Carter Hutton made 32 saves, and the Blues took advantage of numerous mistakes in New York’s defensive zone to score two goals, as St. Louis beat the Rangers, 3-1, Tuesday night at The Garden. The Blues improved to 4-0-0 on the young season.
This one didn’t start well for the Rangers. Carl Gunnarsson scored for St. Louis just 15 seconds into the game, to make it 1-0. Jaden Schwartz picked off a sloppy Brady Skjei pass in the New York zone just moments after the opening face-off, and passed it to Gunnarsson, whose wrist shot beat Henrik Lundqvist.
The Blueshirts tied the game a few minutes later when Mika Zibanejad scored a power play goal at 2:22 to make it 1-1. Pavel Buchnevich picked up a rebound in front of the St. Louis net, and made a nifty pass to Zibanejad, who scored his 5th goal of the season.
Zibanejad has now scored in each of New York’s first four games of the season; the last Rangers to do that was Rick Nash in 2014-15.
St. Louis regained the lead midway through the 1st period. Steven Kampfer could not clear the puck out of the Rangers zone, and the loose puck made its way to Paul Stasny, whose shot was wide of the net, but Brayden Schenn took the rebound off the end boards and beat Lundqvist from an impossible angle at 13:30, deflecting it in off Lundqvist’s shoulder, to make it 2-1 St. Louis.
Neither team scored in the 2nd period, as the Blueshirts looked disorganized, and often listless. In the 3rd, the Rangers came out with more energy than they had shown all night, but they could not get one past Hutton, the Blues’ backup goalie, who made 16 saves in the period.
Aside from Zibanejad’s goal, the biggest cheers of the night may been when the Rangers successfully killed off 1:15 of a St. Louis 5-on-3 early in the 3rd period.
New York’s best chance to tie the game came when Michael Grabner had a breakaway at the tail end of a St. Louis power play, but Grabner’s quick close-in wrist shot was thwarted by Hutton at 6.38 of the 3rd, .
Schwartz scored an empty-net goal with 1:47 to play for the final 3-1 margin.
The Rangers [now 1-3-0, 2 pts] play their first division game of the season Friday night in Columbus, against the Blue Jackets.