Game one of the back to back vs Colorado…
The first game the Rangers lost Saturday night was to one of the hottest teams in the NHL, understood, there was not much getting in between that team and a victory. Especially on home ice. The Avalanche opened the scoring with a beautiful tip in by Eric Johnson (7) from none other then the duo of Mikko Ratanen and Nate McKinnon. Just 9:00 minutes in and the Avalanche had the lead 1-0. And just 3:24 into the second period, the Hart favorite, Nate McKinnon scored his 23rd of the year for an Avalanche 2-0 lead.
The Avalanche controlled the entirety of the game and out-shot the Rangers 37-28. Food for thought the Avalanche have not trailed one second since the start of 2018, that means they have had the lead for every single game they have played during January. Back to the action. The Rangers down 2-0, capitalized on a power play goal from Pavel Buchnevich assisted by Mats Zuccarello and Ryan McDonagh. Heading into the third, a one goal game the Rangers were unable to muster any offense and only threw 11 shots on net. The Avalanche would eventually score an empty net goal to finish off the Rangers for a 3-1 win.
Game two vs Los Angeles Recap…
Game two of the back to back was against the Kings, a team that has lost six of their last ten games. This game has some history behind it as the Rangers and the Kings have met in the Stanley Cup back in 2015. That was three years ago, and a lot has changed since then.
The game started off with a David Desharnais(5) goal on the power play. The positive is the Rangers scored against the best penalty kill in the league, as well as the second leading penalty kill Saturday night(Colorado). Just 3:15 later the Rangers were able to score their second goal and final goal of the night, off a Jimmy Vesey(10) backhand. The Kings would go onto score three second period goals, one from Jake Muzzin(4), Mike Amadio(2) and the third Tanner Pearson(9). That was the story of the night, the Rangers allowed three power play goals, all in the second period and what was the crutch to their success.
They again got out-shot 30-23. Over the course of two games they could not manage to throw more than 30 shots on net in both games. This is not good news for the Rangers, yes they have been banged up these last two games, without Kevin Hayes, Marc Staal(really not much) and Kevin Shattenkirk. But the Rangers dropping two straight when they are in the hunt for a playoff spot is bad news. They now sit one point away from being knocked out of a playoff spot and were recently jumped by the Flyers for the first wild card spot. They continue their West Coast trip vs the Ducks and end with the Sharks. The good news coming out of this is, the Rangers do go another six-day break for the All-Star break and this could give them to get healthy, recenter their attention, get their focus back and make this final push for a playoff spot. From here on out it is a sprint and every game has playoff implications.
Rangers face off against Anaheim Tuesday night. A day break is needed, a win is needed, the season is closing in and the Rangers need to wake up.