Monday Morning Analysis: New York Rangers tale of two games was very Jekyll and Hyde

The New York Rangers opened the season with a series split against the NY Islanders. The Blueshirts lost 4-0 in the first game Thursday and bounced back with a 5-0 win Saturday night.

There were some good and some bad takeaways for the Rangers during this two-game set. A Jekyll and Hyde performance to say the least.

New York Rangers vs New York Islanders: The Good

Bounced Back Nicely

After some lineup changes, the Rangers were able to bounce back after a devastating loss in the first game. The Rangers played a better all-around game on Saturday than they did on Thursday when they were shutout.

Alexander Georgiev puck tracking was a notable with 23 saves in a shutout win against the Islanders. Ranger fans are hoping to see more of the team they saw on Saturday when they face NJ tomorrow.

Lafreniere Panarin
Lafreniere celebrates Panarin’s breakaway goal (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Penalty Kill

A weak spot for the Rangers last season was their penalty kill (77.9%) and coming into this season they wanted to improve. They struggled in game one allowing 2 goals on 8 chances but then went 4-4 in the shutout win (83.3%). Hopefully, the Rangers can build on this promising performance from their penalty kill in game two.

Star Players Stepped up in game two

The Rangers in their win over the Islanders on Saturday were led by strong performances from Pavel Buchnevich and Artemi Panarin. Buchnevich looked like a star with a three-point night tallying two goals and an assist. Panarin tallied two goals as well in the win. Other notable performances were Mika Zibanejad and Adam Fox who each notched an assist in the game.

New York Rangers vs New York Islanders: The Bad

Powerplay Struggles

While the penalty kill for the Rangers was fairly good, the powerplay struggled against the Islanders. They only scored on one of their eleven chances in the two-game series when Artemi Panarin finally found the back of the net.

The powerplay was able to move the puck well and get shots off, but many pucks missed the net or were blocked. David Quinn and the Rangers will look to try to get the powerplay going since it was one of the strong suits for the Blueshirts.

Igor Shesterkin
Shesterkin and the Rangers fall to the Islanders (Bruce Bennett / Getty Images)

Slow start and a Lackluster Performance in Season Opener

The Ranger’s offense in their season opener was nowhere to be found. The top 6 forward group especially were silenced in game one. David Quinn shuffled the lines as the game went on hoping to spark some offensive life. Quinn’s efforts did not succeed in an embarrassing loss the Quinn said his players “cheated the game” by playing “hope hockey.”

Along with no offensive presence, the defense for the Rangers was not much better. Notably, offseason acquisition Jack Johnson had a poor performance. He committed an early holding the stick penalty which led to the Islanders first goal early in the first period.

Later in the period, Johnson attempted to dump a puck that ended up hitting a linesman and it turned into Matthew Barzal’s first goal on the season.

Lack of Discipline in First Game

The glaring problem from the Rangers season opener was their lack of discipline. The Rangers took eight penalties against the Islanders on Thursday.

The discipline issues was highlighted by Tony DeAngelo. He took a holding penalty and then proceeded to take an unsportsmanlike penalty after he mouthed off to the refs and slammed the penalty box door shut. This led to DeAngelo being a healthy scratch for the second game against the Islanders.

Overall, the Rangers looked like a different team in the second game against the Islanders and were able to fix most of the problems from the first game. They will look to build on the positives as they get ready to take on the New Jersey Devils on January 19th.

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