The New York Rangers embarked on their four-game road rip starting Monday. They kicked off the four-game series in Alberta with the Edmonton Oilers. After Edmonton the Rangers traveled to Vancouver, Calgary and finished it off Saturday night with the Minnesota Wild.
Rangers last four-games
The Oilers, were the closest and most evenly matched opponent for the Rangers in the four-game series. A team very similar in talent compared to the Rangers and close in the league standings. The Rangers ended losing the first game of the four game road series 3-2 in overtime vs Edmonton. Alexander Georgiev stopped 30-33 shots, Brendan Lemieux scored and showed Rangers fans why they are going to love him after fighting Jujhar Khaira. Also Brett Howden got the monkey off his back scoring his first goal in 35 games.
The Rangers traveled to Vancouver to face an extremely young but talented Canucks team. A game in which the Rangers held off the Canucks in the first period, but managed to allow three 2nd period goals. That was the deal breaker in the Rangers 4-1 loss Wednesday night. In hindsight, Pavel Buchnevich found the back of the net for his 16th goal of the year and his 5th goal in eight games.
After a days rest it was off to Calgary for New York. The Rangers took on the top team in the Western Conference and one of the best/most consistent NHL teams this season the Flames. After leaving the first tied 1-1 off a Neal Pionk rocket from Ryan Strome. The Rangers allowed two second period goals as that would be the dagger in the game. Resulting in a 5-1 lose.
The Rangers went back to back, Friday and Saturday night. Traveling from Calgary to Minnesota to play a game within a 24-hour notice was not easy and it clearly showed Saturday for New York. The Rangers were out shot heavily 46-28 in the game and left Henrik Lundqvist out to dry. The Wild took advantage of a tired Rangers team as they controlled the pace of the game and used their speed to get on the Rangers early. The Wild scored two 1st period goals from Ryan Donato and two 3rd period goals from Jared Spurgeon and J.T. Brown for a 5-2 Wild win. On the bright side Buchnevich scored his 17th of the season for his sixth goal in 10 games.
Why is it good for the rebuild?
Well the Rangers are allowing these young guys like Filip Chytil, Lias Andersson, Brett Howden, Neal Pionk to play a little more freely, see how important it is to play consistent every night and what late season, playoff push hockey looks like. Although the Rangers have lost 10 of their last 11 games it really is not as big as some of us may be making it. The Rangers were playing .500 hockey all season and around the 22nd mark in the NHL, well they have dropped three spots and are getting closer to the bottom of the league. AND a better 2019 draft pick. The Rangers are in no shape to win.
The consistent losing is never easy to handle but the games have been close besides for 10-12 minutes of every game where the opposing team gets an advantage. The Rangers are competing, their young players are able to play more loosely, make mistakes and learn from them. Plus we are 10-games away from the end of the 2018-19 season, there is no need to win. Compete, yes but Rangers fans would rather a top-5 draft pick than number 12, 13 draft pick. There is no benefit in winning right now. Plenty of years to come when the Rangers will need to push for the playoffs but right now Rangers fans know that is not advantageous for the big picture.