New York Rangers, Henrik Lundqvist
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

As the New York Rangers go 2-2 on their four-game west coast trip, the team is learning how to win hockey games.

Frank Curto

With overtime concluding in Anaheim on Thursday night, the New York Rangers found themselves in a familiar spot, a shootout. For the second consecutive game, the Blueshirts earned a victory, this time defeating the Ducks 3-2 as they learn how to win close, one-goal hockey games.

One-goal games tend to be chaotic and stressful, but they can build character and confidence for the team. Just take a look at the shootout win over the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night when Kevin Shattenkirk scored the winning goal.

The Rangers were leading by one with just 1.3 seconds left in the game when San Jose scored to send the game into overtime. The boys battled the Sharks in the five minute overtime session, then went through all three shootout scoring opportunities until Kevin Shattenkirk buried the game-winner.

A learning moment for sure, but a confidence builder. Their first road win prevented a three-game losing streak and it gave the team a boost.

The team put themselves in almost the exact same situation Thursday allowing the tying goal with 46 seconds left in the game. The team is having trouble closing out close games in regulation, but still is finding ways to get the win.

The coaching staff too is learning what players work well in different situations. Quinn rolled the same lineup in Thursday nights game in Anaheim as he did in the San Jose win Tuesday. This meant Russian forward Pavel Buchnevich would sit for the second consecutive game as he was a healthy scratch in San Jose.

“I thought we had a really good hockey game the other night, and those guys deserve to be back in with their effort,” David Quinn sais as was reported by Newsday’s Colin Stephenson.

The San Jose game allowed the coaching staff to see what works well especially in close games. The Rangers aren’t going to be a powerhouse scoring team anytime soon, so the coaching staff will need to depend on the player’s smarts and defensive skill to get wins.

The team continues to get a lot of shots on goal but the end results will lack some entertaining value. Only wins can excuse a lack of scoring. This team, after 13 games, maybe finding ways to stay in games long enough to get points.

The team plays better with Georgiev in goal

Alexandar Georgiev has won both of his starts following his recall from Hartford last week. The team seems to play a more complete hockey game when the rookie goaltender starts for the team as opposed to relying on Henrik Lundqvist to cover up for the team’s mistakes.

Georgiev played a strong game against a feisty Ducks team making 28 saves. The rookie has been battling shots off recently but has been able to keep the team in games as was the case Thursday night. He prevented two Ducks players, Pontus Aberg, and Ryan Getzlaf from scoring in the shootout as he earned the win and was named the first star of the game.

The Blueshirts return home Sunday to host the Buffalo Sabres. Plenty of lessons learned, yet concern still exists.

The one goal games have had a different situation evolve, one that is becoming a concern quickly. For the third game in a row, the team has given up the winning or tying goal within the last minute of play in the third period. The team must learn how to close out games in regulation time if they want to move up in the tight standings of the Eastern Conference.

Learning how to play one-goal games can be a painful lesson at times. The New York Rangers are 1-2 in these past three games, which could be 0-3 if not for their shootout success.

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A graduate of St. John's University class of '91. I have been a fan of the New York Rangers since the days of Peter Puck. Founder of Ranger Proud, the Facebook page that covers all news, notes, pre /post-game stats, and player quotes. I can be reached at