However, Marc Staal had a rough night with a pair of coverage fails, and Derek Stepan is showing that he really needed training camp, despite his assist tally this season (two tonight, five total).
On to the goals:
Blues 1, Rangers 0
This one was pretty easy to spot: Marc Staal simply didn’t continue to cover Alex Steen as he broke down the weak side. Once the shot from T.J. Oshie went through (low and hard, forcing a rebound), Steen was able to bang home the rebound.
Rangers 1, Blues 1
There was no real miscue by the Blues on this goal. The Rangers were on a 5-on-3 and had some solid puck movement. Derek Stepan made a nice pass through the crase to Derick Brassard, who either whiffed on the shot or passed it to Ryan Callahan on the doorstep. I am unsure which one it was, but Cally had a wide open net for the goal.
Blues 2, Rangers 1
This one began in the offensive zone when Stepan made an ill-advised pass to Anton Stralman that got picked off by David Backes. Backes got the puck to Steen for a 2-on-2 rush, but Steen was able to feed a charging Backes on the weak side, who wristed it through Martin Biron’s legs. Stepan was backchecking hard to get to Backes, but he just couldn’t catch him.
Blues 3, Rangers 1
The picture says it all. Biron should have stopped this.
Rangers 2, Blues 3
The strong start for Brad Richards continued, as he caused Derek Roy to turn the puck over in the offensive zone. The puck got to Brassard, who put a nice, low backhander on net that Jaroslav Halak couldn’t control. The rebound went right to Richards, who was cutting to the net, and he roofed it. Roy, who turned the puck over to begin with, was caught watching the play instead of seeing Richards cutting to the back door.
Blues 4, Rangers 2
There’s a lot going on with this goal. The red arrows are the coverage routes that did happen, and the green ones are the ones that should have happened. There was clearly confusion between Staal and Jesper Fast, as Fast had his arms up at one point asking who to cover. Staal should have covered Backes, the goal scorer, since he was the defender and Backes was charging to the net. Fast should have covered the trailer, so he released on Backes and went to the trailer. Staal never came over on Backes.
Rangers 3, Blues 4
Another powerplay goal for the Rangers and Ryan Callahan, as they got very lucky on this one. The powerplay had some great puck movement, and the puck worked itself to Richards on the off-wing. His shot was blocked by Roman Polak, and the puck wound up going straight up in the air and bouncing in once it landed, hitting Cally on the way down. No picture for this one, since I couldn’t get a clear one.
Blues 5, Rangers 3
The Rangers lost a face off in the defensive zone while down a man, and the ensuing wrist shot from Vladimir Tarasenko just evaded Henrik Lundqvist (who had replaced Biron to start the third). Chris Stewart was in front of the net providing the screen.