Talk to anyone connected with the Ducks’ high command and you’ll be told that the Anaheim sextet has been sick and tired of playoff failures.
Chances are that Bruce Beaudreau would tell you the same thing.
Matter of fact, that’s why he’s the ex-coach of the Ducks and Randy Carlyle is now running the show behind the Anaheim bench.
Having lost four straight Game 7s at home the past four seasons will do that to a franchise. But it also explains why motivation in 2016-17 is higher at Honda Center than ever before.
That’s what the Rangers were confronted with last night in Duckland and the result was not the usual happy road win for the Blueshirts.
Quite the opposite as Anaheim busted out of a 3-3 tie in the final period and concluded with a 6-3 victory with the final goal an empty-netter. This was not the pleasant return Rangers had hoped for with Henrik Lundqvist back between the pipes.
The final score was not indicative of the level of play from Henrik Lundqvist, as he made his return to the Rangers' net in Anaheim.
OVERVIEW: One could chalk this loss up to the You Can’t Win ‘Em All Department. True enough, but these days and nights the Rangers have become accustomed to road wins. Nevertheless, the Blueshirts can make it two out of three wins in San Jose tomorrow night and that would constitute a good voyage West.
WHAT WENT WRONG:
1. DEFENSE DEFEATED: The back liners failed King Henrik after the Blueshirts entered the third period knotted with the home club. No more, no less.
2. SPECIAL TEAMS DIDN’T DELIVER: New York failed to score on its pair of PP chances, while allowing a power play score by Anaheim and a shorthander.
TURNING POINT: The Ducks opened the third period with a big push and it worked. Andrew Cogliano snared a rebound outside the crease putting Anaheim ahead 4-3 at 2:19 of the final session. Less than three minutes later, the home club had a two-lead as the curtain descended on the Rangers chances.
BEST SAVE: Despite the five-goal onslaught, Lundqvist produced some dazzling stops. Tested almost immediately at the start of the third period — in rapid succession — he stopped Nick Ritchie and Corey Perry. The first was a kick save followed by a belly flop followed by a frozen puck. It could have been the catapult for a Rangers comeback, but that never happened.
WHAT THEY SAID:
1. MARC STAAL: “It (the flurry of two third period Anaheim goals) happened so quick and, all of a sudden, we were down two goals and just didn’t respond well.”
2. HENRIK LUNDQVIST: “You don’t feel as comfortable when you miss three weeks. We made some good plays and they made some good plays. I felt good at the start of the game, but on goals two and five, it was just a bad bounce and I didn’t make the play.”
Henrik Lundqvist shares how he felt in his return to the crease after missing eight games and gives his thoughts on allowing five goals.
3. ALAIN VIGNEAULT: “We had too many guys who brought their C game. You can’t do that against a team as good as the Ducks.”
4. MAVEN REPORTER MATTHEW BLITTNER (IN ANAHEIM): “The Rangers were victimized by a porous defense and costly turnovers.”
COMING ATTRACTIONS: A date with Jumpin’ Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and what has become a slumping Sharks team eager for a win is what awaits the Blueshirts tomorrow night.
GAME TIME: 10:30 PM E.T. TV: MSG Network. RADIO: 98.7 FM ESPN
BOTTOM LINE: The most important outcome in Anaheim was the return of Lundqvist. After a three-week layoff, any goalie in a comeback would be rusty. He’ll need a few more games to restore mint condition.