- I tweeted this and you guys didn’t like it, so I’ll double down on it and blog it too. The Rangers wholeheartedly deserved better last night, while at the same time not being good enough. It happens. The Rangers out-shot and out-chanced Columbus, but got goalied in some instances and just plain missed the net in others. I won’t tell you they deserved to win, exactly, but they could have. Still, I will repeat, it was not a good enough effort against yet another struggling team where the Rangers left points on the table.
- I will say, Jaroslav Halak didn’t do himself or the team any favors. That second goal absolutely cannot happen. The third wasn’t that much better. It puts the team in a deeper hole than they need to be, and changes the complexation of the game. Now, if the Rangers offense looked more like it did two games ago even three soft goals wouldn’t have been a problem, but the Rangers didn’t and they lost. Again.
- Halak did take full responsibility after the game, talked about his struggles and that he needed to be better. It might mean nothing but I like someone who takes responsibilities for their actions and doesn’t deflect the blame.
- The power play continues to struggle, which is somewhat shocking after they way they started the year. Panain saved the 0-for with the man advantage with a nice little intercept and finish to score the Rangers’ only goal with one second left on the 5-on-3. The ensuing 75 seconds after (right before the second period ended) were the best the Rangers looked all game.
- I liked the kids, believe it or not. Kaapo Kakko is really starting to feel himself, and Alexis Lafreniere had his own moments of danger. In a limited stint, I thought Vitali Kravtsov was fine — but not sure how much you can expect from him when Filip Chytil goes down with an injury and he only got 11 minutes of ice time with rotating fourth-liners as his center. He did get two shots off, though.
- Speaking of Chytil, it was a headshot so you have to assume (while I hate doing so) a concussion. The Rangers said it was an upper body injury and he was day-to-day. While speaking of head issues obviously the most important thing is for him to be clean and clear before he goes back on the ice, full stop. Business only perspective, the Rangers desperately miss the offensive punch he adds to that third line down the middle. They have very little depth in that regard.
- I’m not trying to bag the guy, but the honeymoon (for some) with Sammy Blais is over. He’s a fine fourth-liner, maybe bottom of the card for the third line, but he looks like he’s skating in mud and hasn’t positively impacted a single game so far this year. I know he’s coming off an injury, and had a nice start to the year last season, but whatever impact the Rangers thought (or tried to convince themselves) they were getting in return for a no-question first-liner has panned out about as well as we said it would.
- I’ve said it before but I really like Ryan Carpenter for the fourth line. I think he’s a good fit that gets the job done.
- Games like this happen. Stretches like this happen. It’s odd to have it come directly off of some of the best offensive performances of the year to kick things off, but it happens. If this stuff is still happening (consistently) in January then we can talk.