PREVIEW: Ducks host Rangers (7p, Prime Ticket)


ANAHEIM, Calif. — The New York Rangers are hoping to rebound from a tough loss on Sunday to the Los Angeles Kings when they face the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center on Tuesday night.

New York (24-19-5) blew a 2-0 first-period lead in a 4-2 loss to the Kings, falling for only the sixth time in 22 games (16-5-1) when scoring first.

Between the pipes: John Gibson vs. Henrik Lundqvist

Anaheim (22-17-9) played an uncharacteristically poor defensive game in a 6-2 loss to San Jose on Sunday night. Despite outshooting the Sharks 35-26, Anaheim never led. The Ducks drew within 3-2 on Ryan Getzlaf’s fifth goal of the season early in the third period, but surrendered the final three goals that snapped a two-game winning streak.

More on the Ducks below.

The loss to LA was New York’s second straight to start the road trip that concludes Thursday in San Jose, and fifth in its last seven games.

Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist played well in the loss, stopping all 23 shots he faced at even strength, but got little help from a penalty kill unit that had not surrendered an extra man goal in five of the last six games.

“I think they’re one of the better teams to use their points and get people in front all night, especially the first two periods,” Lundqvist said. “They’re around you all the time and every shot feels like you have to fight so hard to see it. They keep their game simple, but it works when they’re on top of it.

“You don’t have to be very bright to figure out why we lost this one. We just couldn’t get it done on our penalty kill and I’m a big part of that.”

Center J.T. Miller lamented the Rangers’ inability to build on a two-goal lead against a team in the midst of a six-game losing streak.

“It’s frustrating,” Miller said. “We came out with the right mindset and preparation and I think we played one of our best first periods in a while.

“The same thing in the third, we were physical, we were on them and had our looks. We’re just finding the wrong end of the stick right now.”

Hammered with injuries and illness during the past few weeks, New York welcomed Michael Grabner (flu) and Mark Staal (hip flexor) back into the lineup. The pair is expected play Tuesday.

The Ducks expressed disappointment with their overall play in their second loss of the season against their intrastate rivals.

“We did too much standing around,” Getzlaf said. “The intensity wasn’t there with our legs. I thought in the first period we played OK. We got a big goal at the end of the second and the start of the third, and then took a penalty again and couldn’t kill it.

“We lost the special teams tonight. We have to be mentally stronger and ready to play coming off days off.”

Ducks coach Randy Carlyle searched for answers after solid victories against Pittsburgh and Los Angeles at the start of the current five-game homestand.

“It’s one of those you leave scratching your head,” Carlyle said. “Coming off a day off, you’d have more energy and that would be tilted in your favor, playing against a San Jose team that played last night.

“We didn’t execute with the puck at all and were chasing the majority of the game. We didn’t give them a lot, but the ones we gave them they made count.”

Anaheim is looking to split the two-game season series after dropping a 4-1 decision at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 21. Lundqvist fashioned one of his strongest performances of the season by stopping 39 shots, only surrendering a goal to winger Ondrej Kase, one of the most productive forwards of late. His assist on Getzlaf’s goal in the Sunday loss gives his 11 points (6 goals, 5 assists) in his last 11 games.

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