Game #12: A hard fall for undisciplined Rangers in ugly loss to Senators

Brady Tkachuk whoops it up with Thomas Chabot following a Senators 6-2 humiliation of the Rangers. AP Photo via Getty Images courtesy Ottawa Senators

This one was ugly. Oh. We warned you. It was a bitter disappointment. The Rangers were humiliated by the Senators 6-2 at MSG. That ended the mini win streak at two.

For all the things they did well against the Bolts and Preds, they royally stunk tonight. There was no defense, sloppy turnovers, undisciplined penalties, bad special teams and uneven goaltending. The latter I am not gonna delve into. Alexandar Georgiev got the Henrik Lundqvist treatment. And he fell victim to it like Wednesday’s starter.

You cannot take any opponent lightly in this league. Not when you’re a young, rebuilding team that’s accomplished nothing. The Senators came in with nothing to lose. After being totally dominated for over 11 minutes without a shot, they were awoken by a needless fight. Brendan Lemieux engaged Mark Borowiecki. He may have won, but it was a foolish one with his team ahead one and in total control.

Prior to Lemieux’s dust up with rugged Ottawa defenseman Borowiecki, Kaapo Kakko had scored his third goal on a nice forecheck and pass from Adam Fox. The Finn showed up for this one. If only there were more passengers. He recorded his first two-point game with a goal and primary helper on an Artemiy Panarin power play goal.

Unfortunately, the Rangers lost discipline and themselves. They didn’t play smart hockey. Not only Lemieux, who would later be tossed for going after nuisance Brady Tkachuk. The penalties they took were brutal.

After doing zilch, the Senators evened the score at 14:56 due to nemesis Jean-Gabriel Pageau. With Anthony Duclair creating a distraction in front, Pageau beat both Libor Hajek and Lias Andersson to a rebound for his fourth. It was the end of a really bad shift for the Rangers.

During a scrum in front of Georgiev, Ryan Strome was upset after being shoved down by Duclair. He went back at Tkachuk to earn roughing minors. The issue was Jacob Trouba, who hasn’t been the same for a while, got an extra two for a unnecessary cross-check.

That gave Ottawa a power play. On it, Tkachuk sucked Brady Skjei into a phantom trip by embellishing it to earn a five-on-three. Entering play, the Sens had only two power play goals and were a miniscule 4.4 percent. That would change. On a broken play set up by former Ranger Vladislav Namestnikov, Thomas Chabot had a one-timer carom favorably right to journeyman Tyler Ennis for a 2-1 Ottawa lead at 18:31.

Just like that, the Rangers trailed after a period. They went from being up by nine or ten in shots to being down 14-11 by the conclusion. That’s how much their level dropped and the pesky opponent’s rose. Was it all Lemieux’s fault as some would have you believe on Twitter? No. However, he cannot take that fight when the team is up and playing well. The coach can’t be happy with it. At least when Tony DeAngelo battered JC Beaudin, he took up for himself. That’s fine.

The poor play continued into the second. They let Ron Hainsey score. That’s brutal. I didn’t see it. I don’t care to. I had the Giants on. When I had the game on, I noticed Trouba take another bad penalty early on. Hajek also did because he was out of position. Let’s just say it wasn’t his best night. Skjei stunk too. So too did Trouba, who continues to fire blanks from the point off target. What has happened to him? Hopefully, not Rangers Syndrome.

There also was a Pavel Buchnevich moment. I don’t mean that in a good light either. He continues to be a enigma. You don’t know which player will show up shift to shift. On some sustained pressure, he was on the point covering for a pinching Fox. He had the puck and decided to take a low percentage slapshot. It got blocked and Pageau picked up the loose puck, broke in and beat Georgiev top cheese for a 4-1 Ottawa lead.

It reminded me of what he did in the playoffs. I said after that first goal, he looked like he might get a hat trick. He nearly did. He just outhustles and outworks opponents. He actually entered the game a plus-11 on the Sens. This guy isn’t just a Ranger killer. He’s a good player that’s consistent.

Following another defensive breakdown that resulted in Tkachuk putting away his fourth unassisted (third straight goal unassisted), a patient Kakko took a DeAngelo feed and made a sweet pass across the seam for a Panarin power play goal that made it 5-2 with 2:26 remaining in the period. It was nice to see Kakko look more confident. Even if it came in a ugly loss. He was moved up by David Quinn to the first line with Strome and Panarin.

The weird aspect of this game was the Rangers created chances following the Panarin goal. They swarmed the Ottawa net, but came away empty due to Anders Nilsson. He made some big saves to finish with 32 for the game. Very good rebound control.

I didn’t see much of the third. There was no point. Namestnikov got a little revenge by getting a power play goal to make it 6-2. That gave him a goal and assist in his return to MSG. They did put up a little video for his two years here. He’s a solid player, who might get relocated to a contender in need of an effective bottom six forward that can skate and kill penalties. It’s a contract year for him. He already has five goals. That’s three more than Chris Kreider. Speaking of disappointing.

In the third period alone, the Rangers were assessed four penalties for 16 penalty minutes. That included Lemieux earning a misconduct for getting involved with Tkachuk, who was the best player on the ice. He hasn’t started well, but against a team that played soft, he dominated to finish with a goal, assist, four penalty minutes and a power play drawn. That’s what a power forward looks like.

There’s nothing else left to say. This was pathetic. Quinn wondered how his team would play. Now you know why. What will they do against the equally bad Red Wings, who got blown out by Nashville, this Wednesday? I have no clue.

However, Lundqvist will start and someone is getting benched for Marc Staal. Hajek or Skjei are possible. At this point, I’ve seen enough of Skjei. I’ll save that for another post. Ditto for everyone’s favorite Russian.

Battle Of Hudson 3 🌟:

3rd 🌟 Kaapo Kakko, Rangers (3rd of season plus 🍎 for 1st career multi-point game, +1 in 17:10)

2nd 🌟 Vladislav Namestnikov, Senators (5th of season plus 🍎, 3 shots, +1 in 18:04)

1st 🌟 Brady Tkachuk, Senators (4th of season plus 🍎, 6 shots, +2 in 16:43)

About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of Hudson administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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