by Patrick Hoffman on 01/19/13 at 09:50 PM ET
With a somewhat revamped offense and Rick Nash in the lineup, the New York Rangers' offense was quiet in their season opening 3-1 loss to the Boston Bruins.
Obviously, it was the first game and players still have to get used to each other, but nevertheless, the Blueshirts did not generate enough offensive pressure. While the Bruins' defensemen are big and do a good job of blocking shots, the Rangers did not do nearly enough to get the puck on Bruins' goaltender Tuukka Rask (just 20 shots on goal) nor did they create enough traffic in front of Rask to bother the Bruins' netminder..
What is somewhat worrisome, even though it was just the first game, the offense also looked lost. The club lacked finish, did not know when and where to put the puck on net from and did not generate the quality scoring chances that are needed to score in the NHL.
For the Rangers, believe it or not, this is nothing different. Many nights last season, the team relied on the goaltending of Henrik Lundqvist to keep them in the game long enough for their offense to may be score one or two goals.
Tonight, that simply did not work. The team took three penalties within a span of nine minutes in the first period and while they killed them off thanks to Lundqvist and his defense, the Bruins would manage to find the back of the net with just over six minutes to go in the period thanks to Milan Lucic.
On the bright side, the Blueshirts did get a solid performance from Lundqvist tonight. Lundqvist stopped 31 of 34 shots in a losing effort.
Another good sign was the way Rangers' forward Rick Nash looked. At times, he showed how strong he can be on the puck, how he is willing to stay in front of the net and take a beating and looked comfortable playing with Brad Richards, who scored the team's only goal tonight.
With such a shortened season, there is no time get hung up on games and for the Rangers, they will need to move on quickly. Tomorrow night, the Rangers will open on home ice at Madison Square Garden against the Pittsburgh Penguins, who beat the Philadelphia Flyers by a score of 3-1 this afternoon.
If the Blueshirts play like they did tonight, they could be in trouble tomorrow night against a highly offensive Penguins hockey club.
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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.