Following a heartening victory over the Flyers in Philadelphia on Friday afternoon, the Blueshirts were poised to launch another winning streak last night at The Garden.
After all, this New York club has all the makings of an elite outfit from here to springtime. But that’s getting ahead of things, especially now that Alain Vigneault‘s one-game winning streak is over.
OVERVIEW: If the last six games tell any story about the Blueshirts it’s that they are — after the speedy start — in a, dare I say, semi-slump. They are 2-3-1 in their last half-dozen contests. For this season that’s eminently un-Ranger-like.
WHAT WENT WRONG:
- HOT GOALIE: Veteran Craig Anderson has had the Rangers number in the past and showed it again. While not overworked, he made the saves when necessary.
- COLD SHOOTERS: The Blueshirts may have fired 33 shots, but they were not generating enough chances to beat a team that frustrated the home club with a tight defense.
- FAILURE TO BEAT THE TRAP: Time and again the Rangers tried their favored “stretch pass” and, more often than not, Ottawa’s center ice “trap” foiled the offensive maneuver.
- POWER PLAY FAILURE: Gifted with four power plays, the Seventh Avenue Skaters came away with a goose egg.
- BAD LUCK: Ottawa’s second goal resulted from the puck bouncing off the referee’s skate over to the Senators on their power play. Prior to that Marc Staal had been penalized on what replays indicated was a referee’s mistake.
ON THE PLUS SIDE:
- NEAT NASH: Once again Rick Nash showed to advantage especially on an end to end rush. It didn’t result in a goal, but the Big Guy displayed good speed and zest.
- GOALTENDING: Antti Raanta played well in the New York net, but since he can’t score, his solid effort went for naught.
WHAT TO IMPROVE:
- SIMPLIFY THE POWER PLAY: Too often in the NHL, too much time is wasted before plays are generated.
- IMPROVE DEFENSIVE COVERAGE: When Mark Stone scored the second Ottawa goal, the Rangers could’ve used more sticks down or greater obstruction in the passing lane.
ALAIN VIGNEAULT’S VIEW: “We wanted to bring on the speed, but Ottawa put on a strong checking performance. It was hard for us to generate speed in the neutral zone.”
THE VIEWER’S VIEW: “The Senators made the most of their opportunities. New York couldn’t find a way to convert on the power play.” – Patrick McCormack, Long Island.
NEXT GAME: Tuesday Night vs. Carolina on MSG at 6:30 PM.