Rangers look for another full effort as Blackhawks visit
New York Rangers coach David Quinn did not mince words when he described his team's effort in Sunday's 7-5 loss at Columbus. He said it was "just ridiculous and "a joke."
The response was one of New York's best games in several weeks as the Rangers beat the Carolina Hurricanes 6-2 on Tuesday.
The Rangers will try to get a second straight win Thursday night when they host the struggling Chicago Blackhawks, who are coming off one of their worst showings in a season filled with ugly losses.
New York has six losses in its last eight games. One of the six defeats was Sunday, when it constantly lost faceoffs (47 of 68) and allowed 40 shots on goal.
The response was a dominating showing Tuesday night on home ice, where Mika Zibanejad, Pavel Buchnevich and defenseman Tony DeAngelo each recorded two goals. The Rangers set a season high for goals -- the first time the Rangers had three players get multi-goal games since Dec. 22, 1996, against Florida (Mark Messier, Alexei Kovalev and Niklas Sundstrom).
"Thank God we had a game this quickly after that one, get a chance to redeem ourselves," said Zibanejad, who added two assists and has three of his four career four-point games this season.
"We knew what we had to do. We talked about it. The way we play and the system we have, we didn't really have that against Columbus. I thought we did a better job with that, and it showed."
The Rangers (19-20-7) are seeking consecutive home wins for the first time since winning seven in a row from Oct. 23-Nov. 21.
Quinn said center Kevin Hayes, who has missed seven games with an upper-body injury, will not play in either of the two games before next week's All-Star break. Hayes took part in the full-contact portion of practice Wednesday but wouldn't be ready to play Thursday, according to Quinn, adding that playing him Saturday at Boston before taking a break didn't make much sense.
The Blackhawks (16-23-9) will be three days removed from an 8-5 loss at New Jersey that extended their losing streak to four games (0-2-2). Chicago's 16 wins are the fewest in the league, and the team is on its third losing streak of at least four games.
"I think it's one that you throw in the trash and move on," Chicago center Jonathan Toews said. "You don't let it hurt your confidence in the next one."
On Monday, Chicago gave up five consecutive goals after tying the game at 1 early in the second period. The Blackhawks trailed 7-3 before making the score slightly more respectable late in the third period in a game in which it was outshot for the sixth straight time.
"We weren't ready," Chicago coach Jeremy Colliton said. "Didn't really give ourselves a chance. We battled back a couple times, but it was kind of fool's gold. So we've gotta leave this one behind. I don't think that was us. Let's not see that again."
Patrick Kane recorded a four-point night with a pair of goals and two assists, giving him five straight multi-point games and 10 goals in his last nine contests. Kane leads Chicago with 27 goals and 64 points and matched his goal total from last season on Monday after playing a season-high 28:50.
One of Chicago's wins was a 4-1 home victory over New York on Oct. 25. The Blackhawks have outscored New York 17-7 during their four-game winning streak in the series and have wins in their past four visits to Madison Square Garden.
--Field Level Media
Updated January 16, 2019