Well, tonight’s game was just weird.
The New York Rangers looked like a hot mess for 40 minutes tonight, and after the second period, they appeared dead in the water with the Stars leading 7-3. The crowd had turned on Henrik Lundqvist after he allowed all seven goals, even though only one or two were his fault, and Ryan McDonagh fell dangerously into the boards head first.
At that point, everything looked to be caving in on the Rangers all at once. Then, the Rangers offense emerged for the third period. And while they did pull the Rangers back within a goal, it doesn’t totally excuse what had occurred 40 minutes earlier. Over the last two games, the Rangers put four goals past Carey Price and tonight they scored six against Dallas, but still came away empty handed.
A lot of people will quickly jump on Lundqvist, and while it’s evident his game hasn’t been up to par, this isn’t entirely a Henrik Lundqvist issue. We’ve always wondered what the Rangers would look like without Lundqvist bailing them out on a nightly basis, and suddenly, here we are.
If these last handful of games haven’t alarmed the front office to the point where they need to make a change, then the Rangers may be in trouble. The Rangers are just constantly out of sync in their own end, and as a result, they are leaving players unattended in the front of the net. It happened on a few different instances tonight, and these kind of breakdowns certainly don’t help while their star goaltender is trying to rediscover his game.
While the Rangers as a whole weren’t good enough tonight, there were a few bright spots. Mika Zibanejad picked up two goals in his return to the lineup tonight, including the goal that made it a one goal game. Pavel Buchnevich also quietly had himself an impressive night by picking up the second three goal game of his career.
After tonight’s loss, the Rangers will have tomorrow off before heading into Toronto for a meeting with the young and skilled Maple Leafs.