New York Rangers power play lets them down as scoring issues continue

new york rangers
Feb 27, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox (23) falls down in front of Vancouver Canucks center Tyler Motte (64) during the third period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers have certainly run into some pretty good goaltending coming out of the break.

Jeremy Swayman was stellar when they beat Boston in a shootout. Detroit’s Thomas Greiss was playing out of his mind in a shootout loss. That was followed up with a difficult time against Senators goalie Filip Gustavsson for a 2-1 victory. The Rangers caught a break scoring four against Ilya Samsonov as the Capitals were coming off a long layoff.

Then came a blanking by Pittsburgh and Tristan Jarry. With last night’s 5-2 loss to Thatcher Demko’s Canucks, New York has scored a wimpish 7 goals in 5 games when you exclude the 4 goal outburst against Washington. That’s resulted in a 2-2-1 record in those contests and 3-2-1 since the All-Star layoff that lasted two weeks.

New York Rangers need scoring

Thatcher Demko made 31 saves as the Vancouver Canucks raced out to a four-goal lead and recorded a 5-2 victory over the New York Rangers Sunday night in the opener of a four-game road trip.

To highlight the Rangers offensive struggles, Demko made eight saves on Chris Kreider, stopping New York’s leading scorer on a partial breakaway early in the first and then denying him on a wraparound attempt midway through the third.

New York Rangers
Feb 27, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers defenseman K’Andre Miller (79) tries to pass the puck as he falls down in front of Vancouver Canucks center Matthew Highmore (15) during the third period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

“At 5-on-5 we weren’t playing. We looked tired. We looked sluggish on the ice,” Gerard Gallant said. “We just weren’t playing our game like we did the last few games, but the power play was jumping. They had some good chances, and Demko made some keys saves at key times in the first.”

Alexis Lafrenière and Ryan Strome scored 4:10 apart in the third as the Rangers fell to 5-2-1 in their past eight games and 9-2-2 in their past 13 home games. While the record seems good, the lack of scoring is not.

“We got some great looks in the first, and to leave down two, it’s maybe a little discouraging, but it’s the National Hockey League, things can change quickly and you got to have a better response in that second period,” said Strome, who only has three points coming out of the break. “Obviously, when the pucks aren’t going in, it is a little bit frustrating, but I think the response has to be stay with it versus allowing two more the other way.”

Rangers need more offense, but from where?

Well at least the Rangers can rely on their power play. Oops, not last night.

Facing the worst PK team in the NHL, the Canucks stopped all three of the Rangers man-advantage chances. One goal on the power play probably would’ve changed the entire complexion of the game, but it was not meant to be.

The Rangers were also 0/2 against the Penguins, and 0/2 versus the Washington Capitals for a concerning 0-7 in the last three games. Not surprisingly they’re 1-2 in those games.

Gerard Gallant opted once again to healthy scratch offensively talented, albeit inconsistent, Filip Chytil in favor of Morgan Barron and Greg McKegg. With Kaapo Kakko still on IR for at least three weeks, the Rangers desperately need more offense.

“We played two really good games,” Gallant explained why he opted to scratch Chytil again. “The last two games the guys played really well and I don’t want to change the lineup. Even though we lost 1-0 they played really good.”

So will Chytil be back in the lineup on Wednesday when Pavel Buchnevich and the St. Louis Blues roll into town? That remains to be seen. Unless Chris Drury has a deal in the works that involveS the 22 year-old forward, my expectation is he will replace Barron.

Regardless, this is crunch time in the regular season. Teams are fighting for their playoff lives or jockeying for position. The Rangers need more scoring but from where? Maybe that’s one Drury needs to answer.

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–Field Level Media contributed to this report.