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Rangers lose third straight as Henrik Lundqvist is chased from net again vs. Coyotes

Lundqvist allowed five goals and was replaced in second period by Alexandar Georgiev. Lundqvist was pulled from his last start Wednesday vs. the Penguins.

New York Rangers center Brett Howden (21) plays

New York Rangers center Brett Howden (21) plays the puck in front of Arizona Coyotes goalie Darcy Kuemper (35) as Arizona Coyotes' Ilya Lyubushkin (46) defends during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. Photo Credit: AP/Ralph Freso

GLENDALE, Ariz. — In the opener of their three-game western road trip Friday night in Colorado, the Rangers took 10 penalties, and that was easy to point to as the biggest reason why they lost in a rout.

On Sunday afternoon in Arizona, they cut the number of penalties to four, but they still lost to the struggling Coyotes, 5-0, and goalie Henrik Lundqvist was pulled for the second straight start.

The five-goal loss followed a 6-1 loss to the Avalanche, which followed a 7-2 loss to the Penguins, so the Rangers have been outscored 18-3 in the last three games.

Lundqvist, who sat out Friday’s game after being pulled in the third period of Wednesday’s loss to the Penguins, was replaced by Alexandar Georgiev after allowing the fifth goal at 16:38 of the second period Sunday. He stopped 27 of 32 shots.

“We’re just not playing good enough to win,’’ defenseman Marc Staal said. “We’re making it too easy on teams and turning a lot of pucks over and just doing things that lose you hockey games. Right now, we’re doing that in a big way.’’

The Rangers played for the second straight game without center Kevin Hayes, their second-leading scorer. The shutout loss was their third of the season and they hit the halfway mark at 17-17-7 after 41 games. Arizona is 18-21-3.

The road trip will end Tuesday in Las Vegas before the Rangers return for a home-and-home set with the Islanders at the Garden on Thursday and in Brooklyn on Saturday afternoon.

In contrast with Friday — when they had to kill three penalties in the first period against the Avalanche, including Cody McLeod’s five-minute major for boarding — the Rangers had only one first-period penalty on Sunday, as Brendan Smith was sent off for elbowing at 6:37.

The Coyotes scored on the ensuing power play on a net-front deflection by Conor Garland at 7:19. Mario Kempe scored two minutes later, and the result was never in much question after that.

“We’ve just got to get off to better starts,’’ coach David Quinn said. “We’re fragile mentally and physically right now, the way things are going. You lose three games like that, there’s a whole heap of problems right now, and we’ve got to address them.

“We had no legs today. We were clearly the slower team — they had more jump than we did. And it wasn’t just a certain group of guys; it looked like it was every man. We just didn’t have any energy. And you can’t play with no energy in this league.’’

Left wing Chris Kreider agreed that after the Rangers gave up the first goal, it looked as if they were down by more than one. He attributed that to the way things have gone the last three games.

“The last couple games have been obviously rough, and giving up a lot [goals],’’ Kreider said. “And we were quick to get frustrated tonight, myself included. It’s been a recurring thing, trying to do too much, instead of just doing our jobs to the best of our ability.’’

The Coyotes poured it on with three goals in the second period — a second net-front deflection by Garland, a wrister between the pads by Clayton Keller and a rebound jam-in off a shot that Lundqvist couldn’t snare in his catching glove. After that goal, Quinn pulled the plug on Lundqvist (12-11-7).

“Listen, we hung him out to dry too often,’’ Quinn said. “When you have the puck as much as they did, it’s tough. It’s exhausting.’’

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