Rangers fall to Maple Leafs in overtime despite Kid Line’s good night

TORONTO — Had the Rangers won in regulation time over the Maple Leafs on Wednesday night, Jimmy Vesey said, it would have highlighted their 60-minute effort and defensive play.

But they didn’t win.

With just over four minutes remaining in the third period on Toronto’s inevitable push, defenseman Timothy Liljegren fended off a rebound to tie the game and force overtime. Maple Leafs star forward Mitchell Marner then scored 19 seconds into overtime to hand the Rangers a 3-2 loss at Scotiabank Arena.

In the space of 4½ minutes, Rangers went from a 2-1 lead into a suddenly different narrative.

“A few spurts of good hockey and then I think we got a little bit off that in the third,” captain Jacob Trouba said. “We kind of hounded each other and gave them too many good looks. Such a good team, they will capitalize if you give them so many good chances.

Mitchell Marner scored the game-winning goal over Igor Shesterkin in the Rangers’ 3-2 loss to the Maple Leafs.
PA

The consensus in the Rangers locker room was that they got too passive in the third period, during which they let the Maple Leafs pick up speed in the neutral zone, create too many off-the-run chances and generate chances secondary. Head coach Gérard Gallant, however, was much less critical than his players, calling the Rangers’ efforts “excellent”.

Only one line – the Kid Line – showed up to play for Rangers. Alexis Lafrenière, Filip Chytil and Kaapo Kakko single-handedly kept Rangers in the game, behind Chytil’s two second-half goals, putting the visitors ahead after falling 1-0 in First period.

The other three units? Not really.


Filip Chytil receives congratulations from Alexis Lafrenière after scoring one of his two goals in the Rangers defeat.
Filip Chytil receives congratulations from Alexis Lafrenière after scoring one of his two goals in the Rangers defeat.
USA TODAY Sports

To put Chris Kreider back on his natural left wing, Gallant traded him to Vesey, but it didn’t have the desired effect. Kreider, who was beaten by Liljegren to the puck on the tying goal, was no match for advancing Vincent Trocheck and Barclay Goodrow. This line was not only outscored 1-0, but also overshot 10-2.

Vesey, Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad were also beaten 4-2. Will Cuylle’s fourth unit, making his NHL debut, Jake Leschyshyn and Julien Gauthier only recorded 4:58 of ice time, so there wasn’t much to do.


Filip Chytil looks to keep the puck away from Timothy Liljegren, who scored the tying goal for the Maple Leafs in the Rangers' 3-2 overtime loss.
Filip Chytil looks to keep the puck away from Timothy Liljegren, who scored the tying goal for the Maple Leafs in the Rangers’ 3-2 overtime loss.
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“They played well,” Gallant said of the lines that weren’t dubbed for their age. “I liked the way they played. It was a really good game, I think if you look at their top six guys, they had a few chances too, but it wasn’t like they dominated our top guys. .

Of course, Rangers can hang their hats on the fact that they kept Marner, Auston Matthews and Michael Bunting off the scoresheet in regulation. But they lost a winnable game against a club they want to be considered equal with.

Both points were there for the taking, and they had to settle for one.

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