Quick Hits- Rangers vs Senators 11/27
Here is my Quick Hits recap of the Rangers 2-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators
- Kevin Klein/Defensive Group – As someone who really likes Kevin Klein, this season has been testing my loyalties. But after this performance, my mind is made up; it may be time for the Rangers to explore other options with their defensive group. He has looked slow, out of sync, and to be brutally honest, like he has not played a whole lot of defense in the NHL. At this point, inserting Clendening into the lineup for Klein, even if it starts out for a short period of time, could work out in the long run for the Rangers. If Clendening plays well, then you don’t change anything; and if he doesn’t, then you know that you really need to start looking for a major upgrade. This team’s glaring weakness coming into the season was the guys on the blue line, but they’ve done a good enough job so far this season. Now that we are just passed the quarter mark, teams are going to be able to adjust to the Rangers style of play, and force the Rangers into mistakes, which will ultimately expose this reality. The goalies can only bail you out so much, before it becomes a real problem.
- Special Teams – While the Senators, and to their credit, did play a solid defensive game, the Rangers did have plenty of chances early on in the game. The Rangers had 4 power play opportunities in the game, and each one looked worse than the next. The power play was simply off in this game, and seemed to really be lacking that shoot first mentality, that has powered them to being the 10th best in the NHL. Maybe it is the lack of Mika Zibanejad on the wing, and his shot is certainly lacking, but it looks like the power play has regressed significantly in the last few weeks. And as for the penalty kill, the units went 1/2 and was unlucky when a Nick Holden clearing attempt hit the referee leading to the goal for Ottawa. Plays like that are flukes and don’t have me worried as much as the power play does.
- Alain Vigneault/Coaching – While the players are responsible for the pucks not going into the net, the coaches are ultimately responsible for the team’s performance. Here is where I take issue with AV. The Senators played the same defensive system the entire game, and it took until midway through the third for the Rangers to make the necessary adjustments. As a fan, that is something that has me upset. You are getting paid to make these decisions, allowing your team to be in the best possible position to win. Not making those adjustments is one reason why the Rangers looked so dead in this game. The players got discouraged when the system they played all season wasn’t working. Teams are starting to figure out how to slow down the Blueshirts, and the Rangers coaching staff will need to step up their own “game” as the season goes on. A lot of fans are calling for AV to be fired, and that’s just a little outrageous. This team has been one of the best in the league over the last few years, and are going through a rough patch in the season. The guys on the team respect him, and he has control of the locker room. Unless this team really starts going south, don’t expect anything to change.
Next Game: The Rangers will look to get back on the right track on Tuesday when they take on the Hurricanes at MSG. Puck drops at 7!
LETS GO RANGERS!