Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist pulled in first period

Paul Bereswill

Henrik Lundqvist was lifted in the first period on Thursday night after giving up three goals, but it wasn't all his fault.

The New York Rangers' current nine-game home stand has not been kind to them, and it wasn't getting any better in the first period on Thursday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Rangers surrendered three goals in the first 11 minutes, a start that earned goaltender Henrik Lundqvist an early seat on the bench.

But while Lundqvist is the last line of defense, it's hard to put all of the blame on him as the skaters in front of him were doing their part to put the Rangers in an early hole.

On the first goal, Blue Jackets forward Matt Calvert absolutely blew past defenseman Anton Stralman through the neutral zone.

Yes, you would probably like to see the goalie you just signed to an eight-year contract extension make that stop (and he's done plenty of times in his career), but that doesn't excuse the defensive play in front of him.

It was even worse on the second goal, which went to former Rangers forward Artem Anisimov. The culprit on that play was rookie defenseman Dylan McIlrath (making his NHL debut) going out of his way to deliver a big hit in the neutral zone. It was a shining example as to how going for big hits can lead to problems as the Blue Jackets were able to go up the ice on a three-on-one rush thanks in part to McIlrath being nowhere near the play.

That's just bad timing and a bad play by McIlrath.

Lundqvist's numbers get crushed and he is the one that gets benched, but he wasn't the only problem in the first period for the Rangers.

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