The New York Rangers turned in a lackluster performance Tuesday night, losing on home ice to the visiting St. Louis Blues 3-1. The loss dropped the Rangers record to 1-3-0 four games into this new season. Carl Gunnarsson, Brayden Schenn, and Jaden Schwartz scored the goals for the Blues, while Mika Zibanejad scored his 5th of the young season for the Rangers’ lone goal. Lundqvist, who has been shaky, to say the least at the beginning of this season, stopped 20 of 23 shots on this night. He made a few big saves, but a goal by Schenn in which he banked it off Lundqvist, which turned out to be the game winner, will be remembered on this night.
Rangers outlook after early blunders
While still early, there should definitely be some worrying going on through the organization. A team who normally starts fast with a lot of success has not this year. A team that is struggling scoring goals and struggling to keep the puck out of their net is the situation they are in, and it must change soon. Two forwards have been bright spots so far this year. Both Mika Zibanejad and Pavel Buchnevich have started the year fast. Zibanejad has 5 goals in the young campaign. Buchnevich, who hasn’t popped a goal yet, has been fantastic in all other facets. They have been great to start the year, and the Rangers will need them as well as other forwards to continue producing.
To my eye at this point of the season, which is again early, there are three guys that have under performed and need to step up. Of course, it is early, but these guys need to pick it up fast. Ryan McDonagh is one. To this point, he has been outmuscled often, and as the captain, he needs to take control of this situation, especially from a defensive standpoint. Kevin Hayes and J.T. Miller are the other two players who have been abysmal to this point. After the trade of Derek Stepan over the summer and the loss of Oscar Lindberg to the Vegas Golden Knights. They were already major parts of this team and their production was needed. Now it is needed more than ever, and so far they look like they are playing hockey on a different planet. Both guys are expected to score 20 goals and get 40 points. Yes, it is early, but this is something these two guys have a history of.
Moral of the story is while there are concerns, it is still early. The Rangers have 9 more games left this month and 7 of them are on home ice. Unlike last year they need to make home ice advantage a thing and turn this ship around before it is too late.