CALGARY, Alberta (AP) The New York Rangers have been a perfect fit for the speedy Michael Grabner.
Grabner’s team-leading eighth goal 6:32 in the first period gave New York a 1-0 lead. It came on an innocent-looking 2-on-1 rush when his 40-foot wrister beat Brian Elliott on the glove side. In just 15 games, Grabner – who signed with the Rangers in the offseason – is just one goal shy of his total in 80 games with Toronto last year.
“Got off to a good start, got some confidence going and that makes life a little bit easier,” the 29-year-old Austrian said. “It’s been working in my favor the systems here. A lot of guys that can skate here, we’re trying to keep the game fast and that’s obviously my kind of style.”
“It’s impressive to see how we create chances every game,” Lundqvist said. “Sometimes it’s tough against different lineups, different systems, but we’ve been able to create a lot of scoring chances. Even the games we haven’t scored a lot we’ve had a lot of chances to do so.”
Asked if he thought the Rangers were the better team despite being outshot 36-28, New York coach Alain Vigneault said.: “In the first two periods there was no doubt. We were able to create a couple turnovers, counter attack quickly, and we were able to capitalize on our opportunities.”
Micheal Ferland spoiled Lundqvist’s shutout bid with 8:48 remaining and Elliott finished with 24 saves for Calgary, which has lost four straight and six of seven.
Flames coach Glen Gulutzan believes the game started to unravel as soon as his club fell behind on Grabner’s goal.
“We’re fragile right now and to see that go in and spot them one right there when we thought we got off to a good start and had some energy in front of our home fans, it’s deflating,” Gulutzan said. “This is a really good club and we didn’t play near the game that we needed to play and that’s on us. That’s on us, that’s on the coaching staff and myself.”
The Flames have been particularly poor at home, having lost five of their last six at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Stepan’s wrister doubled the Rangers’ lead with 8:01 left in the opening period.
Vesey made it 3-0 at 9:26 of the second as he steered a pass from Ryan McDonagh through Elliott’s pad. Buchnevich then finished off a lengthy passing sequence with 5:38 remaining in the period, scoring for the fourth straight game.
The boos from the home crowd began and the Flames were also booed as they left the ice at the end of the game.
“Not a good game,” Calgary captain Mark Giordano said. “They came out, they had a team that we knew had a lot of speed and a lot of fire power up front. We weren’t hard enough, bottom line. They made us pay.”
Ferland got the Flames on the board in the third, ending their 0-for-28 drought on the power play at home.
NOTES: Elliott fell to 3-8-0, matching his loss total from last season – when he was 23-8-6 with St. Louis. … New York is 4-0-1 in its last five against Calgary and 7-1-1 in the last nine meetings. … Flames D Dennis Wideman was back in the lineup after being scratched the last four games. …. Calgary rookie LW Matthew Tkachuk (wrist) skated this morning, prior to practice. He’s considered day-to-day… Flames C Matt Stajan was moved to left wing on the line with Mikael Backlund and Michael Frolik. … Buchnevich, the Rangers’ 21-year-old Russian rookie, had 16 goals in the KHL last season. … Kevin Hayes and Brad Skjei each had their six-game point streaks snapped for the Rangers.
Rangers: At Edmonton on Sunday in the second game of a four-game trip. The Rangers won 5-3 at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 3.
Flames: At Minnesota on Tuesday night.