Rangers Recap: The Igor Game
They don’t always ask you how pretty, sometimes it’s just how you find a way to win the game. That’s what the contest between the Rangers and Sabres was, the Rangers once again finding a way to win against a lesser opponent. It’s clear the team is in some kind of lull or funk at this time, they have not been good the last couple of weeks. Now part of that was injuries to key players, Miller’s suspension, and the roster/cap shenanigans they had to pull off in order to acquire Patrick Kane. However, the last 2 games against Montreal and Buffalo have shown that the Rangers are still struggling in their own end, and with establishing a good forecheck in the offensive zone.
For whatever reason–I don’t know if the team just doesn’t want to go 100% against teams who aren’t going to make the playoffs–but the team just looks lost right now. Chris Kreider was taking penalties he used to take in his early Alain Vigneault days and risked losing the game in the final six minutes of the 3rd period. You just can’t have one of your leaders make those kind of mistakes. At least Kane getting another goal and Artemi Panarin came up clutch in the overtime to get those all important 2 points.
While the forwards and defense are still figuring out how they are going to gel, one thing is for sure: Igor is back. He had his little stint where he was letting in beach balls for a week, but he is back to form. The saves he was making against the Sabres–who are a really good scoring team objectively–made it obvious that he was locked in. The Sabres would have had at least 4 goals if it were any other goalie.
The Rangers were busy giving wide open chances on penalty kills, defensive breakdowns where the Buffalo forwards were getting the advantage against Miller, Trouba, Mikkola, and Fox. Shesterkin had to be on his game, and he was. Igor stopped all but one of 33 Sabres shots. The team defense without Lindgren is something to see, and it’s amazing just how different the pairings play when he is not in the lineup.
Short and sweet today, with another game this afternoon and a returning Ryan Lindgren. The lines are in a blender, but the Rangers are getting points while figuring it out. It’s been ugly, but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
Categorized: Game Wrap-ups