by Patrick Hoffman on 01/20/13 at 09:48 PM ET
Through the first two games of the season, this seems to be the problem for the New York Rangers.
After losing to the Boston Bruins last night at the TD Garden by a score of 3-1, the Blueshirts were once again a step behind, this time tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Madison Square Garden. The Blueshirts lost their second straight game to go 0-2 after losing by a score of 6-3.
Once Rangers' captain Ryan Callahan tied the score up at 1-1 with a power play goal in the first period, things seemed to fall apart for the Blueshirts. They allowed two more goals in the first period to go down 3-1 and then at one point in the third period, the team was down 5-1 before Taylor Pyatt put one in for the Rangers to make it 5-2.
Meanwhile, for the second straight game, the Penguins got the offense they needed to win a hockey game. The team got goals from James Neal (2), Tyler Kennedy, Matt Niskanen, Pascal Dupuis and Kris Letang while getting good enough goaltending from Tomas Vokoun (30 saves on 33 shots).
Tonight, the smart plays just were not there for the Rangers. There was no coheision, no sense of urgency and it certainly showed tonight as the team seemed to be a few steps behind the Penguins not only on the scoreboard, but in other facets of the game as well.
There will probably be some people out there who might be worried about Rangers' goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, given that he has allowed 7 goals in almost five periods of play. With that said, not all the blame can be placed on the team's 30-year-old netminder as he has often been left out to dry and has had to deal with weird bounces and deflections.
Speaking of Rangers' goaltending, back-up netminder Martin Biron played well after coming in for Lundqvist. He allowed just one goal, stopped 19 of 20 shots, and did everything he could to give his team a fighting chance to win this hockey game before Letang added an empty netter to make it 6-3 Penguins.
Another positive for the Blueshirts was the play of Rick Nash. He once again generated a few scoring chances, scored his first goal as a Ranger while the team was shorthanded, and used his size to protect the puck while going to the net. If the rest of the team can get clicking on offense, it will make Nash an even more dangerous player.
Lastly, the Rangers did show some life after the Nash goal. They were able to get more pucks to the net, spend more time in the Penguins' zone and even came close to putting one past Vokoun.
Unfortunately for the Rangers, it was all for naught as it was too little too late for a team that is now 0-2. What is worrisome is that the club is off to a slow start in a season where no NHL team can afford one. In two games, the team has been outscored 8-4, has had some difficulty on the power play and is still having a bit of trouble putting the puck in the net when it matters.
The team will have tomorrow and Tuesday to work on things before taking on the Bruins at MSG on Wednesday night at 7:30. Having already beaten the Blueshirts this season, the Bruins will come into the Garden looking to do the same thing and to show that they too should be considered a contender for the Stanley Cup.
While it is not time to press the panic button, the season will not get any easier for the Rangers since they are considered one of the teams to beat this year in the Eastern Conference. A win on Wednesday night would certainly settle some minds down and hopefully, the play of the Rangers.
Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
Tags: boston+bruins, henrik+lundqvist, james+neal, kris+letang, martin+biron, matt+niskanen, new+york+rangers, pascal+dupuis, pittsburgh+penguins, rick+nash, ryan+callahan, taylor+pyatt, tomas+vokoun, tyler+kennedy
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.