CALGARY, Alberta — The road has been good to the Rangers this season. But their second four-game trip of the season ended with a whimper, not the bang the first one did, as they were thumped by the Calgary Flames, 6-0, at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday night. It was the Blueshirts’ first shutout loss of the season.
Were the Rangers simply overcome by too much time on the road? "I hope that’s what it was,’’ coach Gerard Gallant said. "We were obviously pretty bad tonight, but like you said, it’s been a grind. I’m glad we’re done playing Calgary, put it that way.’’
Johnny Gaudreau had two goals and an assist and Matthew Tkachuk had a goal and three assists to do most of the damage for Calgary (7-1-3).
The loss, coming on the heels of overtime losses to Vancouver on Tuesday and Edmonton on Friday, left the Rangers with a 1-1-2 record on the trip and an overall record of 6-3-3. They returned home after the game and will face the Florida Panthers (10-0-1) on Monday at Madison Square Garden.
Whether they will have third-line center Filip Chytil for Monday’s game is unknown. After getting rugged Ryan Reaves back from injured reserve for Saturday’s game, they lost Chytil to an unidentified injury after one shift against the Flames. Gallant said he had no report on the 22-year-old’s status.
Chytil left the game 2:16 into the first period after colliding with teammate Sammy Blais at center ice and staying down for several moments. He left the ice, went straight to the locker room and did not return. Last season he missed five weeks (14 games) with a hand injury.
The Flames opened the scoring on a power-play goal by Sean Monahan, who banged in a pass from Tkachuk at 16:00 of the first period with Kevin Rooney serving an interference penalty. Calgary took a 2-0 lead on a goal by Brad Richardson at 9:15 of the second period, nine seconds after a penalty to Patrik Nemeth expired.
The Flames made it 3-0 at 11:19. Noah Hanifan mishit a slap shot from the left point and the puck came bouncing in toward goaltender Igor Shesterkin. Tkachuk whacked the puck off Shesterkin, creating a rebound that Gaudreau tapped in for his first goal.
Gaudreau’s second goal of the game made it 4-0 at 6:42 of the third period. Milan Lucic and Tkachuk also scored.
According to Chris Kreider, the game got away from the Rangers in the third period, not the second.
"It didn’t feel like a 3-0 game going into the third,’’ Kreider said. "A couple of unfortunate bounces on goal number two and goal number three, but to say that that wasn’t the response we were looking for going into the third would be an understatement.
"The wheels fell off,’’ he said. "And Igor has been our best player and has carried us to this point. And for us to do that to him in the third is unacceptable.’’
Adam Fox, who was drafted by the Flames before being traded to Carolina and then traded to the Rangers, was mercilessly booed by the Saddledome fans every time he touched the puck. The fans apparently won’t forgive him for preferring to use his leverage as a college player to get himself traded to the Rangers, the team he rooted for as a child.
Fox appeared to stick it to the fans when he scored a brilliant backhand, top-shelf goal at 18:17 of the first period to tie it at 1-1. But Calgary challenged the play, alleging it was offside, and the goal ultimately was disallowed.