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Rangers Vs. Jets: Out of gas

New York Rangers v Winnipeg Jets Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images
  • I would love to know why the NHL — in their infinite wisdom — elected to have the Rangers open their season at home on a Tuesday, then play back-to-back games on Thursday and Friday, including the first game of the year to the Jets. The storyline for New York ended up being the Rangers got out-goalied and were gassed by the time the third period rolled around. One one hand I would love to tell you the Rangers deserved better (and they probably did) but on the other the final 10 minutes of that game looked a lot like the final two games in the playoffs this year. It happens.
  • A lot of tired forwards — especially the big boys — down the stretch. A few instances where there was just a slew of overpassing opportunities, guys not able to get by their man when they finally did get the puck, and even more defensive zone shifts that were dominated by the Rangers standing and watching before the go-ahead goal. It ended up in three goals the final five minutes (one in an empty net) and the Rangers’ first loss of the year.
  • Jaroslav Halak certainly deserved better, too. What a game from him, and a great first look at what the Rangers might have as their backup netminder this year. He was absolutely fantastic.
  • The best forwards of the night to me, however, were Alexis Lafreniere, Kaapo Kakko, Vincent Trocheck, Mika Zibanejad, and Chris Kreider. Especially early those guys were flying, and Lafreniere specifically had about as dominant of a second period as I’ve ever seen him have. The problem is, as good as Halak was, Connor Hellebuyck was even better, posting 21 saves on 21 shots in the second period.
  • Hellebuyck is also why the Rangers’ power play went 0-for-2. The Rangers had some incredibly juicy looks with the man advantage they just couldn’t get to go over the line. Really liked the work they did with it though.
  • I said this last night, and have been saying it since the season started, but Trocheck is just such a good fit for this team. He’s always doing something, and has meshed just so well with Panarin and company so far. The work he did on the lone Rangers’ goal of the night was more proof of that. Three points in three games so far for him too.
  • That Dryden Hunt finish by the way? Wow.
  • The kids, at the very least, continue to get good ice time. Laffy and Kakko both over 17 minutes again, Filip Chytil nearly got 15, and I think we can anoint K’Andre Miller as an adult even though he’s a kid too.
  • That said, Gallant — for reasons I will never understand — decided to put Zac Jones in the press box for eternally hanging around for reasons no one will understand Libor Hajek. Hajek wasn’t exactly horrible last night, but there is no reason why someone who has a (hopefully) long future in the NHL in Jones should be sitting for Hajek who at this point is a journeyman who has stayed on one team. Maybe Gallant did it for resting purposes on a back-to-back, but Jones played a full professional season last year, so not sure that holds much water. Hopefully Jones is back in Monday.
  • Sometimes nights like Friday happen. It is what it is. On to the Ducks.