NEW YORK, NY – The Rangers look like they might be figuring out how to play hockey after a rocky month or so. For two periods Monday night against Cam James‘ Blues, it was the same old story; slow, predictable passing and shoddy defense. It’s the type of play that has led to their sub-.500 record and has kept them out of the playoff picture. But something seems to have shifted in the third period Monday night. The Blueshirts started skating again. They started hitting. They played as a unit. And in the end they buried the Blues and put the game away.
The Rangers backed up that win with a resounding win against the first-place Golden Knights in Las Vegas Wednesday night. They scored four in the third period to beat the Knights 5-1. Tonight, we’ll see if this trend continues as the Rangers take on the defending Stanley Cup Champion Colorado Avalanche in Denver.
It has been a difficult start to the season all around. Our young defensemen Adam Fox and K’Andre Miller have not played to their potential. Miller especially has had a tough start to the season. But he had a very good game Monday night and looks to be coming out of his funk. The kids line of Filip Chytil, Alexis Lafreniere, and Kaapo Kakko have also been disappointing. Lafreniere was the first overall pick in the 2020 draft but he hasn’t played like it. So far he’s been a bust. Kakko looked set to make the next jump in his development at the end of last season, but he has also taken a step back. Head Coach has been forced to juggle the lines a lot due to the inconsistent play.
All three from the Kids Line were on the score sheet Wednesday in Vegas. Hopefully it’s a sign that things are improving and the kids have figured it out. Mika Zibanejad looks to have figured things out also. He scored two goals on the Power Play Wednesday night.
Even Igor Shesterkin, the runaway Vezina winner and Hart Trophy finalist last season, has had a shaky start to the season. He hasn’t been helped by his teammates’ poor play in front of him, but he certainly hasn’t been as sharp as he was a year ago. Igor also looks to have turned a corner. He made a number of crucial saves Monday against the Blues before the Rangers could pull away late in the game and he made 25 saves while allowing only one goal Wednesday night in the thumping win against the Knights.
The Broadway Blues seem to have figured things out a bit. Tonight we’ll see if it was a flash in the pan or whether the Rangers have really turned things around.