Rangers recap: Rangers lose in LA

The Harvey Dent Rangers (note: Two-Face) showed up in Los Angeles last night. The first half of the game was the same team that was in Vegas, letting the opposition outshoot them in bunches. The Rangers had just 4 shots on goals at the 11 minute mark of the 2nd period. The Kings are a solid defensive team, but they aren’t *that* good.

The second half, though, was the Rangers team that possesses the puck like no other. To come away with another loss was extremely frustrating. This was a winnable game, and now the Rangers need to climb back out of another hole they’ve dug themselves into.

A lot of the players seem to be going through slumps simultaneously, which also isn’t helping. Artemi Panarin doesn’t have his normal jump–though I give him a pass as I believe his wife is due any day now with their baby. Chris Kreider finally scored for the first time in 8 games, finally at 5v5 as well.

K’Andre Miller had a rough game too. His turnover in the second period led to the eventual game winning goal for the Kings, but it goes beyond that. Miller is 24 years old, still learning a new position, and he’s going through some growing pains. He has been struggling to read the play in front of him, as evidenced by that turnover leading to the Quinton Byfield goal.

Outside of just last night, he and Trouba have the worst xG numbers of the Rangers defensive pairings. It’s clear Miller is struggling, and this isn’t the kind of play we normally see from him. He missed a week for mental health reasons, which is something no one should ignore. He is going through something, and we should be cognizant of it. But to be fair, as long as he’s in the lineup, he’s open to the same criticisms as the rest of the team.

The one positive, at least at the player level, was Jonathan Quick. He played extremely well in his return to LA. The team hasn’t done a good job of picking up Igor Shesterkin when he struggles, but at least Quick has been solid enough when called upon. Igor will figure it out, but perhaps there’s value in giving Quick a few more starts until everything clicks with Shesterkin.

There is no reason to believe that Chris Drury, Peter Laviolette, and the rest of the front office don’t have a plan in mind of the kind of team they want to have past the trade deadline, but getting there in this stage is an adventure to say the least. This team will regress back to what they were, but in the moment, the losing is bitter, frustrating, and aggravating all at the same time. The ideal record for this road trip was 3-1, the Rangers absolutely have to win the next two to try and salvage the road trip.


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