NEW YORK, NY – It’s been a rough few weeks for the Rangers. Since beating the Capitals on February 4th, the Blueshirts had lost four straight games and had two games postponed due to #COVID protocol. This made last night’s shootout win against the Flyers all the more important. Are The New York Rangers Stanley Cup Contenders? No. But let’s look under the hood and see what’s got them moving like a Zamboni and not a Lamborghini.
You can’t win if you don’t score and the young New York squad has been, ironically, impotent. They have only scored six goals in five games (not counting Panarin’s shootout winner last night). That’s been the season’s storyline so far. Other than Panarin, they just haven’t put the biscuit in the basket.
Mika Zibanejad has been their best player over the last couple of seasons. This year he looks lost. He couldn’t put a beach-ball in the ocean. He might have some nagging injury or maybe he’s feeling the after effects of having #COVID-19 right before the season.
Kaapo Kakko has stretches where he plays like the #2 overall pick. But then sometimes he just plays like #2 (poop).
I’m not sure what will snap this team out of their offensive malaise.
Aside from the return of the [hopeful] Ice Girls, it’s tough to point to anything after 1 win in five games but Broadway Blues’ blue-liners have been good. But the injuries are starting to pile up for the defence (Canadian spelling). Jacob Trouba will be out a month or so after breaking his thumb blocking a shot Tuesday against the Devils… K’Andre Miller has missed two straight games with the dreaded “upper body injury…” Adam Fox has been playing like a
Chuck Norris Trophy contender and has logged the minutes to prove it. Fox was on the ice for over 30 minutes last night and is averaging over 25 minutes of ice time per game. It’s a lot for the second-year defenseman and Head Coach David Quinn has been looking to give Fox a break. But with the defensive injuries and offensive impotence, Fox will continue to shoulder the defensive load.
Between-the-pipes play has been better of late but both Shesterkin and Georgiev are still prone to the odd howler. These mistakes are amplified since the team isn’t scoring. Nobody would notice these goals if the offence (Canadian spelling) was putting up four goals a game. When four goals is a good week, though, the goalies need to make every save possible.
Every time I think Quinn’s head is on the chopping block, the Rangers notch a win that seems to be a stay of execution. With the current batch of injuries, the brass may be a bit more lenient with The Quinnster for the next few weeks. At some point, however, one has to believe they’re going to make a change. While nobody expected the Blueshirts to be Stanley Cup contenders this season, they shouldn’t be propping up the East division either.
Things won’t get easier with the current injury crop. If the offense starts to click, though, they will be okay. But if they think that Anthony Bitetto and Jack Johnson on the blue line are going to keep them in games, they’re going to have a tough time.
The Caps are tomorrow afternoon in D.C., then they have another mini-break before their next game against the Flyers on Wednesday. Hopefully, they’ll trigger the red light a bit more and get in a groove.
Speaking of grooves, come back tomorrow for Short Matt, who likes going top-shelf, where mama hides the cookies.