There’s an old saying in hockey circles, if you’re going to stink, stink on the road. The NY Rangers stunk on the road in Buffalo. The fact they were able to get a point out of the contest was nothing short of a miracle and a testament to the play of Jaroslav Halak throughout the game. If any below average backup is in net, Buffalo likely runs away with it.
The Rangers mustered a whole 2 shots on goal in the first period. They were on the second half of a back to back with a travel day, so perhaps that should have been a sign we were in for a long night. Yet they still managed to send the game to overtime, getting a point in what was as close to a schedule loss as they come. Buffalo treated this game like a playoff game, the Rangers did not. Add that to the travel day and back to back, and it was a recipe for failure.
I ultimately believe in this group, I think they are in a funk at this time. It just happens to be poor timing for a funk. This may also be a time to change up the lines. The general consensus has been to take last night’s lines and just flip the centers, which was tried for a brief stint last night as well. Perhaps though, it’s time to take a more drastic measure.
While the kid line has been brilliant and saving the day, I think if you spread those three players out amongst the top 9, it would make for an immensely deep lineup. If you had Kakko to be a puck retriever for Mika and Kreider for instance, or Chytil centering Panarin and Tarasenko, and Lafrenière playing with Trocheck and Kane in a mostly offensive 3rd line, I think that’d be a recipe for success. There are many possibilities.
Back to the game at large, this is one where you light the tape on fire and move on with the point. First periods are a continued problem this month. While the Rangers have the luxury of elite goaltending bailing them out as they “get into the game,” it’s a disservice to Igor Shesterkin and Jaro Halak alike that the team take a period off. More times than not, the Rangers will wind up trailing early and have to claw their way back. Hopefully with a fully healthy lineup and some rest and practice, this will just be a blip.