Ducks can’t handle Rangers’ speed in 2-1 loss at the Honda Center
It took longer than a New York minute for the Ducks to find out how much the game can change from one East Coast team to the next.
For most of 60 minutes Wednesday they were largely bottled up against the New York Rangers in a tight, low-scoring game with flow but little space. While the Ducks have prided themselves on winning such affairs in their turnaround this season, they couldn’t prevent a 2-1 loss at the Honda Center.
Rangers defenseman Kevin Klein delivered his first career two-goal game, in his 555th game, the winner on a tap-in of Eric Staal’s pass with 6:41 remaining to delight the blue-shirt heavy crowd.
The pass deflected off Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm’s skate before it reached Klein.
The loss sharply contrasted the Ducks’ 7-1 win against New Jersey on Monday, which represented Anaheim’s highest-scoring game since a 9-1 win against Vancouver in January of 2014.
“I just didn’t think we executed well,” Jamie McGinn said. “We didn’t do some of the things we talked about in the room. They were playing fast, and they made us turn and go back and get pucks.”
Klein tied the score early in the second period when he shot in a long rebound from Tanner Glass. Ducks goalie John Gibson couldn’t slide over in time to stop Klein’s shot from the top of the right circle.
The Ducks pulled Gibson for an extra attacker and got set up in New York’s zone in the final minute but couldn’t break through.
Gibson made 21 saves and gave the Ducks a chance.
“I feel bad for Gibby. I thought he played an outstanding game tonight, so it’s unfortunate that we didn’t get the win for him,” McGinn said.
The hockey gods might have been at work. Klein was embarrassed in the first period by Corey Perry, who stripped Klein of the puck in New York’s zone to set up McGinn for the Ducks’ goal. McGinn one-timed a fluttering puck past the right side of goalie Antti Raanta for his 17th goal, two short of his career-high 19 from 2013-14.
But the Ducks were shut out after that.
“It’s a tough one to swallow, but we just have to get back on the horse and get ready for Friday,” Perry said.
The Rangers weren’t called for any penalties, only the third time this season the Ducks did not have a power-play opportunity.
“You can’t worry about that. That’s part of the game,” McGinn said. “You have to stay focused and continue to work and try and keep moving our legs and drawing them, but you can’t get frustrated by that.”
McGinn and David Perron scored in their Ducks debuts earlier this season, so it was news that Brandon Pirri didn’t in his debut, which came about a week earlier than initially expected.
He said before the game that it was important to get integrated with the regular season winding down, but he wasn’t rushing back from an ankle injury that had kept him out since Feb. 13.
Pirri, acquired for a sixth-round draft pick from Florida at the trade deadline, played on a line with Ryan Getzlaf and Perron and said it shouldn’t be difficult beside the playmaking center Getzlaf.
“If you [mess] that up, there’s something wrong with you, right?” Pirri said. “As I said, just be ready to shoot everything.
“That’s my game, so playing with a guy like him, it’s just being cocked at all times, so when that puck comes, I’m shooting it.”
Follow Curtis Zupke on Twitter @CurtisZupke
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