St. Louis Blues defenseman Al MacInnis has one of the hardest slap shots in hockey. Monday night, he put on a slap-shot clinic at Madison Square Garden.
"It just seemed like one of those nights the puck had eyes," said MacInnis.
"Our coverage on MacInnis wasn't very good," said Rangers coach John Muckler after watching his team start the season with three losses.
MacInnis scored the natural hat trick during a 12-minute span in the first period. With St. Louis on a power play, MacInnis scored his first goal of the season at 4:56 on a slap shot from the right point that beat Rangers goaltender Mike Richter cleanly.
"I think it went off of (Rangers defenseman Brian) Leetch's stick," said MacInnis.
At 11:49 MacInnis scored on a shot from outside the blue line that bounced off Richter's right pad and trickled into the net.
"I'm just trying to put the puck on net in that situation," said MacInnis. "It skipped. It's worth shooting from out there because sometimes the ice might be uneven and the puck can take strange bounces."
MacInnis then beat Richter with a slap shot from the left point at 16:48 after Pierre Turgeon won a faceoff in the Rangers' end.
St. Louis padded the lead to 4-0 with a goal from Geoff Courtnall at 9:05 of the second period off Dan Cloutier, who replaced Richter at the start of the second period.
"The positive thing about it is that we kept on trying," said Muckler. New York rallied to 4-2 behind third-period goals by Brian Leetch at 3:48 and Alexander Karpovtsev at 11:34.
"It's nice to get that fifth goal but we were cheating a little," said MacInnis. "We were giving up too many odd-man situations."
Nevertheless, the Rangrs' rally was too little, too late.
"We got outskated right into the ice," Wayne Gretzky said. "They didn't do anything fancy. They came in and skated hard and deserved to win."
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