The Rangers won their home opener against the Winnipeg Jets by a score of 6-4 in what was a wildly entertaining game. There were goals galore, and the Blueshirts showcased their new stars and how it will impact the top of their lineup. The game also showed us what we expected, that the blue line and defensive schemes still need some work.
None of this is new information, we all knew this going into the season. The mantra this year is “we may win but I may die” in terms of excitement and back-and-forth hockey. The Rangers gave up 47 shots on goal to a Winnipeg team that is good, but not the cream of the crop. At least not anymore without both Jacob Trouba and Dustin Byfuglien.
Not all teams are as good as the Jets. The Blueshirts will have their fair share of games against the Kings, Senators, and the bottom feeders. Those games should look a little more balanced. But when facing the good teams and better, the Blueshirts are likely to hemorrhage shots. Again, not a surprise, and something that takes more than one season to correct. They may even take a step backwards this season when compared to last.
On the bright side, at least after one game, Henrik Lundqvist looked dialed in while making 43 saves (that’s a .915 SV% for those keeping track). It is entirely possible we see a .915 SV% from the Blueshirts goalies while seeing a GAA north of 3.00.
This is a byproduct of a rebuild. The Blueshirts have two rookies and one second (or third, depending on how you look at Tony DeAngelo’s career) year pro on the blue line. They join a true 1RD (Trouba), an aging 3LD at best playing out his contract (Staal) and…Brendan Smith, sorta. There’s also Brady Skjei, but that’s a story for a different day.
Suffice it to say, the personnel on the blue line are not well suited to stop the bleeding. At least not yet. Ideally the rookies get better throughout the year, hence rebuild and development. While that is happening, expect 70+ shots per game between the Rangers and the opposition. We may win but I may die, indeed.