Rangers Week in Review: It’s a COVID Lifeby Liz Pendergraft January 11, 2022 0 comments
The New York Rangers are rumbling right along. Although they may not be the finely tuned machine they need to be, there’s no need to panic yet. New York is surprisingly sitting at 50 points after losing to the Los Angeles Kings.
The previous week found them twice defeating the reigning Stanley Cup champions, Tampa Bay Lightning. This week started with a win over the Edmonton Oilers. Then the Rangers were off on a west coast swing, which seemed not to start great with a loss to the Vegas Golden Knights. However, they bounced back with a win over the Anaheim Ducks.
Unfortunately, a loss to the Kings rounded out the week for the Rangers.
New York Rangers vs. Edmonton Oilers
January 03, 2022
Madison Square Garden
The Oilers came into the game on a losing slump, and the rangers were all too happy handing them their fourth loss in a row. They did an excellent job keeping Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl off the scoreboard.
Staring out strong from the puck drop gave the Rangers the 1-0 lead not too far into the game. They were able to hold off the Oilers until the latter half of the second. McLeod was able to redirect a pass from Benson over Alexandar Georgiev‘s right pad, cutting the lead to one.
Kreider would get his 20th goal of the season, Strome had a goal and two assists, Lafreniere and Goodrow each had a goal and an assist, and Fox had two assists. Georgiev made 33 saves and had a .971 save percentage.
New York Rangers @ Vegas Golden Knights
January 6, 2022
This game gave us the return to Vegas coach Gerard Gallant and Ryan Reaves, both were given tribute videos, and the fans appeared happy to see them. Going into the game, the Golden Knights were on a losing streak and were looking to turn it around with this game.
Vegas kicked off the scoring, and Kreider was able to tie it up with a goal in the second. Beyond that, it was all Vegas as they went on to score four more goals. Georgiev made 33 saves, but it wasn’t good enough to keep the Golden Knights from putting them in the net. He did perform well, especially since Shesterkin was set to start in net but was added to the COVID-19 protocol list not too long before the game.
Robin Lehner was in net for the first time since mid-December, thanks to a lower-body injury. He made 19 saves, giving him a .950 save percentage.
New York Rangers @ Anaheim Ducks
January 8, 2022
Looking to bounce back after the loss to the Golden Knights, the Rangers faced the Ducks for the first time this season. New York outshot Anaheim 40-14 overall, giving Georgiev a .929 game percentage.
The Ducks got on the board first, but that was easily remedied by Zibanejad, who tied the game for the Rangers in the first. Then, in the second period, Tinordi got his first goal as a Ranger, making this the second goal of his career. From there, the rest of the game was the icing on the cake.
Despite having quite a few players in COVID-19 protocol, the Rangers performed well. After this game, the Rangers were tied for first in the Metropolitan with the Carolina Hurricanes with 50 points.
New York Rangers @ Los Angeles Kings
January 10, 2022
This past Sunday, Gerard was placed into COVID-19 protocol, so Kris Knoblauch was called up from Hartford to stand in as coach. Unfortunately, despite getting Artemi Panarin back into the lineup, the Rangers couldn’t muster enough gumption to pull out a win.
Rangers spent too much time in their own end and were unable to capitalize on chances in the first period. The Kings were able to apply pressure as the second period went along, leading to the first two goals. Georgiev gave up too many rebounds, offering the Kings more opportunities of getting the puck in the net. New York also gave up rushes, allowing the Kings to advance the puck.
The Rangers allowed two goals in the first four minutes of the second. They were not able to make up for that deficit, even though their lead was cut in half by Zibanejad’s goal. However, despite the Rangers playing better in the third, it was too little too late.
What We Learned This Week
The Rangers are mostly defeating teams they should be and losing to the better ones. Although there’s no guarantee of a playoff bid yet, things continue to look that way, as long as the Rangers don’t implode somehow. While not perfect and prone to make mistakes, they show the rest of the NHL that they are looking to make a name for themselves.
Teams having players out for COVID-19 protocols has made hockey season a trial by replacement and postponement. Although not as bad as last season, it’s still affecting teams in ways we might never know. If teams aren’t playing at their best, barring injuries, of course, then how are teams and fans to know how well their team is really doing, and how the landscape of the NHL leaderboard might be different.
Follow Liz Pendergraft on Twitter @lizzibear824
Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images