The New York Rangers failed for the second straight game to close out the Carolina Hurricanes, dropping a disappointing effort at MSG last night. The Rangers got one goal, a shorthanded goal from Jacob Trouba, and for some reason thought that would be enough. With the Rangers digging themselves a hole, it’s clear they need to fix things, and quickly.

The Rangers got off to a good start in Game 5, controlling play in the first period and, even if they didn’t score, the game felt like the Rangers would eventually win. Then Trouba got the shorthanded goal and we saw visibly frustrated Hurricanes on the bench, seemingly unable to solve Igor Shesterkin.

Then the third period happened.

The Rangers got lazy, plain and simple. At the risk of singling out one play/player, but Sean Avery is mostly right in his analysis of Jack Roslovic’s play leading to the Jordan Staal goal. I wouldn’t call for him to come out of the lineup, but the drive by and the lazy stick work was a direct input into the goal against that gave Carolina hope.

Artemi Panarin didn’t back check properly on Evgeny Kuznetsov’s goal, the game winner, either.

Both plays essentially summarized the Rangers’ effort in the third period. They felt like Shesterkin would stop everything, but not if they lose their structure. That was the case last night. Lazy plays all around in the third period. They got complacent and they got comfortable.

The powerplay is also not firing on all cylinders like it was in the first three games, again getting stale with no movement to open space. This allows Carolina to pressure the puck carrier and easily defend. Perhaps some of it is related to Adam Fox’s knee injury, but they scored a bunch in the first few games of the series.

This is not just on the players either. With the Rangers digging themselves a hole, the coaching staff should be the ones to step in and set the right tone and message. Instead, we heard about Dan Muse preaching defense defense defense, as if they were playing not to lose instead of playing to win.

Hopefully, the Rangers figure it out on Thursday night, or else all the momentum swings Carolina’s way. An extra day off is nice, and hopefully it means Filip Chytil is good to go for Game 6. They need more offense and they need more stable puck movement. Chytil looked good in Game 3 before missing the last two games. He’s no savior, but he stretches the lineup and forces Rod Brind’Amour to re-think his matchup preferences.

Game 6 is now a must win for the Rangers.


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