Rangers Week in Review: Wins Among the Chaosby Liz Pendergraft February 8, 2021 0 comments
It’s been an interesting week for the New York Rangers organization. Chaos reigned over the beginning of the week with the news that Tony DeAngelo had been placed on waivers. This news story took on a life of its own, overshadowing the victories against the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals and the news that Chris Drury was named Associate General Manager.
The Tony DeAngelo Saga
It started with the Rangers mentioning DeAngelo was put on waivers. This little tidbit of information kicked off a storm of speculation and rumor, and even now, we still really don’t know the entire story. Those who didn’t like DeAngelo, especially for his political beliefs, were overjoyed at his removal from the team. Still, most fans were confused by the influx of stories and misinformation. Attempting to find out what really happened kind of felt like trying to figure out who shot J.R.
President John Davidson and General Manager Jeff Gorton did put to rest the rumors about Miller being involved in any way. Despite still not giving an outright explanation of the incident, they let everyone know that DeAngelo was warned about his behavior and that any more incidents would result in an outcome where he wasn’t on the team.
Did he do something stupid? Yes, but don’t forget his time on the ice hadn’t been all that productive in the few games he played. Perhaps the confrontation with his teammate was the final straw, but the incident didn’t merit all of the hearsay and regurgitated misinformation that it received. The Rangers neglected to take control of the narrative with the situation, for whatever reason, and it spiraled into a chaotic theory free-for-all that did the team and the organization no favors.
Once the information free-for-all died down a bit, we found out it was apparently a kerfuffle between DeAngelo and Alexandar Georgiev. So K’Andre Miller had nothing to do with it, Chris Kreider didn’t ride in like a white knight to defend Georgiev’s honor, and in the end, we’re stuck with reality. The reality, which happens to be the Rangers have only four wins so far this season, and the top lines aren’t producing as they should.
This incident, combined with poor performance in games, leaves you pondering, “What in the world is going on with the Rangers?” Answers are in short supply, and if things don’t turn around, the season is on the verge of becoming inexcusable.
New York Rangers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Madison Square Garden
February 1, 2021
As usual, the Rangers seemed to be a little slow at the beginning of the game, eventually allowing Jason Zucker to put the Penguins on the board. Both teams coughed up penalties, two of which came at the end of the first period from Kasperi Kapanen and Brett Howden‘s fight. Neither team could get much going on the power-play, so at the end of the first period, the Penguins were still ahead 1-0.
In the second period, the Rangers gave the Penguins another three chances at getting a power-play goal. The period became a low-event defensive battle between the teams, with neither one able to capitalize on penalties or make big plays. Not much went on until the period was almost over, and the Rangers were able to tie the game on a goal by Kevin Rooney, assisted by Artemi Panarin and Ryan Lindgren.
In third periods this season, the Rangers have had a propensity to have the lead and not keep it. At the beginning of this one, it was still tied 1-1. Chris Kreider picked up his fourth goal of the season, a power-play goal on a delay of game penalty by Chad Ruhwedel. The Rangers appeared to play better, but it was still a defensive game with both teams only having 9 shots apiece. Given the Rangers’ trouble with keeping the lead, they had their fans on pins and needles until the last seconds of the game when Panarin gets the empty-net goal.
The Rangers needed this win to get the two points and boost the entire team’s confidence and get them past what had happened with DeAngelo. They were able to show to themselves and fans that they could get the lead and keep it. If there is one area the Rangers need to improve upon, it would be face-offs. Their win percentage has not been so great this season, and in this game, the Penguins won 70.8% of them.
New York Rangers vs. Washington Capitals
Madison Square Garden
February 4, 2021
Coming off of their surprising win over the Penguins, the Rangers were set to face the Washington Capitals for the first time this season. It didn’t take long for Ryan Strome to get his third goal of the season with a little help from Adam Fox and Panarin. He was able to get the puck in the net only one minute and 41 seconds into the game. The Rangers did a good job of keeping Washington pinned in their zone, and they outshot them 15-8.
As the second period started, the Rangers did a decent job of keeping the lead. Anthony Bitetto, a Long Island native, was able to get the third goal of his career. It had been 112 games and almost three years since his last goal, and the assist was credited to Rooney. With a 2-0 lead, it Looked like the Rangers were going to go into intermission with the lead. However, with 1:03 left in the period, Carl Hagelin is credited with the goal after the puck hit him and took a bounce into the net.
The third period opened with the Capitals on the power-play after Brett Howden was called for slashing with a few seconds left in the second period. Strome was able to get another goal to put the Rangers up 3-1, with assists by Panarin and Kaapo Kakko. Ovechkin scored on a hard wrist shot, cutting the lead again to just one goal. With that goal, Ovechkin is in seventh place with 709 career goals, passing Mike Gartner. Brenden Dillon was called for tripping on Kakko, but it ended up being a four-on-four when Kakko was called for embellishment. After the Rangers saw their way through that, they were able to hold off the Capitals. After Strome failed to get a hat trick by missing the empty net, Pavel Buchnevich was able to snag a goal with help from Mika Zibanejad and Panarin.
The game ended with a fight between Rooney and Dillon after goalie Vitek Vanecek lost his balance after his stick made contact with Brendan Lemieux. It looked like Vanecek had been the one wronged, so Dillon was defending his goalie. Once that dispute was settle, many fans noticed that as the Rangers left the ice, Igor Shesterkin made a move as if to fight with Artemi Panarin. All in jest, of course. He was apparently imitating the alleged fight that triggered the DeAngelo saga.
The Rangers played a more well-rounded game against both teams. It’s always easy to see the improvement when a team is winning. The past few games of playing well but not good enough to win have turned into a two-game winning streak. If David Quinn can use these two games as an example of how they are pulling their game together, it’s quite feasible that a longer winning streak is in store.
The game scheduled for February 6, 2021, against the New Jersey Devils, has been rescheduled for March 4, 2021. Their next game will be Monday, February 8th, when they host the New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden.
Follow Liz Pendergraft on Twitter @lizzibear824
Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images