Complete Effort Needed Against Golden Knights

It’s Halloween and the Rangers are looking to scare up some sort of 60-minute effort tonight as they face one of the feel-good stories of the early season, the Vegas Golden Knights.

The first-year Golden Knights have kicked off their year with a stellar 8-2-0 start. The Blueshirts are coming off another floundering first period, this time in Montreal, and saw their record drop to 3-7-2 with a 5-4 loss to the Canadiens.

[Watch Tonight’s Rangers-Golden Knights Game on MSG and Download Free on MSG GO]

Last night in Brooklyn, Vegas began a six-game road trip against the Islanders and were handed a 6-3 loss. The injuries at their goaltending position keep on coming. Third-string Oscar Dansk took an awkward fall in the second period and was replaced by fourth-string Max Lagace. Starter Marc-Andre Fleury is out indefinitely with a concussion, while recently acquired Malcolm Subban is out at least a month with a lower-body injury.

In post game comments made in Montreal, both Rick Nash and Ryan McDonagh acknowledged the lack of compete in their club, as did Alain Vigneault when he met with the media after the game. Most explicitly cited was the lack of effort in the first period as the club fell behind 3-0.

No compete manifests itself most plainly when it comes to one-on-one battles, those competitive situations in the smaller areas of the ice. This malaise has to stop for this group to have any chance of rectifying what has been a very disappointing start. The good news was rallying to tie the game at 4-4 in the third, but the hole that was dug by a lack of compete early proved too deep to overcome.

Alain Vigneault talks to the media about Henrik Lundqvist's adjustments and what he needs from the Rangers as they get ready to battle the Vegas Golden Knights.

3 KEYS TO RANGERS-GOLDEN KNIGHTS

1. Decision Making

The Rangers must be better when it comes to deciding where to go and when to go with regards to covering their own end of the ice. Helter-skelter decision making leads to helter-skelter coverage and that won’t work against this quick, swarming opponent.

2. Attack the Net

The Golden Knights goaltending situation is in dire straits due to injury and must be exploited to the max. Traffic and pucks to the net must be the foremost thought entering the offensive zone.

Henrik Lundqvist discusses how the Blueshirts need to focus on what they can control and how they can help each other gain confidence.

3. Lundqvist

In the net after two games off, it will fall to Henrik Lundqvist to make the important save that needs to made at that time of the game where we all acknowledge, “that was a huge save.” Particularly early.

[Watch Tonight’s Rangers-Golden Knights Game on MSG and Download Free on MSG GO]