A fast start for the New York Rangers has been dampened by three straight losses, as well as some undisciplined play that led to benchings in their last game.
The Rangers will try to end their skid Monday night when they host the surprising Phoenix Coyotes.
New York (7-3-1) gave up 11 goals in consecutive home losses to San Jose and New Jersey last week after a seven-game winning streak.
The Rangers got off to a fast start Saturday at Montreal with a 3-1 lead after one period before suffering a 5-4 overtime loss. They mustered 15 shots after the first 20 minutes.
“The effort was there,” Rangers coach John Tortorella said. “They came out and really came at us, and then we took over the game. And then we lost momentum by really beating ourselves with turnovers and penalties.”
Tortorella did not play Brandon Dubinsky(notes) and Christopher Higgins(notes) in the third period after both made major mistakes in the second. Dubinsky had a turnover that led to a goal by Montreal and Higgins took a high-sticking penalty that gave the Canadiens a two-man advantage and led to another score.
“The game’s going our way and it’s a turnover in the neutral zone by (Dubinsky) that - it just can’t happen,” Tortorella said. “We have stressed that, especially after the last game, and it’s just a huge momentum swing. If you’re not helping us in one area and you make mistakes in that area, then you’re just going to lose your time.”
Rangers leading scorer Marian Gaborik(notes) had a goal for the second straight game Saturday. He’s won his last eight games against Phoenix—all with Minnesota—while totaling eight goals and two assists.
Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist(notes) is 2-0 with a 2.00 goals-against average in two career starts against the Coyotes, including a 4-1 victory Nov. 28, 2008, in the last meeting. He has a 4.24 GAA in his last three appearances for the Rangers, who have won four of their last five against Phoenix (6-3-0).
“Excellent,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said about Doan. “A lot of guys can take a page from that. We need everybody on board every night. We had some guys who didn’t pull their weight tonight.”
“It’s giving up three power-play goals that is frustrating to me,” Tippett said. “That means you’ve got to score four to win.”
Bryzgalov, who leads the league with a 1.60 GAA, is 1-1 with a 2.02 career GAA against the Rangers.