The NY Rangers found a way to overcome a sluggish first two periods to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 in OT. But, on the eve of Patrick Kane’s debut with the team, it was their first big-time deadline acquisition (which seems like a lifetime ago), Vladimir Tarasenko, that flashed his star power with two assists and the game-winning OT goal.
This contest wasn’t a masterpiece, but let’s break down the good, the bad, and everything in between.
Through nine games, early returns for Tarasenko were average at best. After bursting on the scene with a goal on only his second shift with the team, the rest of his short tenure has seen him trying to find his niche. Last night, the potential for his impact was on full display.
He set up the Rangers’ first goal on the power play with a beautiful slot pass for Mika to sweep in. Then, in the third period, with a rising shot from the point, he found Kreider’s stick for a beautiful deflection to tie the game at 2.
However, his heroics in OT highlighted the skillset that makes his presence on this team a most needed weapon. Chytil made what seemed like a set play to put the puck on Tarasenko’s stick with a head of steam. He entered the offensive zone straight up the middle, juked a defender, and sent a high-rising snipe over Carter Hart’s shoulder that he’s still looking for.
On a team that sometimes has a frustrating lack of ability to finish, bringing in a player with Tarasenko’s arsenal could be the elixir the Rangers have been looking for. When Kane gets here, they might find the whole cure. Let’s hope.
While the vibes were all positive because of how the game ended, it doesn’t fully mask some disturbing trends for this team.
I know this is a unique situation with our roster (more on that below), but these issues have been prominent throughout this season, so it’s no excuse.
After a fast start (which is like seeing a unicorn for this team), the Rangers could not stay out of the box. Three straight penalties, even against the league’s worst power-play, is not a recipe for success, and sure enough, Owen Tippet took advantage of a PK breakdown to tie the game at 1.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, in the second period, the Rangers looked slow, disinterested, and downright sloppy. Another instance of the Rangers playing down to their competition and not only letting them hang around, but last night, it led to a 2-1 Flyers lead after two periods.
They’re lucky the Flyers aren’t the type of offensive team to take advantage of these flaws despite living in the Rangers’ offensive zone for most of the second period. If they were, the Blueshirts wouldn’t have been able to keep it close enough to pull it out in the end.
We won’t go too deep here, and I realize they are in this predicament to get a unique chance to acquire a player of Patrick Kane’s ilk. But this is a rhythm we can only sustain for a little while, or we risk burning out our players.
It’s one thing to be missing players due to injury (Lindgren) and suspension (Miller), but to be so close to the cap you can’t even replace those players with ANYONE becomes extremely glaring.
Again, no one in their wildest dreams ever considered we could afford Tarasenko AND Kane, so this is a mad scramble that’s hard to plan for. Yet, I hope the Rangers can get back to a full roster soon for the sake of the players that ARE playing. Having your defensemen play high minutes night after night in the regular season is a dangerous tightrope to walk if you have plans to stay fresh for a long playoff run.
CAN I GO NOW?
- The Kid Line looked sharp last night, but I can only put them in the GOOD category if it results in production. I’m still hoping Chytil is getting this out of his system now because this is the frustrating lack of finish that made you wonder if he’d ever find a complete game. I’m all in if this is just a bump in the road, and he wants to return to form for the playoffs.
- Igor didn’t look great on that second goal, but again, I blame the defense for even letting Laughton get in that position. Overall, Shesterkin played a solid enough game, albeit against a lesser team.
- Goodrow, my man. It’s one thing to hit the post, but you must take advantage of a wide-open net like that. Misses like that are why we upgraded our top six and why Goody’s value is better suited on the fourth line.
- While, at times, they still have efficient kills, the PK has formed a bad habit of giving up a goal a game. When they are humming, they shut the other team down and become a weapon themselves. We need to get back to that level.
- Right back at it with a home game against Ottawa tonight. Nothing else exciting about this matchup. Nope, just your standard run-of-the-mill affair. I would tune in, though, if I were you. 🙂