The Blueshirts’ woes continue as they drop their fourth in a row.
The New York Rangers suffered a tough loss in a game they should’ve won on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Not only did they lose the game, but they also lost one of their best players, Filip Chytil, to an upper-body injury for 4-6 weeks.
For that reason, it was guaranteed that the lines would look very different on Tuesday against the Buffalo Sabres. The “KZB” line was reunited after a few games off. Phillip Di Giuseppe was moved to the right wing and promoted to the second line.
Alexis Lafrenière and Brett Howden joined Kaapo Kakko on the third line. Brendan Lemieux returned to his regular role as the fourth line left winger and Colin Blackwell was moved to the right wing.
After an unimpressive performance on Sunday, Brendan Smith was benched, making room for Jack Johnson to return to the lineup. Igor Shestekrin, who arguably lost the Rangers the game on Sunday, was benched for Alexandar Georgiev.
The team would look very different on Tuesday. Chytil would be missed, but can these line changes break the losing streak?
1st period: Key!
The first period was the Rangers’ best. Georgiev came up with some very good saves to start the game and all throughout. He was pretty solid for the Rangers in this game.
The Rangers had been having trouble getting production from their top-six forwards, especially their top line. It looked like reuniting the three original top liners was a good idea.
A fantastic pass from Pavel Buchnevich, who has been having a great season, allowed Chris Kreider to score a much-needed goal.
Of course, Johnson couldn’t go a game without making his presence known. With 8:22 left, he tripped Rasmus Dahlin, and this proved to be costly. Georgiev had no chance on a great shot by Dylan Cozens.
With just seconds left in the period, K’Andre Miller let one rip, scoring his first NHL goal. His fantastic play had been noticeable all period, so this goal was very well-deserved. It really is amazing how quickly Miller has been able to adapt to the NHL.
2nd period: Another bad second period
The Rangers’ struggles in the second period of games continue. They were given an early opportunity on the power play when the Sabres were penalized for having too many men on the ice.
However, the Rangers were unable to get anything done on the man-advantage and the Sabres were able to immediately score to tie the game.
Jacob Trouba misplayed the puck at center ice, allowing it to get past him. Tony DeAngelo was nowhere to be found and Tobias Rieder was able to score on a breakaway.
About seven minutes into the period, Miller was penalized for cross-checking, sending the Sabres to the power play for the second time.
Just a few seconds in, Sabres captain Jack Eichel received an amazing pass from Victor Olofsson, allowing him to score his first goal of the young season.
With eight minutes left, the Rangers were forced onto the penalty kill yet again when Adam Fox was booked for holding Eichel. The Rangers did a solid job here.
With 3:44 left in the period, Kreider was sent to the box for boarding. Fortunately, the Rangers had another good kill here.
Overall, this was an abysmal period for the Rangers and the only good thing about it was the penalty kill, which looked pretty strong.
However, the fact that they had to kill so many penalties in the first place was problematic and showed that they were undisciplined. The Rangers didn’t commit a single penalty on Sunday, so they clearly regressed, in that regard.
3rd period:The boys look dejected
The third period was very uneventful until the 8:37 mark, when Artemi Panarin drew a penalty for the Rangers’ second of the game.
They did have some decent scoring chances in the second half of the period, but nothing came of them.The fact that the Rangers are allergic to winning faceoffs makes their job so much more difficult.
The Rangers looked dejected and unenthused while playing, and it’s hard to blame them. They’ve won one game, have three points (good for last in the division), and have four-straight one goal losses.
While it’s true that the top-six haven’t been producing and the goaltending has been underwhelming, it’s hard to argue that head coach David Quinn‘s seat is getting hot.
Key Moment: It’s in the name, of course!
The key moment of the game was “Key’s” first career NHL goal. Miller is off to an incredible start and looks like he’s going to have a fantastic career. This goal also did put the Rangers ahead, but that lead wouldn’t last long.
Player of the game: Pavel Buchnevich
For the second time this season, the honor of “player of the game” goes to Buchnevich. Buchnevich finished the game with one point, an assist on the Rangers’ first goal, but he was buzzing up and down the ice the entire game. He made some great offensive plays and continued to show his value as an excellent two-way forward. It really does look like this is Buch’s year.