New York Rangers not good enough in playoff type game

NHL: Carolina Hurricanes at New York Rangers
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Captain Jacob Trouba may publicly be shrugging off the New York Rangers 3-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, but you could tell he understood his team wasn’t good enough.

On Tuesday night, the Blueshirts at various points held a 1-0, and 2-1 lead on the scoreboard. In reality, they were holding on for dear life. If not for Igor Shesterkin’s goaltending, the loss would’ve come much sooner before a three-goal third period barrage that everyone could see coming.

“We didn’t win enough battles to win the game,” Jacob Trouba said. “Igor kept us in as long as he could. Turn the page and move on to the next one.”

New York Rangers need to be better

new york rangers
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers may have been caught up in reading their own hype in the press recently. Let’s be fair, they had just blown out the Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators by a combined 13-0 score over the weekend.

Matter of fact, Penguins star Evgeni Malkin over inflated their tires by telling the NY Post, “They’re probably, like, best team in the league right now.”

Well, both the Penguins and Predators are out of playoff position and when the Rangers were tested by a legit Stanley Cup contender they faltered.

“We didn’t play near well enough to beat that team,” Gerard Gallant explained. “Honestly, the whole game I thought they outplayed us. They were a lot quicker than we were tonight for whatever reason. They managed the puck real well. But it all comes back to we didn’t skate enough, we didn’t move the puck enough, we didn’t play our game.”

New York will head to Carolina to complete the home-and-home series on Thursday with a chance at redemption.

If they intend on winning that game, they’ll have to stop forcing plays and take what the Hurricanes give which isn’t much.

Too many Rangers refused to play the simple style that is required to beat Carolina. It takes a full 60 minutes of hard hat type work to beat their five-man defensive units. The Canes just protect the middle of the ice and attack the man with the puck. It’s frustratingly boring but very effective.

On Tuesday night, they basically ate up the Rangers top-six forwards because they refused to dump-and-chase or work the puck below the goal line for offense.

New York’s power play was also 0-3 and looked abysmal for all six minutes they had on the ice. Aside from having a hard time entering the zone, when they did get a chance to set up it was quickly turned the other way.

Everyone knows the Rangers love to get the goalie moving with east-west passing but Carolina would not give them that. Instead, the Rangers would’ve been better served with setting up points shots for tips and rebounds, despite it going against their nature.

Ultimately, that’s what this is about.

Can the Rangers play that dirty low-scoring game for 60 minutes in the postseason when they become the norm and not the exception?

We’ll find out tomorrow.

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore