Rangers Week in Review: Me ‘n’ You & the Boys in Blue

Rangers Week in Review: Me ‘n’ You & the Boys in Blue

by March 28, 2022 0 comments

The New York Rangers had a crazy week. It all started with the trade deadline; then, the boys seemed on a sudden decline. However, perhaps that way of thinking was a little premature. With their victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins, it looked as if the stars were going to align for the boys in blue.

Then came the Buffalo Sabres, another team out of the running for a playoff spot. The Rangers had the same issue as they did against the Devils; they started strong, but then something happened. But, at least in the game against Buffalo, the Rangers did not give up. They kept playing their game and came out with a victory. Here is a look at this past week’s games.

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New York Rangers @ New Jersey Devils
March 22, 2022
Prudential Center
L 7-4

1st Period

07:10-Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider & Alexis Lafreniere
13:55-Adam Fox, Mika Zibanejad & Andrew Copp

2nd Period

07:12-Ryan Graves & Jesper Bratt
08:30-P.K. Subban, Andreas Johnsson & Ty Smith
12:40-Dawson Mercer & Ryan Graves
13:13-Tomas Tatar, Damon Severson & Jesper Bratt
18:07-Yegor Sharangovich, Nico Hischier & Dougie Hamilton

3rd Period

03:46-Ryan Strome, Artemi Panarin & Ryan Lindgren
09:36-Jack Hughes & Nico Hischier
10:46-Jack Hughes, Yegor Sharangovich & P.K. Subban
14:56-Chris Kreider, Andrew Copp & Adam Fox

The Rangers started the first period strong, and it looked like they were firing on all cylinders. Goals by Zibanejad and Fox put them up 2-0. After the new pieces had been added, it appeared that the Rangers were making the transition with no issues. Then came the second period. Those Rangers seemed to have left the game, and whoever was skating in their place did not know how to play hockey.

In the second, the Devils scored five unanswered goals. The Rangers could not stop the Devils and appeared to have forgotten how to play hockey. Perhaps they were mesmerized by the audacity of the Devils to attempt to win the game. Whatever the reason was, it worked. Igor Shesterkin was pulled, and Alexandar Georgiev was in net for the start of the third.

The third period was still a continuation of the second, but the Rangers were able to get in a couple more goals. However, the goals by Strome and Kreider were mere bookends on the two goals scored by Hughes. The Rangers were able to stop the bleeding temporarily, but the damage had already been done.

New York Rangers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
March 25, 2022
Madison Square Garden
W 5-1

1st Period

02:07-Alexis Lafreniere, Filip Chytil & Barclay Goodrow
03:58-Chris Kreider & Mika Zibanejad
04:16-Frank Vatrano, Mika Zibanejad & Chris Kreider

2nd Period

06:37-Chris Kreider & Mika Zibanejad

3rd Period

06:00-Jeff Carter, Kasperi Kapanen & Danton Heinen
17:47-Andrew Copp, Artemi Panarin & Ryan Strome 

The Rangers team that showed up to this game was vastly different than the one who appeared against the Devils. The Rangers were able to keep pressure on them and stifle their game. Fans were not happy that Lafreniere was put on the third line. Of course, the coach knows he can play on one of the top two lines, but this game, he was playing at his natural spot as a left wing.

It worked out great with Lafreniere opening up the scoring for the Rangers. Goals by Kreider and newcomer Vatrano put the Rangers up 3-0 in the first over the Penguins. The second period was like the first, with the Rangers keeping the pressure up in the offensive zone. Kreider and Zibanejad worked together to get a shorthanded goal, giving the Rangers a 4-0 lead.

The third period was more of the same; the Rangers were still putting pressure on Pittsburgh. Despite that, the Penguins were able to get the puck in the net thanks to a roughing penalty called on Patrik Nemeth. Despite having the game in hand, the Rangers continued pressuring the Penguins. Finally, Copp put the puck in the net on a crazy no-look pass, putting a statement as the cherry on top of an already good game for the Rangers.

New York Rangers vs. Buffalo Sabres
March 27, 2022
Madison Square Garden
W/OT 5-4

1st Period

03:59-Frank Vatrano & Chris Kreider
04:17-Frank Vatrano
18:12-Rasmus Asplund, Mattias Samuelsson & Casey Mittelstadt

2nd Period

02:06-Will Butcher, Peyton Krebs & Vinnie Hinostroza
06:48-Kyle Okposo, Zemgus Girgensons & Rasmus Dahlin
11:46-Alexis Lafreniere, Filip Chytil & Jonny Brodzinski

3rd Period

03:52-Artemi Panarin, Jacob Trouba & Andrew Copp
13:07-Jeff Skinner, Rasmus Dahlin & Casey Mittelstadt

Overtime

02:02-K’Andre Miller, Alexis Lafreniere & Andrew Copp

The Rangers got out to another quick start with Vatrano putting the puck in the net twice, less than 20 seconds apart. Eighteen, to be more precise. It looked like the team that played against Pittsburgh was back again. However, the Sabres found that to be a lie. The goal near the end of the first period by Asplund seemed to affect the remainder of the period and into the second.

The second period appeared as if it would be the Devils all over again. They scored two more goals, taking the lead 3-2. The Sabres had received a bit of an infusion of life, starting with the goal in the first. Finally, Lafreniere would get the puck in the net to tie it up. It is his 15th goal of the season, and he is finally finding his way.

The third period would start with Panarin getting a goal. Surprisingly, it is only his 17th goal of the season. The Rangers were up 4-3, and everything was looking great until Nemeth was penalized for hi-sticking. Skinner was able to get it in the net and tie the game. It continued to be a back and forth game; luckily, the buzzer sounded, and it was now up to overtime to determine the winner. Copp was great defensively, passing the puck to Lafreniere, who then was able to find the right moment to pass it to Miller. Miller put it in the net and secured the victory and two points for the Rangers.

What We Learned This Week

Consistency is still crucial. It doesn’t matter if the team is at the top of their division or the bottom; the Rangers need to treat each team as if their playoff hopes depended on it. Unfortunately, they did not do that against the Devils. After playing not so great but still coming out with victories against the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Carolina Panthers, it was a letdown in Jersey. Maybe they had put too much into those two previous games. Perhaps they didn’t take the game against the Devils seriously.

Questions like those will keep Rangers fans up at night until the end of the season. If the Rangers hope to get past the first round, they need to realize each game means something. Even if you are playing the same team each time. You only have to get four wins to move to the next round in the playoffs. Four. The Rangers cannot afford to keep being inconsistent. Inconsistency leads you to have to play game sevens.

The Rangers will make the playoffs. Their spot will be determined by the remaining 16 games, of which six are away games. Hopefully, Kaapo Kakko and Kevin Rooney will be back in action before the playoffs, and we will get to see how the team clicks. Gerard Gallant will need to figure out his lines, and despite what the fans say or think, he will be sure to do what he believes is best for the outcome they want.


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