With just under three minutes left in the second period Saturday, New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba was given a misconduct for his second fighting major and before heading to the locker room, the team captain flung his helmet at the boards and yelled at his teammates on the bench.
Roughly 400 miles away, the St. Louis Blues experienced similar frustration in a game at Pittsburgh.
Two teams agitated by recent performances get together Monday when the Rangers host the Blues.
After a spirited run to the Eastern Conference finals last season, the Rangers are struggling to match the high expectations and their dissatisfaction seemed to reach its boiling point with a 5-2 home loss Saturday to the Chicago Blackhawks.
Trouba took two fighting majors, in addition to a hooking penalty that led to Chicago’s third power-play goal, and his emotional display occurred after the Rangers allowed two power-play goals in 60 seconds to fall behind by three goals.
The loss to Chicago gave New York a four-game home losing streak (0-3-1) and a middling 4-6-4 home record after going 27-10-4 on home ice last year. It also sent the Rangers to their 10th loss in 15 games (5-7-3) since Nov. 3 and pushed them 14 points behind the first-place New Jersey Devils in the Metropolitan Division.
“There’s a lot of story left to be written,” Trouba said. “It’s not a done thing by any means, but it’s going on for a bit now and something needs to change. I think there needs to be a little bit more of a pushback from ourselves within. You can’t keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result.”
After Trouba’s display, Mika Zibanejad scored a power-play goal, but the Rangers fell behind by three goals a second time before Chris Kreider scored with an extra attacker, capping a night where New York never led.
The defeat to the Blackhawks came one day after the Rangers absorbed a 3-2 overtime loss to the visiting Ottawa Senators.
“It’s a results league,” Trouba said. “You need to win hockey games. It’s an emotional game. You’ve got to play with some emotion, some energy.”
St. Louis can relate to New York’s disappointment after enduring a 6-2 loss to the Penguins on Saturday.
The Blues lost eight consecutive games from Oct. 24-Nov. 8, then won seven straight. Since their 3-1 home win over the Anaheim Ducks on Nov. 21, the Blues are 1-5-0 in their past six.
During the past six games, St. Louis has allowed 31 goals, including five on 13 power plays and 10 in the first period.
The loss at Pittsburgh marked the 10th time the Blues lost by at least three goals and ninth time they allowed at least five goals.
“Everybody has to step up,” St. Louis coach Craig Berube said. “Right now, we’re not good. We don’t have enough people going in the right direction right now in all areas of the game. All of them. Everybody. It’s not good enough. Until more guys step up and play better and we start pulling together as a team, it won’t change.”
Former Ranger Pavel Buchnevich and Vladimir Tarasenko scored for the Blues on Saturday, but they allowed three goals in a period for the sixth straight game and 14th instance this season.
“Just not playing good enough,” St. Louis left wing Ivan Barbashev said. “Giving up three goals in pretty much every single game in one period. It’s just the way it goes right now. We’ve got to figure something out just to be better out there.”
–Field Level Media