- The New York Rangers started the season off with back-to-back victories, and since then have gone 0-4-1.
- Tuesday’s contest vs. the Arizona Coyotes was looking like it would be another regulation loss, as the Rangers trailed in the shot battle 21-4 after one, and 29-16 after two periods of play.
- But somehow the game was tied after 40 minutes of play, and then both teams proceeded to play a very underwhelming, and boring, third period which saw a combined eight shots (5 for Arizona & 3 for the Rangers).
- Overtime came and gone in sixty four seconds as Christian Dvorak scored the game-winner without the Rangers ever touching the puck.
Coyotes win. Dvorak with the game winner. Rangers didn’t touch puck in OT. pic.twitter.com/MSuUbGXEn2— Tom Urtz Boooonier (@TomUrtzJr) October 23, 2019
- It was a frustrating game, because once again the Rangers were playing on their heels, and just giving the Coyotes room to dictate terms of play.
- It was evident on the first goal in which Lawson Crouse was able to waft a puck past Alexandar Georgiev, and something that continued all night long.
Not great coverage here. Crouse got a gift. pic.twitter.com/tofkyiMjxM— Tom Urtz Boooonier (@TomUrtzJr) October 22, 2019
- There were also elements of hesitancy on the second goal, as it was pretty clear what Alex Goligoski was going to do as he inched his way toward the circle to launch a shot on goal during the power play.
Goligoski can really shoot the puck, and he gets a goal with seconds remaining on the PP. pic.twitter.com/PA7u1eLEJK— Tom Urtz Boooonier (@TomUrtzJr) October 23, 2019
- But even though those things happened, the Rangers were in a position to play for a win in the third; thanks to a pair of goals by Tony DeAngelo.
- DeAngelo’s first of the game (second of the season) saw him wisely follow the play going to the net. Pavel Buchnevich made a defensive play at the Rangers’ blue line and carried it up the ice, and DeAngelo capitalized on the rebound created by Lemieux’s shot in the first period.
Buchnevich gets a secondary assist, but great defensive play and carry. Lemieux shot stopped and DeAngelo buried the trailer pic.twitter.com/h8FffLZO0L— Tom Urtz Boooonier (@TomUrtzJr) October 23, 2019
- DeAngelo’s second of the game (third of the season) was the result of some quick thinking on the power play. Kaapo Kakko picked up his first assist of his NHL career, a secondary assist, and Ryan Strome found a streaking DeAngelo who once again went to the front of the net during the second period.
- So given the situation the Rangers were in, you’d think they’d go all out with their best lines in the third and try and chip away at the shots on goal deficit, and attempt to stop their four-game losing streak. As we now know; that didn’t happen and the Rangers exited Tuesday’s contest with a lone point.
- After the game David Quinn was asked about ice time, specifically Kakko’s at first, because for the first time all season the Rangers’ top prospect logged under 10:00 of play.
“It’s not going to happen overnight. I hope it does, but you just have to dig your way out.” — Coach Quinn pic.twitter.com/oq372ZlhaW— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) October 23, 2019
- Kakko skated 9:51 during the game, 8:55 of which was 5v5. He was “lost” in the third period by Quinn, as he played just 2:39 through five shifts. He wasn’t the only one, as Lias Andersson had four shifts and 1:58 of ice time in the third, and 7:34 during the entire game.
- Quinn explained he cut things down to three lines, although eight players mostly skated in the third.
David Quinn said they cut it down to three lines at the end of the game, but it was mostly eight players- Panarin, Zibanejad, Fast, Kreider, Howden, Buchnevich, Strome and Smith.— Vince Z. Mercogliano (@vzmercogliano) October 23, 2019
Kreider and Fast were rotating on the RW of the first and second lines. #NYR
- Panarin, Zibanejad, Buchnevich, Fast, and Kreider are players you want out in the third, but I’m not sure I’d say the same about Brett Howden or Brendan Smith even though he’s not one of the team’s biggest problems.
- You could say the same about Strome in a way, and the issue is more how the players were deployed in terms of lines.
- It is soon getting to a point where the team will have played enough games where we can reasonably stop saying “it’s only be x games...” but Tuesday’s loss was Game 7 of the season, and it was curious to see the bench get shortened and Quinn not try something like Buchnevich back on the first line, and Kakko back on the second line with Kreider.
- This is a developing year, and somewhat of an “acceleration of the rebuild,” but we haven’t really seen that thus far. So far we’ve heard things about players needing to show more and what not. That’s led to questions about deployment, ice time distribution and so on.
- Because of that concept, Filip Chytil and Vitali Kravtsov were sent to Hartford to start the season, all while the Rangers’ No. 7 pick from 2017 is wasting away on the fourth line. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
- But with all that said, do you know what could put a stop to some of the questions... skating the best possible lineup and keeping lines and pairings together for a somewhat extended period.
- If after that point in time certain players are struggling and fail to produce, line demotions and ice time reduction becomes a lot easier. Because Quinn will have provided them an opportunity, and at that point it is a situation where the player(s) simply failed to rise to the occasion.
- Speaking about rising to the occasion... Filip Chytil should get promoted soon, and given a real shot in the top six. He’s tallied eight points in six games running with the Pack, and keep your eyes peeled for a story about him coming to Banter soon.
- Adding a forward in would mean sending one down, and if Rangers care about the long term, the forwarding going down to Hartford should be Howden based on his struggles.
- Setting the forward lines is certainly something that is a priority, but addressing the defense, primarily Marc Staal, is something that needs to happen soon.
I've been rightfully picking on Staal, but, well, Hajek has had his teeth kicked in too. The team with just some combination of Skjei-DeAngelo-Fox-Trouba looks highly competitive.— Jeff Gorton the Jet Swindler (@RangerSmurf) October 23, 2019
Want to fix the offense? Start with the defense. pic.twitter.com/I6YngzjTQS
- Staal seems to be immune from being held accountable, and if the Rangers are going to keep playing him they need to do a better job limiting his minutes, and sheltering him on the third pair. I’m not sure if/when that will happen, but until it does it will have a chain reaction on the rest of the defense.
- On the flip side, although he hasn’t tallied a point yet, Adam Fox has looked pretty good.
Wanted to try something different. Adam Fox has played seven games thus far, and although he doesn't have a point, his underlying numbers look decent. Of note that he's averaging least ATOI 5v5 among D. pic.twitter.com/GgjPc0uG8p— Tom Urtz Boooonier (@TomUrtzJr) October 23, 2019
- After seven games of play Mika Zibanejad still leads the Rangers in scoring with 11 points. Artemiy Panarin and Jacob Trouba are tied for second with six points, Pavel Buchnevich sits in third with five points, and DeAngelo, Jesper Fast, and Ryan Strome each are tied with four points a piece.
- The Rangers are back in action again on Thursday, and they will take on the league leading Buffalo Sabres (17 points in 10 games) at Madison Square Garden.