McIlrath fails to impress, Boyle and Fast set to return

Hutchinson stoned the NYR (Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)

Hutchinson stoned the NYR (Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)

Last night the Rangers sloppy defensive play and horrible special teams execution bit them in their collective asses. After jumping out to a 1-0 lead off a beautiful 3 on 1 with Mats Zuccarello finishing, the Blueshirts got cocky, lazy and eventually torched.

Alain Vigneault may have overplayed his hand by sticking with Tanner Glass and inserting a green and below average puck moving defenseman in McIlrath over Dan Boyle. While I completely understand the logic against a big and nasty Winnipeg team, neither of them did anything to stop the endless amounts of slashes, bumping and flattening of players like Rick Nash, Marc Staal and Dan Girardi.

Although AV cited special teams limited McIlrath in the game, he could’ve at any time gone over to Chris Thorburn and challenged him. While I appreciate the fact he is trying to be a better defenseman, he should realize that being a carbon copy of any current NYR blue-liner is not the answer.

Tanner Glass, who had a bad night with regards to corsi stats (-11) at least tried to get in Thorburn’s face in the 2nd period. Of course, Glass was the target for many fancy stat advocates as being the main reason why the 4th line was terrible at shots for and against. If they were honest, he was probably the best player of the 3. Did anyone even realize Jarret Stoll was in the lineup? If not for Dominic Moore failing to cover his man leading to another Lundqvist highlight save, I wouldn’t have noticed him either. Glass at least had 4 hits on the night with no turnovers.

At practice today, Jesper Fast and Dan Boyle were in their regular spots. This should come as no surprise as they comprise the best possible Rangers lineup moving forward. What we can expect to see soon is Emerson Etem making his Rangers debut for either Jarret Stoll or possibly Viktor Stalberg.

The Rangers foreshadowed this loss in both wins over Columbus. It was extremely evident in their home opener that they aren’t playing up to par defensively. They won both those games on skill and some pretty bad goaltending by Sergei Bobrovsky. Against Michael Hutchinson, they ran into a wall.

Now the Rangers will head into Montreal for their home-opener. The Canadiens are 4-0 and will be particularly tough. Of course, the Rangers went into Chicago and played their most complete game of the season. I think we can expect as much from them this Thursday.

Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore

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