ST. LOUIS — In their previous game, the Rangers came back from two goals down after two periods and beat the Penguins in overtime.
On Saturday night, they trailed by one after one period, so the comeback should have been a piece of cake, right?
Well, it wasn’t.
Playing on the road against the Blues, a team desperately trying to climb into a playoff spot in the Western Conference, the Rangers went to overtime for the second straight game. This time, however, they lost, 4-3, when Brayden Schenn scored his 25th goal at the 1:02 mark.
Schenn chased down the puck on the right-wing boards, spun away from defenseman John Gilmour and fired the winner past Alexandar Georgiev.
The Rangers led 3-2 entering the third period, but with Paul Carey in the penalty box, the Blues tied the score on Alex Pietrangelo’s power-play goal, his second goal of the game, at 5:15 of the period. Georgiev said he was screened on the shot and never saw the puck, and coach Alain Vigneault said the defense should have blocked the shot before it ever got to Georgiev.
“It came down to winning the third period,’’ defenseman Brady Skjei said. “Their power play cashed in on the shot from the point . . . In the end, we got a point, but we’re definitely not satisfied. We thought we deserved two [points] tonight.’’
Of course, the points don’t matter for the Rangers anymore. With 10 games left, it’s all about players trying to show management whether they should be part of the team next season. Georgiev is getting a long look from the Rangers to see if he can be counted on to be Henrik Lundqvist’s backup. So Georgiev started his third straight game (he had won the first two) and made 29 saves on 33 shots.
The rookie kept the Rangers in the game in the first period, when the Blues outshot them 16-2 but led only 1-0.
The teams spent most of the first period in the Rangers’ end of the ice, with the Blueshirts seemingly unable to clear the puck when they managed to get possession deep in the zone. They had two shots, and one was a red line dump-in by Skjei.
“We followed the master plan in the first period — tire ’em out in our own end,’’ Vigneault said. “Our Ds couldn’t make a pass, and our forwards couldn’t get through the neutral zone.’’
The Rangers were fortunate to be down only 1-0 after 20 minutes, with Pietrangelo’s goal at 15:49 putting the Blues ahead. The Blueshirts tied the score 42 seconds into the second period on a goal initially credited to Jesper Fast and later changed to Mika Zibanejad.
The Blues regained the lead less than two minutes later. Nikita Soshnikov walked in and whipped a wrist shot from the top of the right circle over the catching glove of Georgiev at 2:24 for his first goal of the season to make it 2-1.
But suddenly, momentum shifted in favor of the Rangers, who scored two goals 2:27 apart to take the lead. Mats Zuccarello scored his fifth goal in five games at 12:07. Then Chris Kreider set up Zibanejad on the power play for a tap-in goal and a 3-2 lead at 14:34.
Neal Pionk picked up his 10th assist on Zuccarello’s goal. Since his recall from Hartford in February, he leads all rookie defensemen in points.