Rangers head coach John Tortorella warned prior to Thursday night's game that he expected the Chicago Blackhawks to come out flying at Madison Square Garden, looking to snap their shocking nine-game losing streak.
And the coach was 100 percent correct in his prediction as the Blackhawks scored three times on their first four shots, and four times in total over the first period, in steamrolling a shellshocked Rangers team through 20 minutes of action. That four-gaol outburst paved the way for Chicago's first win since January 20th, a 4-2 decision over the Rangers, who lost for the first time in five games.
It didn't take long for bad vibes to fill The Garden Thursday night as 'Hawks captain Jonathan Toews was awarded a penalty shot just 65 seconds into the game because Dan Girardi covered the puck with his glove while in Martin Biron's crease. Toews proceeded to beat Biron low to the stick side for his 28th goal to put the Rangers in an early 1-0 hole.
62 seconds later Chicago defenseman Nick Leddy beat a screened Biron for his third goal; and then at the four-minute mark of the game the Blackhawks upped their lead to 3-0 when Patrick Sharp scored on a breakaway.
Marian Hossa added another breakaway goal at 9:38 as Chicago scored four times on their first seven shots against Biron.
The Rangers regoruped in the second period and were buoyed by Marc Staal's first goal since February 11, 2011---a slapper through a Stu Bickel screen in front just 3:04 into the period. But the Rangers were unable to take advantage of several power play opportunities, and then had a video review uphold on on-ice call that an apparant goal by Ryan Callahan at 14:48 never completely crossed the goal line.
The Rangers did creap closer late in the third period when Carl Hagelin deflected Ryan McDonagh's pass past Crawford at 15:15 for his ninth goal of the season. But 4-2 is as close as the Blueshirts would get.
The Rangers had seven power plays and did not convert on a single one on Thursday. They totaled just 22 shots against Chicago netminder Corey Crawford.