Jeremy Swayman and the Boston Bruins put a quick end to the NY Rangers hopes of catching the Bruins napping on the second half of a back to back. The Rangers outshot the Bruins 32-27, but it was Swayman and costly Rangers turnovers that handed the Bruins a sweep through New York.
Losing to the Bruins, by far the best team in the NHL, isn’t a disappointment on the surface, but the external circumstances and the manner in which the Rangers lost makes it disappointing. The aforementioned back to back for Boston was one factor, but that 32-27 shot difference is misleading. Only a handful of shots were truly dangerous for the Rangers, while giving up numerous turnovers that wound up in the back of their own net. The power play was again a disappointment, and is all kinds of terrible right now.
The Rangers tend to play better against better teams, but I don’t think that was the case in this one. Boston had the better chances throughout the game, and the Rangers only true push was in the last 4 minutes of the game. They made it easy for a fatigued Bruins team that played most of the game with 5 defensemen.
With no game until Monday, the Rangers need to pull it together and string together some more home wins. They are now 11-9-4 on home ice, which is downright bad for a team with Stanley Cup hopes. With a tough remaining schedule, they cannot afford to let points slip anymore. Losing to Boston isn’t necessarily letting points slip away, but the manner in which they did so last night was discouraging.
As an aside, and I hate being the ice time police, but I have a bone to pick with Gerard Gallant. Last game, we saw Vitali Kravtsov get on the scoresheet with a beauty of a goal. Last night, he got benched in the third for an undisclosed reason. Given the struggle for offense, benching a top nine player who has played well isn’t the way to win. Kravtsov has shown in small sample that he is responsible and the tools are there for a great hockey player.
If there’s a true problem with the Panarin-Trocheck-Kravtsov line, I’d argue the issue is Trocheck. That’s not to say Trocheck is bad or that the line has an issue, just stating that of the trio, Trocheck has the lowest offensive ceiling and appears to be the square peg in the round hole. Ideally, we see Filip Chytil get a shot, but it sure does seem like Gallant doesn’t want to change this because of the years committed to Trocheck.
Chytil has earned every bit of a chance to get better offensive linemates at 5v5, and potentially on the top powerplay. Put Chytil in Trocheck’s spot and see what the results are, both at even strength and on the powerplay. Something needs a shakeup with the Rangers, and this is the path of least resistance.
Bruins 1, Rangers 0
Defensive zone turnover leads to goal against. Stop me if you’ve heard that before.
Bruins 2, Rangers 0
This was a 3-on-3 rush, but the Rangers botched the coverage and left Patrice Bergeron all alone in the high slot. He doesn’t miss from there.
Bruins 3, Rangers 0
Another turnover, another goal. That’s two goals against from turnovers, and definitely cost them the game.
Bruins 3, Rangers 1
There is no real breakdown by the Bruins here. Just Ben Harpur casually putting a wrister by Jeremy Swayman for his first goal in four years. He has more goals as a Ranger than Sammy Blais.