In the first two games of the season, the Rangers' penalty kill was a perfect 9-for-9. But it wasn't perfect at all (2-for-4) Sunday night in their 6-3 loss to the Maple Leafs at the Garden.
The mark was snapped at 7:45 of the first period. After Leafs defenseman Cody Franson was left alone in the right circle with the Rangers' Dominic Moore in the penalty box, Franson wound up and slapped a shot that flew past Henrik Lundqvist's stick.
The Rangers killed a second penalty, to Marc Staal at 15:10, but in the second period, the Leafs struck again. Phil Kessel, who had not scored in the previous two games, connected at 5:19 with Matt Hunwick in the box for high-sticking.
"We had done a really good job the first two games," Martin St. Louis said. "Tonight they get lucky with a bounce off skates on Kessel's goal. On the other side, we don't seem to get on the power play a lot. We have to find a way to draw more penalties, and when we get on the power play, make it count."
The Rangers ranked third in the league on the penalty kill at 85.3 percent last season, but they lost Brian Boyle and Anton Stralman, who went to Tampa Bay as free agents during the summer.
Meanwhile, the injuries keep on coming. Mats Zuccarello, who had his right shoulder wrapped after the 5-2 loss in Columbus on Saturday night, was scratched, and coach Alain Vigneault said after Sunday night's game that he is "day-to-day." Zuccarello also was in a free-swinging fight with the Blues' T.J. Oshie on Thursday night. Zuccarello took warmups, but Vigneault had called him a game-time decision.
Jesper Fast, whose arm remains sore after he blocked Ian Cole's shot in St. Louis on Thursday, did not take line rushes in warmups and initially was believed to be given the night off. That changed when Zuccarello was kept out. He played 13:09 and had one shot.
Ryan Malone was a healthy scratch for the third straight game. Michael Kostka, who was called up when Dan Boyle broke his hand, sat for the second consecutive game . . . Lee Stempniak had a goal and an assist . . . Chris Kreider (assist) led all skaters with seven shots on goal . . . The Rangers, who had 16 giveaways, also lost in the faceoff circles again, 56 percent to 44, although St. Louis went 8-for-10.