Rangers Reactions Week 2: Showing Perseverance

Rangers Reactions Week 2: Showing Perseverance

NHL

Rangers Reactions Week 2: Showing Perseverance

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@NYRangers on Twitter

The Rangers have started this season surprisingly successfully. The team has shown that they have resolve and commitment. They don’t die easily, have the ability to win tough games, but still have much to improve upon as the season continues.

The team played three times since last week’s edition of Rangers Reactions, managing two victories to one loss. They now sit 4-2-1 on the season, good for 9 points putting them third in the Metropolitan Division.

We are still seeing adjustments to the new coaching staff and the new system in place, but the team is generating scoring through most of the lineup and goaltender Igor Shesterkin has been lights out for the most part, masking most defensive short comings. The team needs its superstars to start performing like superstars, and the loss at the end of the week certainly put a damper on things, but I’m still enjoying watching this team suit up. Let’s get into the games:

Game 5: Win @ Nashville (3-1)

This marks three straight road wins for the Rangers. This team is starting to look really good. Nashville hasn’t had the most impressive start to the season, but with the amount of posts the Rangers hit in this game the score could’ve easily been much higher in the Rangers favor.

Igor Shesterkin got the start in net and for the third straight game he held the opponent to one goal. He looks great in net, and that’s putting it mildly. He seems unbeatable at times, earning the second star honors in this contest. 

Alexis Lafrenière earned first star honors with a goal and an assist. His third-period goal ended up being the game winner, his second game-winning-goal in three games. He finished a nifty passing play that featured Adam Fox driving down the wing and centering the puck to Sammy Blais. Blais carved two defenders with one of the best toe drags I’ve ever seen before flipping the puck across the crease for Lafrenière to tap it in. Blais and Lafrenière both assisted on the game’s opening goal by Filip Chytil, who buried a backhand shot in the first period.

Barclay Goodrow iced the game with an empty netter for his first goal as a Ranger. Philip Tomasino scored in the second period for the Predators, a goal that tied the game and forced a back-and-forth contest for the remainder of the time. He took advantage of the puck being behind the net, leaving Shesterkin in an awkward position, and banked it in off the Rangers goaltender. This was Tomasino’s first goal of his NHL career which marks the third time a rookie has potted their first career goal against the Rangers this season. 

Shesterkin stopped 23 of the 24 shots he faced while the Nashville backstop, Juuse Saros, stopped 27 of the 29 shots the Rangers put on net. Again, the Rangers could have had easily three or four more goals, with Mika Zibanejad hitting a couple posts, Chris Kreider dinging one, and a disallowed goal from Ryan Lindgren due to an offsides at the start of the play. The Rangers went 0/4 on the powerplay but 3/3 on penalty kills.

Game 6: Win @ Ottawa (3-2)

The Rangers ended their road trip with an exclamation point, extending their winning streak to four games with a comeback victory against the Ottawa Senators. The Senators led for almost the entire game, literally. Nick Paul scored the game’s opening goal 41 seconds in and Josh Norris would extend the lead to two with a goal early in the third period.

The Rangers got their first goal of the game with just over five minutes remaining in the third period, when Chris Kreider tipped in a pass from Artemi Panarin for a powerplay goal. Incidentally, after the goal, Kreider’s knee made contact with the head of Matt Murray, the starting goaltender for Ottawa. Murray would be removed from the game and replaced with Anton Forsberg.

About a minute later the Rangers tied the game with a goal from Ryan Lindgren, his first of the season. He found himself at the front of the net, finishing a centering pass from his fellow defenseman Adam Fox, who freed himself down the wing with an effective head fake.

The game-winning goal came when the Senators were attempting to clear their zone with two minutes remaining. Sammy Blais collected the puck and in one motion turned and flung it towards the net where Barclay Goodrow deflected it in for his second goal as a New York Ranger.

When it was all said and done the Rangers had scored three goals in a time span of 3:20. They put 26 shots on net compared to 28 from Ottawa, went 1/4 on the powerplay, and 4/4 on the penalty kill. Alexandar Georgiev started in net for New York and stopped 26 of the 28 shots he faced. 

Game 7: Loss vs Flames (5-1)

A successful road trip gave way to a rough return home, as the Rangers had all of their issues compound in one bad game against the Calgary Flames. Defensive lapses, turnovers, and an anemic offensive effort all contributed to this crushing defeat.

Igor Shesterkin allowed a combined three goals against over his previous three starts, but even he couldn’t bail this team out as he got shelled relentlessly. He made 32 saves on 37 shots against and was in for all five of the Calgary goals. Kevin Rooney scored the only goal of the game for the Rangers, cleaning up a rebound in the third period to reduce the lead to 2-1.

The Flames, on the other hand, got goals in all three periods, three of which came in the third following Rooney’s. They got goals from Christopher Tanev, Andrew Mangiapane, Blake Coleman, and Mikael Backlund. Mangiapane scored twice, once in the second and again in the third. The Rangers managed 29 shots on cage, 28 of which were saved by Jacob Markstrom. They were 0/2 on the powerplay and 1/2 on the penalty kill.

Fan Sentiments and What to Look Forward to Next Week

I said this last week and I’ll say it again, it’s too early to be in up in arms about much of anything. This fan base is quick to rattle but I would like to give this coaching staff a full month before airing any grievances. I will, however, pass along some of the concerns felt by the fans.

Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad are both having really slow starts to the year. Again, adjusting to a new system takes time but particularly in Panarin’s case it feels like a lack of chemistry. He showed fantastic rapport with Pavel Buchnevich and Ryan Strome last year, but the former was traded and the latter has been injured. I expect Strome to return and the two of them will pick up right where they left off, though their third linemate will be a question mark. I wonder if that would be a decent place to slide Goodrow but that’s a discussion for another time.

Zibanejad seems to always start slow and this season he actually is on a better pace than this time last season. The last piece of fan concerns center around the defense. K’Andre Miller has struggled, Patrik Nemeth has looked awful, and Nils Lundkvist seems like he could use a stint down in the AHL. There will always be speculation that Lundkvist is up at the NHL level to avoid a situation similar to what is transpiring with Vitaly Kravtsov, but the rookie defenseman truly looks like he needs more time to adjust to the North American game.

That being said, I still maintain full confidence in this coaching staff and the fans have noticed this team fighting deep into games, something that was missing under the previous regime.

The Rangers have three games scheduled between now and the next edition of Rangers Reactions. They host the Columbus Bluejackets at MSG on Friday before starting another road trip. They play in Seattle on Sunday for a Halloween contest with the Kraken and play in Vancouver on Tuesday.

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