The New York Rangers were up to their old tricks last night against the St. Louis Blues. They found a way to win 2-1 but need to be better moving forward.
By Chris Wengert
The New York Rangers squeaked by the St. Louis Blues last night with another inconsistent effort.
It’s a little unnerving too, because for the past week or so the Rangers have played like they did at the beginning of the season.
They have relied heavily on Henrik Lundqvist and looked downright confused at times. But we’ll come back to that.
First off, that was easily the best Hank has looked since last year’s playoffs as he covered up for a plethora of mistakes by the rest of the team. Hopefully he can stayed dialed in for another few months.
Lundqvist also surpassed Mike Richter’s franchise save record of 17,379 with his 35 saves last night. That puts the record at 17,404 and counting. Is there any question that Henrik Lundqvist’s number will eventually be lifted to the Garden rafters?
It would have been interesting to see what Richter’s career would have been if he didn’t sustain those two c concussions that ended his career. What a shame.
Anyway, back to the game.
Once again we find ourselves using cliches to rationalize a rough game. “A win is a win. Take the two points and run, etc.”
Was it a good road win? Eh. While there is an element of truth to some of these cliches, the Rangers need to start building on their strong starts.
Against both St. Louis and New Jersey the Rangers came out strong for the first 10 minutes or so. In both instances the Rangers established a forecheck and showed some jump.
But I’ve always said that you can never judge a game for the first 10 minutes of the first period because players are runningon energy and adrenaline. The real product is usually divulged after this 10 minute mark.
And for the most part the Rangers were looking good mid-way through the first period. Rangers’ enforcer Tanner Glass deflected a Dan Girardi blast from the point past Jake Allen to put the Blueshirts up 1-0.
Tanner Glass is rarely the best player on the ice for the Rangers, but he is always at the top of the list when it comes to hard work. It takes a lot of focus for a player to tune out his critics, which Glass has plenty of, and it’s good to see that the Ranger forward is having some success on the score sheet.
Marc Staal’s return to the lineup was a mostly uneventful one, which is a good thing. If Staal goes unnoticed for the rest of the season it will be considered a victory. The Rangers veteran has found publicity this season for all of the wrong reasons.
Ryan McDonagh on the other hand, had a pretty rough game. While he did make one great defensive play to save a potential goal, his decisions on the blue line continue to be a problem.
And it has been a problem for the entire season. When pressured at the blue line Ryan McDonagh has a knack for being burned. I don’t want to generalize especially because it was his first game back from a second injury in two weeks, but the defense did look stronger when McDonagh was out.
No, I’m not suggesting Mac should sit, but he does need to be better.
Kevin Klein has had some pretty awful puck luck the past couple of games. A puck deflected off of his person to seal the New Jersey game, and the puck took a similar bounce last night
Chris Kreider was passing up lame ducks to St. Louis all night long. Outside of his one goal which was more a result of Oscar Lindberg’s magical pass, Kreider was brutal.
It wasn’t the lazy Kreider we saw for the first half of the season where it seemed as if effort was an issue. This time is was boneheaded, bad-decision Kreider, who was full of turnovers in the neutral zone.
Speaking of Lindberg-wow.
I stated last night that I believe Lindberg should receive more criticism, even though he is a rookie, for his lack of production lately. A few minutes later I inserted my foot into my mouth.
Hold on to your hats Rangers’ fans. as the armchair General Managers are going to be out in full force over the weekend.