Originally posted on The Rangers Tribune  |  Last updated 11/19/11

All good things come to an end at some point, but it's that much more frustrating when it ends without much of a fight. The New York Rangers did not contest the Montreal Canadiens tonight when defending their seven-game winning streak, and also missed out on an opportunity to make franchise history. There are 101 reasons you can come up with for tonight's loss, but the bottom line is that they were a step behind Montreal all night and were not the better team by any stretch. They deserved to lose and their streak deserved to end. 

I mentioned in the pregame how crucial it would be for the Rangers to get on the board first in this game, mainly because they've been so good when leading throughout their winning streak, and also to set the tempo and wipe-out Montreal's home ice advantage right off that bat. That didn't happen, though, as the Canadiens struck first just 3:45 into the first period. While the Habs were on the powerplay, Erik Cole was able to beat a pinched Michael Del Zotto, found room in the offensive zone and sent a bullet far side past Marty Biron to give Montreal an early 1-0 lead. 

That goal did not wake the Rangers up as it should've, so the Habs continued to pile on the pressure. The Canadiens sent 12 shots towards Biron in the opening stanza, and Marty was amazing between the pipes for New York when stopping eleven of them. If not for him, the game just may have been blown away in the first twenty minutes, but thankfully Biron kept his team in it. 

In the second period, still, the Rangers were sluggish and allowing the Habs to walk all over them. At 8:12 of the second, Brian Gionta beat Biron with a quick wrister from a bad angle and gave the Canadiens a 2-0 advantage. That was a shot Biron should've stopped without a doubt, but once again, Del Zotto was the defenseman beat on the play, allowing Gionta time and space to pick his spot. 

Biron redeemed himself after that goal, as he was forced to make another 10 saves in the second period just to keep the game within reach for the Rangers. Montreal didn't look amazing by any means, either. It was more about what the Rangers weren't doing than what the Habs were doing. They had a chance to answer back late in the period when they were given a powerplay, but the Blueshirts barely generated any scoring chances with the man advantage, so that was another opportunity blown. 

Nothing changed in the third period with the Rangers turning the puck over four times in the first few minutes. Captain Ryan Callahan was then thrown in the box for the second time in the game and to the powerplay went Montreal. Tomas Plekanec's bomb from the point made its way through a screen and past Marty Biron to give the Canadiens a 3-0 lead. That was the goal that officially put the Rangers to bed, because with the way they were playing, there was no way they were coming back from a 3-0 defecit. 

To add salt to the wound, at 13:47 Brian Gionta tallied his second of the game when he one-timed a Scott Gomez feed top-shelf. This came soon after the small amount of momentum the Rangers were building was thwarted by a handful of weak calls by the officials. I'm not using faulty penalties as an excuse, but some of the calls made on the Rangers tonight were inexplicable and that's all I will say about that. 

The Rangers simply never got their game going tonight. They were outshot 31-17, didn't show any signs of life until late in the third period and they gave Marty Biron very little support. The Blueshirts reverted back to their old ways in this evening's loss and they have no one to blame but themselves. Sure, the Canadiens played well defensively, but the Rangers were a step slower than their opponent all night and there's no excuse for that when you've had the past three days off. 

With all that said, this isn't a reason to panic, either. The team won seven straight games prior to tonight and one loss will not kill them in November. Their next game will be on Wednesday against the Florida Panthers, and that's a game they should absolutely dominate with a bounce-back effort. I'm not going to lose sleep over this one. Throw it out and move on. 

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