Rangers Week in Review: What Would Mike Keenan Do?

Rangers Week in Review: What Would Mike Keenan Do?

by March 15, 2021 0 comments

After winning three in a row, it really looked like the New York Rangers were making headway with finding their game this season. Fans may have been a little too optimistic, too soon. They may have also been left feeling a little bamboozled, considering how this past week against the Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins played out.

It was like watching a high school team play a college or pro team for the first three games. Then came Saturday’s game against the Bruins, and it was like an entirely different Rangers team had taken to the ice. As always, you can count on the Rangers to present an image of being consistently inconsistent.

New York Rangers @ Pittsburgh Penguins
PPG Paints Arena
March 7, 2021

The Rangers appeared to get the game going, scoring less than two minutes into the game on a goal by Mika Zibanejad. The assists for the goal were credited to Pavel Buchnevich and Jacob Trouba. It looked as if things might be back on track for the Rangers and Zibanejad, but sadly it wasn’t meant to be.

With less than four minutes left in the first period, three different Penguins players scored, and they did so within about a one-minute span. The goals were credited to John Marino, Kasperi Kapanen, and Sidney Crosby. After the third Penguins goal, Alexandar Georgiev was pulled, and Keith Kinkaid took over goaltending duties for the Rangers.

There was no scoring in the second period, and for a while, it might have looked as if the Rangers were going to be able to keep the Penguins at bay and attempt a comeback. In reality, the Penguins had the Rangers shut down ever since Zibanejad’s goal. Kinkaid’s performance in the second was good, turning away all nine shots from Pittsburg.

Despite their struggles throughout the game, hope for a comeback by the Rangers lasted until a little past midway into the third. Evgeni Malkin and Zach Aston-Reese both scored for the Penguins, sealing the fate of the Rangers. The Penguins walked away with the 5-1 victory over the Rangers.

New York Rangers @ Pittsburgh Penguins
PPG Paints Arena
March 9, 2021

The second matchup between the Rangers and the Penguins started similar to the previous game. The Rangers scored first on Jack Johnson‘s goal, with the assists going to Julien Gauthier and Chris Kreider. It’s Johnsons’ first goal as a Ranger, making it his 71st career goal. Near the end of the first, the Penguins tied the game on a goal by Jake Guentzel.

The second period wasn’t looking so great for the Rangers when Teddy Blueger gave the Penguins the lead with a short-handed goal less than three minutes in. The rest of the period was back and forth between the teams, with not much going on until the end of the period. With less than a minute to go, the Rangers allowed Kapanen to score, giving the Penguins a two-goal lead.

At the drop of the puck in the third period, it looked as if the Rangers were attempting to get back in the game with a goal from Ryan Strome. Pavel Buchnevich and Adam Fox are credited with the assists. They were able to hold Pittsburgh to one shot on goal as they attempted to tie up the game. Crosby sealed the game up with an empty-net goal for a 4-2 win over the Rangers.

New York Rangers @ Boston Bruins
TD Garden
March 11, 2021

The Rangers’ Thursday night matchup with the Bruins would prove to be the low point of the week. They showed little to no offensive drive throughout the game and never got a puck past Jaroslav Halak. The game opened with the Rangers looking like they might make something happen, but that idea quickly faded as David Pastrnak scored early in the game and Patrice Bergeron put one in net at the end of the first.

As the second period started, it seemed to be more of the same, with the Rangers not creating anything. That was further emphasized by Boston taking a 4-0 lead on goals by David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk before five minutes had even elapsed. This led to Georgiev being pulled and Kinkaid taking over goaltending duties for the Rangers.

The third period didn’t have much going on for either team, as Kinkaid was able to turn away all 11 shots on goal. On the other hand, Halak was solid for the Bruins, not allowing any past him to keep the Rangers scoreless for the game. Boston was able to secure a 4-0 shutout of the Rangers.

New York Rangers @ Boston Bruins
TD Garden
March 13, 2021

Fans were happy to see that Artemi Panarin would be back in the lineup after his leave of absence. Despite traveling with the team, Igor Shesterkin is still considered day-to-day, so Kinkaid would get the nod to start in net. They seemed ready to go from the first puck drop, and K’Andre Miller would kick the scoring off with a little help from Buchnevich and Zibanejad. Not only were they playing better on both offense and defense, but they also were playing a more physical game.

As the second period started, the Rangers continued to control the play and the puck. Kreider would eventually put one in net with a little help from Zibanejad and Trouba, putting them up 2-0 over the Bruins. It would also put Kreider in a tie with Auston Matthews for the league lead in goals since February 13th with ten.

The third period found the Rangers continuing to pressure Boston. It would eventually pay off with a goal by Strome while Panarin and Colin Blackwell were credited for the assists. With less than four minutes left in the game, Buchnevich’s goal was simply icing on the cake. Kreider would get the assist on the goal. Kinkaid was able to hold off the Bruins for the last minutes of the game to get his first win as a Ranger and his first shutout since 2018.

What Happens Now?

The chants about firing head coach David Quinn have become even more vocal in light of this past week’s losses. If the coach is blamed when they lose due to his coaching and/or decisions, will the fans give him credit when the boys play decently and win? If the Rangers continue to be inconsistent, it’s not hard to imagine that Quinn might be on the hot seat. However, there are several veterans on the team who might need to attend accountability meetings also.

Someone needs to step up and take control of this team, whether it’s the coach or a player.

Next Up

The Rangers have four games coming up this week. They will host the Philadelphia Flyers for two games before heading out on the road again to face the Washington Capitals.

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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images

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