Just when you thought this excruciatingly awful beginning to the Rangers season couldn’t get worse, they lose to the f’n Islanders.
1. Let me know if you’ve heard this one before. Bad start puts Rangers behind the eight ball before clawing their way back into the game only to ultimately fall short. It’s like Groundhog Day. And similar to Bill Murray, Rangers fans can’t make it stop.
2. Speaking of disturbing trends. The Rangers gave up their 8th power play goal against which puts them dead last in the NHL with a 73.3 PK%. They also committed 17 more turnovers including FIVE from Ryan McDonagh. Mind blow time: Maybe it was McDonagh who was holding Girardi back.
3. While I’d like to give the Rangers credit for once again showing resiliency, I’m beginning to wonder if it’s less about the Blueshirts and more about the opponent taking their foot off the gas with a lead. I mean Anders Lee pretty much single-handedly put the Rangers back into the game.
4. There was a lot that bothered me about tonight’s performance from the Rangers but nothing more than the Brock Nelson goal. The Rangers were completely outworked from the second the puck entered the defensive zone until it eventually ended up behind Lundqvist.
You want to know why the Rangers are having tough starts to games? They aren’t hungry enough. They lost at least five individual puck battles during that sequence. Inexcusable.
5. Depending on your feelings towards Rick Nash you either wanted to give him a hug or a smack following this one. After coming up empty on all five shots on goal – all of which were of the high danger variety – he is now sporting a paltry 2.9% shooting percentage (1-for-34). That’s Rick Nash postseason bad.
6. Speaking of Nash, according to NHL Insider Bob McKenzie the Rangers haven’t discussed a contract extension with the 33-year old forward and could potentially trade him as a rental between now and the trade deadline if they’re not able to improve on their poor start.
McKenzie added that it’s not clear whether Nash will be looking for Patrick Marleau money (three years at $6.25 million)…
…or if he’d be willing to take a pay cut to an Eric Staal (three-years at $3.5 million) level.
7. A game after costing the Rangers a point by giving up a last minute behind the goal line tally to Sidney Crosby, Henrik Lundqvist redeemed himself by looming large in the final seconds to secure a point for the Blueshirts…
After giving up a poor angle goal for the second straight game, I started questioning the abilities of Lundqvist. And while we can’t count on vintage King every game, he proved tonight there’s still plenty of gas left in the tank.
8. The last time I checked, this is a distinct kicking motion:
While this is not:
Obviously, you can’t assume the Kevin Hayes goal if this was allowed, so I’m not going to get too crazy about it, but the NHL really needs to figure this rule out. Did Smith direct the puck into the net with his skate? Probably. But was it with a “distinct kicking motion”? Not even close!
9. Another undisciplined penalty from Chris Kreider. I hate to say it, but we might have seen the best Kreider has to offer last season. While I know the Avalanche are looking for a young puck moving defenseman for Matt Duchene, if I’m Jeff Gorton I’d be taking Joe Sakic’s temperature towards a swap for Kreider.
10. Rangers down 2-1 in the shootout with one chance left to tie it up and who does AV turn to….David Desharnais.
I know Desharnais has scored in two straight games, but he’s also 0 for his last 8 in the shootout. While AV has trust issues with Buchnevich, he seems like a player who’d light it up in the shootout.
11. It was nice to see Jimmy Vesey and Jesper Fast summon their inner-Tanner Glass as they combined for 10 hits tonight.
12. Five straight losses. Only four points in eight games to start the season. Tied for most goals allowed with 30. 1-3-2 at MSG. There’s no way to sugarcoat this folks: It’s ugly. I’m not sure how AV survives the month if this keeps up.
13. Sorry, I can’t close this out on such a negative note. If there’s any ray of hope, the Rangers have been extremely unlucky this season. Despite registering at least 30 shots on goal in five straight and in seven of eight games this season, they currently sport just a 7.3% shooting percentage which is 1.2% lower than the league average while their PDO (team shooting % + team save %) is at an extremely low 97 (average is 100). You have to assume that they’ll eventually regress to the mean, but at that point you wonder if it’ll be too late.