Opinion: Rangers Need to Make Minor Adjustments to Even Up Series with Panthers

Filip Chytil skating for the New York Rangers
Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images

After being shutout 3-0 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the New York Rangers need to go into Game 2 ready to pounce on the Florida Panthers, or the series could end up being a gloomy one for the Blueshirts.

Now, the Rangers did not play terribly in Game 1. They got good enough goaltending from Igor Shesterkin to win the game and they were able to handle the Panthers physicality without having to take penalties.

With that said, the Rangers need to make a few adjustments if they want to tie up the series in Game at Madison Square Garden. For starters, their passing need to be a lot better.

Too often in Game 1, the Rangers made soft passes and the play ended up coming back the other way. The Panthers are not a team that you want to give the puck to as they are great with it when they have possession.

Secondly, the Rangers need to throw more pucks on the net. Putting 24 shots on Panthers’ goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky is not enough.

Speaking of Bobrovsky, the Rangers need to create more traffic in front of him. If Bobrovsky can see the puck, he is going to stop it. As such, the Blueshirts need to create chaos in front of him and force him to scramble to find the puck.

The Rangers need to find a way to create more scoring opportunities at even strength. While the Panthers were the most penalized team in the NHL this season, they did not take many penalties in Game 1, so if the Panthers continue to play that disciplined, the Blueshirts are going to have to find a way to score at 5-on-5.

In order to create more scoring opportunities and get more puck possession time, Rangers’ head coach Peter Laviolette, should consider using the following lines:

Chris Kreider-Mika Zibanejad-Filip Chytil
Artemi Panarin-Vincent Trocheck-Alexis Lafreniere
Jack Roslovic-Alex Wennberg-Kaapo Kakko
Will Cuylle-Barclay Goodrow-Jimmy Vesey

While it may be too soon to put Chytil on the first line, something needs to be done in order to get more offense out of them at even strength. Giving Chytil a shot up there might be worth taking a look at.

The Blueshirts should also consider changing up their defensive pairings. Having Jacob Trouba and K’Andre Miller on the same pairing is a nightmare, as they turnover the puck a lot and are prone to making mistakes when pressured.

As such, Laviolette should use the following defensive pairings in Game 2:

Adam Fox-Ryan Lindgren
Jacob Trouba-Braden Schneider
K’Andre Miller-Erik Gustafsson

Being down 2-0 in the series, both Laviolette and his team should be open to making a few changes to right the ship before it starts to sink at the most critical point of the year. Knowing the way this team has played all year long, one should expect the team to do what they need to do to win come tomorrow night in Game 2 at Madison Square Garden.

In this week's episode, we have on guest HockeyStatMiner to discuss NYR's Salary cap situation, potential moves and more.How to support us and our sponsors:Columbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITRThanks for listening! Please rate and review our show on your favorite listening platform. Check out our partner's website at www.insidetherink.com for all your latest hockey news.
  1. Guest HockeyStatMiner
  2. Many Directions, One Goal
  3. A Heartbreaking End, Offseason Begins
  4. Game 5 Recap : Guest Joe Fortunato
  5. Game 4 Recap : Breakout Breakdown

Patrick Hoffman

Patrick covers the NHL for Inside The Rink. He has previously covered the league for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave, WTP Sports, Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.

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