Rangers Week in Review: How to Foozle a Winning Streak

Rangers Week in Review: How to Foozle a Winning Streak

by April 4, 2021 0 comments

The New York Rangers have never won more than three games in a row. They have had a pair of three-game winning streaks, and a trio of two-game winning streaks. They have done better at losing, evidenced by two four-game losing streaks. Being inconsistent is the Rangers’ specialty this season it seems, and it’s a trait coach David Quinn needs to kick to the curb.

Their inconsistent play leaves fans wondering which team will show up. Even when playing their best, they will let their foot off the gas at some point, allowing the opposing team back into the games. This is easily observed in their games against the Buffalo Sabres.

While it might not matter this season, if it’s not nipped in the bud, it will bleed over and possibly keep New York from future playoff runs.

New York Rangers vs. Washington Capitals
Madison Square Garden
March 30, 2021

Fans of both teams probably did not think the game would be something similar to the previous one, with the Washington Capitals getting the lead and the Rangers trying to mount a comeback. It was, and this time the Rangers succeeded in their attempt.

T.J. Oshie kicked off the scoring a little over two minutes into the first, and two minutes later, Nic Dowd would put the Capitals up 2-0. Filip Chytil got the Rangers on the board with less than five minutes left in the period, making it 2-1.

Not much happened in the second period, just a lot of back-and-forth and a few shots on goal.

The Blueshirts decided to show up in the third period like they’ve done before against the Capitals. Kaapo Kakko kicked off the scoring with a little help from Ryan Strome and Artemi Panarin about four minutes into the third. About two minutes later, Adam Fox put on in the net, assisted by Panarin and Ryan Lindgren.

Panarin would make it a 4-2 game with just over five minutes left in the game, the assist credited to Brendan Smith. With around a minute left in the game, Smith would take a penalty for cross-checking against Oshie. That kicked off a little kerfuffle between the teams, mainly Tom Wilson trying to start something with Lindgren a few seconds later. Wilson got called for both misconduct and unsportsmanlike conduct against Lidgren and would be escorted from the ice.

This led to the two moments Rangers fans loved the best. The first was when Pavel Buchnevich got a short-handed, empty-net goal with Lindgren’s assistance. The second was when Alex Ovechkin was talking smack and/or complaining, and Lindgren was telling him, “Shut up.”

Never a dull moment between these two teams. New York pulled off a 5-2 victory over the Capitals.

New York Rangers @ Buffalo Sabres
KeyBank Center
April 1, 2021

The Sabres are trying avoid being the worst team in the league and failing miserably. They were also coming off a 6-1 beatdown of the Philadelphia Flyers the night before. The Rangers have had a difficult time pulling out wins against the Sabres this season, and this game was no different.

Rasmus Asplund put the Sabres on the board first, and they led 1-0. They were even able to outshoot the Rangers 12-10 in the first period. It looked like New York was not going to be able to get much going.

The second period arrived, and so did the Rangers. They outshot the Sabres 15-2, and Colin Blackwell tied the score up 1-1 about six minutes into the frame. Panarin and Strome are credited with the assists.

The visitors played about the same in the third, outshooting the Sabres 21-8, and Chytil got the goal to put them ahead 2-1. Julien Gauthier and Alexis Lafreniere were given credit for the assists. Despite the good play, the Rangers did let up a little at the end, allowing the Sabres to tie it up on a goal by Tage Thompson.

Overtime would find both teams playing keep away. However, with less than 30 seconds left in the game, Mika Zibanejad would find a way to get the puck in the net to win the game.  Panarin and Fox got credits for the assists. The Rangers put the Sabres away 3-2.

New York Rangers @ Buffalo Sabres
KeyBank Center
April 3, 2021

For a while, it looked like the Rangers might have kickstarted another winning streak. Panarin’s power-play goal put them ahead 1-0, 10 minutes into the first period. He had a little help from Chris Kreider and Fox. It didn’t last long because about three minutes later, Casey Mittelstadt tied it up 1-1 for Buffalo.

Panarin would put the Rangers back up by one a little over two minutes into the second, with Fox and Lindgren picking up the goal’s assists. The rest of the period played on with both teams going back and forth, but not much else.

The game appeared to be going New York’s way until Victor Olofsson tied it up 2-2 for the Sabres with less than six minutes remaining in the game. Buffalo was able to hold on, not allowing the Rangers to score, and sent it into another overtime game.

Overtime did little for either team, but it gave the crowd a great show of keep away. With no goal to seal the deal, a shootout would determine the winner.

Olofsson was sent out first for Buffalo, but Igor Shesterkin was able to make the save. The Rangers sent out Panarin, but Linus Ullmark was able to make the save also. Thompson was able to get one past Shesterkin, while Zibanejad’s shot was kept out of the net. Mittlestadt could have won it for the Sabres, but Shesterkin made a good save on his backhander. Kakko attempted to tie it up and keep the shootout going, but his shot missed the net. The Sabres were able to eke out a 3-2 win.

What Can the Rangers Do?

The boys in blue appear to be able to do at least one of the following in a game:

  1. Pass the puck less
  2. Take more shots on goal
  3. Play more aggressively
  4. More ownership of leadership roles

If they were able to combine these all into a game and do so for more than one game in a row, they would be an unstoppable force in their division.

What’s Next?

New York will play host to the Pittsburgh Penguins for two games before hitting the road again to face the New York Islanders.

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Main Image Credit: 

Embed from Getty Images

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