The red-hot New York Rangers were surprised by the answer Saturday night, as they suddenly went cold and dropped a 9-2 decision to the Maple Leafs, who have now won three in a row.
The Leafs had lost seven consecutive games before snapping the streak last Tuesday with a 5-4 win at home over Tampa Bay. On Friday, Toronto beat Carolina 4-3 at Raleigh, N.C.
"It's embarrassing," said Rangers defenceman Darius
Kasparaitis. "We don't feel good about it."
Kasparaitis, at least, had some reason to feel upbeat. He collected his second and third points of the season, including his first goal, and was one of six Rangers who wasn't a minus player against the Leafs. Then again, if Kasparaitis, 34, who has battled nagging knee
injuries the past couple seasons, is pacing the Rangers' attack, it's not a good sign for New York.
"It's not easy to lose 9-2 and forget about it, but that's what
we have to do," said captain Jaromir Jagr, who had two assists against the Leafs. "We have an important game tomorrow. Hopefully, we'll rebound."
The Rangers are back at home Sunday for their second game in two days, a divisional game against the New Jersey Devils.
New York is in first place in the Atlantic Division u and third in the Eastern Conference u with an 18-11-4 record for 40 points. The Devils, who lost to visiting Detroit 2-1 on Saturday, are in second place at 17-12-2 for 36 points.
The Rangers allowed only seven goals during their five-game winning streak from Dec. 7-14. Prior to the game against Toronto, the most goals New York had allowed in a game this season was seven, in 7-4 losses at Buffalo (Oct. 14) and versus the New York Islanders (Dec. 3).
"I don't know what to say," said Rangers goalie Henrik
Lundqvist, who surrendered eight goals on 24 shots against the Leafs before being pulled for backup Kevin Weekes after two periods. "It was a tough game. And tomorrow is another tough game."