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Flames dominate Rangers to end winning streak at four

Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin looks on against the

Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin looks on against the Flames during the second period of an NHL game at Madison Square Garden on Monday. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Returning to Madison Square Garden after a triumphant four-game road trip, the Rangers got a lift Monday when second-line center Ryan Strome returned after missing the entire trip while on COVID-19 protocol.

But while Strome looked energetic in his return and was one of the Rangers’ better players on the night, they kept giving the puck away. The Calgary Flames took advantage and stitched together a 5-1 victory that snapped the Blueshirts’ winning streak at four games.

According to the official scoresheet, the Rangers (4-2-1) gave the puck away 20 times in the game and the Flames (3-1-1) had six giveaways.

"I think [we were] just overall sloppy,’’ defenseman Jacob Trouba said. "Just a lot of turnovers that fueled their offense, I think, especially in the first. I mean, they’re a good team off the rush. You give them chances on the rush, they’re going to take advantage of them.’’

Said coach Gerard Gallant, "We had the puck on our stick, and I think they had 15 shots in the first period, but they had 10 scoring chances, you know, in the slot area, in that red zone area. A lot of them were us trying to make a play . . . when there’s no play to be made. They forechecked really hard and made us turn the puck over. So they were the hungrier team in the first period.’’

Christopher Tanev’s goal at 18:50 of the period gave the Flames the lead, and Andrew Mangiapane made it 2-0 at 2:09 of the second period when Rangers defenseman Patrik Nemeth, from behind the net, put the puck right on Mangiapane’s stick in the slot area.

The Rangers did improve after that and started to put pressure on Calgary goalie Jacob Markstrom, but he kept them at bay through the first two periods.

The Rangers, who had rallied for three goals in the final 5:23 in a 3-2 victory on Saturday in Ottawa, appeared ready to start another comeback when Dryden Hunt scored at 5:25 of the third period to make it 2-1. Hunt and Kevin Rooney batted at the rebound of a shot by Trouba, and Hunt apparently got the touch for his first goal as a Ranger.

But the Flames shut down any thought of a comeback when Blake Coleman scored at 8:13 and Mikael Backlund made it 4-1 at 11:32. Mangiapane got a second goal with five seconds left.

Gallant was asked if the fact that the Rangers were playing their seventh game in 12 nights had something to do with all the turnovers.

"I hope so,’’ he said. "I don’t like making excuses, but I sure hope so. And there’s no doubt, I think we played the most games in the league, and, you know, with all our travel. But again, I’m not making an excuse.’’

The Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs (2-4-1) are tied for the most games played in the league with seven.

The Rangers also played a man short for most of the game. Fourth-line forward Ryan Reaves got injured at the end of his only shift of the game in the first period. He left the ice and headed to the locker room but returned to sit on the bench for the final two periods, even though he knew he would not go back in the game.

Defenseman Ryan Lindgren also left the game for a brief period in the first after blocking a shot. He appeared to be flexing his left leg but returned and played the final two periods.


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