Reese Johnson #52 of Chicago celebrates his first period goal...

Reese Johnson #52 of Chicago celebrates his first period goal against Jaroslav Halak #41 of the Rangers with his teammates at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Patrick Kane, long speculated to be heading to  the Rangers at the NHL trade deadline in March, was in New York on Saturday, still wearing Chicago red-and-black. Given what he saw in Madison Square Garden though, when the trade deadline does get here, Kane may decide he doesn’t want to come to New York.

Kane and Chicago, which entered on an eight-game losing streak (0-7-1), jumped on the listless Blueshirts and beat them, 5-2. It was the Rangers' second loss in as many nights at the Garden to a struggling team. They are 4-6-4 at home.

Kane had a goal and two assists. He became the 50th NHL player to reach 1,200 points, and the fifth American-born player to accomplish the feat. Kane is the second player in Chicago franchise history (with Stan Mikita) to reach 1,200 points.

Chicago scored three power-play goals, including a five-on-three goal by Kane in the second period, to hand the Rangers their fifth loss in six games. Max Domi had two goals and an assist, and two Chicago goaltenders, Petr Mrazek and Arvid Soderblom (who replaced the injured Mrazek to start the third period), looked like All-Stars in stopping 26 of 28 Rangers shots.

Rangers backup goalie Jaroslav Halak took his share of the blame for this loss as well. He stopped 16 of 20 shots and is now 1-6-1 this season. He heard some Bronx cheers from the fans late in the game, but he has not gotten much offensive support this season -- the Rangers have scored just 12 goals in his eight starts.

The Rangers’ messaging after the game, though, was that the loss wasn’t as bad as it looked.

“It's hard to lose a game like that and say that we're doing some things well, but we were certainly doing things better than we have been,’’ said Chris Kreider, who scored at 17:15 of the third period to cut the Rangers' deficit to 4-2. “You go through tough stretches over the course of a season. Well, obviously we're going through a very tough stretch right now. So it's up to us to flip the narrative and look back on this in one month or two and say that this was a good thing for us, and that we started stringing together wins.’’

Coach Gerard Gallant said: “We’ve got to make some adjustments on some of those goals that are getting scored. Wrist shots from the point, and deflections, screens in front of the net. But I thought we played faster, and we played harder. But same result. So we’ve got to make some adjustments, a couple of different things. But we definitely played harder than we did the other night.’’

Nobody played harder for the Rangers than captain Jacob Trouba, who did what he could to try and spark his team with physical play, including two fights.

Trouba fought Jujhar Khaira at 3:22 of the second period. Khaira was the player who Trouba had sent to the hospital after laying him out with a clean hit in a game in Chicago last season. And then, later in the second period, with the Rangers trailing 3-0, Trouba lined up Chicago’s Andreas Athanasiou and threw a devastating body check in the neutral zone.

Chicago captain Jonathan Toews engaged Trouba after that hit and the two fought. Toews ended up getting an instigator penalty and the Rangers scored on the ensuing power play, with Mika Zibanejad blasting home a one-timer from the left circle that brought the Rangers to within 3-1 at 17:51 of the period.

“Well, he's trying,’’ Gallant said of Trouba’s efforts. “He's trying to get the guys on board and trying to pull them with him and (that’s) big leadership . . . Obviously, we don't want Troubs fighting three times in a weekend (Trouba also fought in Friday’s game against Ottawa).’’

Chicago opened the scoring at 2:38 of the first period when Tyler Johnson tipped in a point shot from Jake McCabe. The visitors led 1-0 after the first period despite being outshot 10-4. The Rangers were just getting started killing a second-period penalty to Zibanejad when Ryan Carpenter was called for hooking, giving Chicago a five-on-three power play, and they would score on both ends, with Kane scoring on a rebound at 8:37 and Domi making it 3-0 a minute later, at 9:37.

The Rangers opened the third period with Vincent Trocheck hitting the goalpost on a rush – one of four goalposts the Rangers hit in the game – and Raddysh tipped in a shot by Kane on the power play to make it 4-1 at 4:46. 

Kreider’s goal made it 4-2, but Domi scored an empty-netter with 1:14 remaining.

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