Hawks Circle Rangers in 5-2 Loss

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Here is our recap of the Rangers 5-2 loss to the Blackhawks at MSG.

Pass-First Mentality: One of the things that have been both a blessing and a curse in the time that I’ve watched Rangers hockey is the pass-first mentality. I love that the teammates are so generous that they’ll help each other out. It warms my heart, truly, but gosh darn it – can they shoot the puck sometimes?! At one point during the 2nd period, the Blueshirts were outshot 21-7! Stop passing, start shooting. Passing isn’t going to lead to the puck in the back of the net, but sometimes, just maybe, shooting will.

The Fourth Line: It’s easy to dismiss moving players around and line formations on the premise that all four lines will play during the game. But there’s one very visible fact in the last few games that we simply cannot ignore; the fourth line has been dominating play and creating the most chances for the Rangers. Paul Carey, who many were quick to dump on, has a good eye for creating chances and burying pucks, all while playing responsible hockey. Jesper Fast, who just returned to the lineup after a quad strain, is excellent as ever on the forecheck and digging those pucks out of the corners. Boo Nieves rounds out the line and has had three points in the last three games.

And the line had a big hand in getting the Rangers on the board. They got in on the forecheck, worked the puck to the point, and screened Jeff Glass so that Nick Holden’s shot could hit the back of the net. It’s one thing when the fourth line has a good game or two; but when they are carrying the team offensively, it isn’t a good sign. Now the rest of the forward group needs to get their game going.

Henrik Lundqvist: This game is the true epitome of Lundqvist’s time in New York. He has always been the goalie standing on his head while the team around him fails to step up to the plate and bury pucks. Henrik made stellar save after stellar save, including several on 2-on-1 situations, and still had to skate away with the loss.

Power Play: The Rangers’ power play has been abysmal lately, and the trend continued against the Blackhawks as the Blueshirts went 1/6. That’s 12 minutes of man advantage time that they squandered. The one highlight of this game was Zibanejad’s rocket that straight-up beat Glass for the tying goal in the second period.

Other Notes: The Rangers have a great at-home record, but a not-so-good away record, which is a bit concerning since they have many away games coming up. This month, they will be doing a west-coast swing to visit the Golden Knights and Coyotes, followed by the Sharks, Kings, Avalanche, and Ducks. It’s a tedious schedule and they need to be at the top of their game — and quite frankly, right now they can’t even commit to playing a full 60 minutes. It’s gonna be an interesting month. Lettieri is going to be traveling to Vegas and Arizona with the team, per AV.

Christina is an avid hockey fan and a great writer.

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