Rangers Reactions Week 9: A Cold Snap

Rangers Reactions Week 9: A Cold Snap

NHL

Rangers Reactions Week 9: A Cold Snap

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Well folks, it appears the red-hot New York Rangers have finally cooled down. They have been juggling victories and losses for a couple of weeks now with this being the first stretch where the losses outnumber the wins. The scoring throughout the lineup has hit a cold stretch and the team could really use some rest and some extra bodies in the lineup. If the eye test is something you believe in, this team hasn’t been passing it, simple as that. Still, they came away with three of a possible six points this week.

Let’s get to the games.

Game 29: Loss @ Colorado (4-2)

This was a strange game for the Rangers. They didn’t seem to match up well with the Avalanche, as they, at times, gave up dangerous opportunities due to poor positioning. They also spent a lot of time killing penalties, which disrupted any positive momentum they may have sustained otherwise. I actually think Alexandar Georgiev played as well in net as he could’ve, and this game was won due to Colorado’s potent offense.

Colorado went up by two before the end of the first period. Each time the Rangers cut the deficit to one goal, the Avalanche found a way to re-establish their two-goal lead. The Rangers got goals from Ryan Strome and Julien Gauthier.

Strome scored in the second period on a deflection that looked very similar to goals Chris Kreider has scored all year. Adam Fox fired a shot wide of the net right at Strome, who swiped at the puck and sent it to the back of the net. Gauthier’s goal came in the third period while Georgiev was pulled for an extra skater. Dryden Hunt teed up a nasty wrist shot that rebounded far out of the reach of Darcy Kuemper. Gauthier was the first to get to the loose puck and he buried it past the now out-of-position Kuemper.

The Avalanche got a goal each from Mikko Rantanen and Cale Makar, and they got two from Valeri Nichushkin. Kuemper finished with 26 saves on 28 shots while Georgiev finished with 27 saves on 31 shots. The Rangers went 0/2 on the powerplay while Colorado went 1/6.

Game 30: Win @ Arizona (3-2)

This was also a strange game for the Rangers. They played down to the level of a Coyotes team that is much less talented than them. This is a victory where they scratched and clawed for every goal and played hard hockey down to the wire, but at times struggled to control play. They needed two powerplay goals in the last six minutes of the third period to get it done. Artemi Panarin only played seven minutes, exiting the game with a lower-body injury. The resulting shuffling of line combinations left the team out of sync for much of the game.

The Coyotes opened up the scoring in the first period with a shorthanded goal. Loui Eriksson fire a wrist shot that squirted through the pads of Keith Kinkaid. Kinkaid would dive to try to save the puck at the goal line, but replays clearly showed daylight between the puck and the line.

The Rangers tied the game with the only goal in the second period when Kaapo Kakko cleaned up the rebound of a Mika Zibanejad shot. Clayton Keller reclaimed the lead for Arizona with a powerplay goal in the third. He finished a fairly clean passing play by the Coyotes, touching the puck twice and roofing a backhand shot against Kinkaid.

The Rangers tied the game with under six minutes left on a powerplay goal by Zibanejad. He received the puck on the left-wing and found a shooting lane, sending the puck home down low. The second powerplay goal came three minutes later when Kakko scored again. He was tight on the crease and got a quick pass from Kreider, wasting no time to get the puck past Scott Wedgewood.

Wedgewood finished with 27 saves on 30 shots while Kinkaid had 29 on 31. The Rangers went 2/3 on the powerplay while keeping the Coyotes to 0/2.

Game 31: Loss vs Golden Knights (3-2, SO)

Of all the games played, this was definitely the least strange. These teams traded good goals and watched as their goaltenders carried the teams through all three periods plus overtime and the shootout. The difference ended up being that Vegas could score in the shootout while the Rangers failed all three attempts.

Brett Howden scored against his former team, burying his own rebound while on the crease in the first period. The Rangers scored two goals in the second period to tie the game and take the lead. Zibanejad scored his second in as many games, scoring from a similar spot with a similar shot 17 seconds into the period.

He was instrumental on the second goal as well. The Rangers were on the powerplay when he got the puck almost exactly where he had scored earlier in the period. When Laurent Brossoit leaned a little bit too far towards the short side, Zibanejad fired a puck to Kreider who was waiting on the far side. It was Kreider’s 18th goal of the season.

Dylan Coghlan tied the game for the Golden Knights, roofing a wrist shot from the right-side faceoff circle. The goalies ensured the game would go to overtime, and then fought off every opportunity for either team in the extra period to send it to a shootout.

The only Vegas shooter that was successful was Jonathan Marchessault. Their other two shooters were Nicolas Roy and Evgenii Dadonov. The Rangers shooters, in order, were Kaapo Kakko, Mika Zibanejad, and Ryan Strome.

Georgiev finished with 28 saves on 30 shots while Brossoit had 27 on 29. Vegas was 0/1 on the powerplay while the Rangers went 1/2.

Fan Sentiments and What to Look Forward to Next Week

The fans have eyes, so the fans have been seeing what I’ve been seeing. Weak play, and at times inept, on defense. Line combinations that aren’t panning out on offense. Goaltenders being hung out to dry. That being said, this team has started this season so well that the fans are willing to be more hopeful than upset.

I’m not sure the return of Igor Shesterkin between the pipes changes any outcomes here, but it would be nice to get him back. I am sure that the team needs Panarin back and cannot afford to lose him for an extended period of time with a mysterious ‘lower-body injury’.

The Rangers were only scheduled to play one game this coming week, a battle against the Canadiens at Madison Square Garden. However, the league has postponed all cross-border play through Christmas due to league-wide COVID cases in recent weeks. This means effectively the Rangers are off from now until December 27th. The rest is surely welcome.

When they return on the 27th they will host the Detroit Red Wings in a contest that will be a good barometer for how explosive the Rangers can be offensively after a small break. Then they go on a road trip through the Sunshine State, playing the Florida Panthers on the 29th and the Tampa Bay Lightning on the 31st. After New Year’s they return home to face the Lightning again and the Oilers in a back-to-back on the 2nd and 3rd.

So, this is goodbye for a couple of weeks, Rangers fans. I will return with the next edition of Rangers Reactions on January 4th or 5th of the New Year with an extra-long piece covering all five games in that hectic stretch.

I want to thank everybody for tapping in during 2021 and I look forward to covering this team in 2022.

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