Rangers Reactions Week 12: West Coast Woes

Rangers Reactions Week 12: West Coast Woes

NHL

Rangers Reactions Week 12: West Coast Woes

By

This article could have just as easily been titled ‘COVID Concerns’ due to the number of players and coaches missing from the lineup. That being said, the Rangers really do struggle against Western Conference teams. They sandwiched an impressive victory against the Ducks with two unimpressive performances against the Golden Knights and the Kings. Not much to say here, let’s get to the games.

Game 36: Loss @ Vegas (5-1)

This was one of the worst all-around performances of the season by the New York Rangers. Defensively, they couldn’t hold the Golden Knights at the blue line. Offensively, they couldn’t get anything going. Alexandar Georgiev got absolutely shelled in net, but he also let up at least two goals that should have been saves.

One defensive pairing that played particularly weak was the combination of Libor Hajek and Zac Jones. They seemed to turn the puck over frequently in the offensive zone and made weak plays in the defensive zone.

The only Rangers goal came on a shot by Chris Kreider that seemed to elude Robin Lehner, bouncing in off of his glove. The Golden Knights, however, got two goals from Jonathan Marchessault and one each from Mark Stone, Mattias Janmark, and Brett Howden.

Howden, a former Ranger, has now scored in both games played this season against his former team. Mark Stone’s goal produced a bit of frustration in the team and the fanbase as it could have been nullified as a goal scored via a kicking motion. The refs ruled it as a solid goal, implying the puck merely directed off his skate and wasn’t kicked in.

All in all, a very ugly game for the Rangers. Lehner finished with 19 saves on 20 shots while Georgiev faced 35, stopping 30. The Rangers went 0/2 on the powerplay while the Golden Knights went 1/3.

Game 37: Win @ Anaheim (4-1)

If the game against Vegas was a sloppy mess, this game against Anaheim was a complete inversion of that performance. The Rangers played a very complete game in this one and held the Ducks to only 14 shots on goal. They benefitted from two goals being scored that deflected off of Ducks players, but these are the kinds of results a team can get by getting pucks to the net.

The Ducks actually scored first when K’Andre Miller turned the puck over in the defensive zone about halfway through the second period. A quick pass was made and Isac Lundestrom finished the play, sending the puck over the outstretched blocker of Georgiev. Mika Zibanejad struck back three minutes later, shooting the puck from an awkward angle and watching it bounce in off the defense.

One minute and 46 seconds into the third period the Rangers would score again when Jarred Tinordi sent a puck on net that also deflected off of a Ducks player. The goal was Tinordi’s first of the season.

Ryan Lindgren scored the remaining two goals for the Rangers, both in the third period. His first was a wrister from the point that found its way through traffic right as the powerplay expired. It didn’t count as a powerplay goal on the stat sheet but by my definition, it was one considering the Ducks hadn’t gotten their player back into the defensive zone yet. He also scored an empty-net goal with 30 seconds left in the game when he returned from the penalty box to collect a pass from Barclay Goodrow, basically skating the puck into the net.

Georgiev continues to play while Igor Shesterkin is out with COVID, and he stopped 13 of the 14 shots he faced. Anthony Stolarz started for Anaheim and stopped 36 of 39. Both teams went scoreless on the powerplay, New York was 0/5 while Anaheim was 0/3.

Game 38: Loss @ Los Angeles (3-1)

It is very hard to win hockey games when you are outplayed for almost a full 60 minutes. It is also very difficult to win games when you are outshot 39-23. The Rangers were beaten by a hot Kings team in this one that just did more. More shots, more defense, more desire.

Georgiev did about as well as he could, considering the first goal came off another K’Andre Miller turnover, but both goals he surrendered were the products of juicy rebounds that you’d like to see him clean up.

The Kings have now won four of their last five games and the Rangers have really struggled with all the missing pieces out with COVID. They got Artemi Panarin back into the lineup for this game but were missing Gerard Gallant behind the bench and are still running an entire AHL line due to the absences at forward.

The Kings got two goals in the second period off of the sticks of Phillip Danault and Blake Lizotte. The Rangers got one back in the third period when Zibanejad deflected a Filip Chytil pass into the net. They put up a ferocious rally to try and tie the game late in the third but couldn’t convert any chances and surrendered an empty-net goal to Adrian Kempe.

Cal Petersen played lights out for Los Angeles and even robbed Ryan Strome on the doorstep which was surely a momentum shifter. He finished with 22 saves on 23 shots while Georgiev stopped 36 of 38. The Rangers went 0/2 on the powerplay while the Kings went 0/3.

Fan Sentiments and What to Look Forward to Next Week:

The Rangers really do stink against Western Conference teams, and this is a trend even the fans have noticed. They have lost 14 games this season compared to 23 wins. Of those 14 losses, nine have come against Western Conference teams.

Thankfully, in the playoffs you only have to beat one team from the west. Also thankfully, the team doesn’t have another west coast trip left on the slate this season. The remaining games against western teams are either at home or played in the Midwest and Canada.

The team came into contact with COVID when they played the Oilers last Monday, and they’ve been reeling ever since. This will surely go down as just a rough patch in the season but it has been difficult for fans to watch the level of play drop this dramatically.

The team needs to make two moves before the trade deadline if they are going to make any serious noise in the playoffs. They need a solid bottom pairing defenseman, preferably one who can be a rock for the blueline, and they need a right-winger with a nose for the net.

They play two games before the next edition of Rangers Reactions, both on the road. They continue their west coast trip with a game against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday that won’t be a cakewalk. The Sharks have had an up and down season but should not be slept on. They can put pucks in the net if given the opportunity.

Then, on Saturday they go back east to play the Flyers in Philadelphia. The Flyers have had mostly a down season and at this time of the article are under .500 with a negative 29 goal differential. Still, with the way COVID has impacted this lineup, nothing is guaranteed.

More The Wright Way Network