Quick Turns Back The Clock In 3-1 Rangers Defeat
The Rangers were in Los Angeles for a matchup with the Kings as they began the California portion of their four game road trip. Despite turning in a strong performance against the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday in Sin City, the Blueshirts were unable to capitalize on their opportunities as Jonathan Quick made 29 saves to snap the Kings’ six-game losing skid.
Artemiy Panarin – The lone Rangers tally came in the final minute of regulation with the Blueshirts on the man advantage. With Henrik Lundqvist on the bench, Kaapo Kakko rushed up the ice and fired a shot that was stopped by Quick. Chris Kreider got to the rebound and sent the puck to Panarin for an easy goal with 30 seconds remaining.
The goal was Panarin’s 15th of the season, as the Russian continues to produce. Panarin now has 37 points in 30 games this season, which is good for a 1.23 points-per-game. The goal may not have had an impact on the game’s end result, but Panarin is continuing to find ways to get on the scoresheet.
Kaapo Kakko – Kakko got an assist on Panarin’s goal, but that’s not why he’s being mentioned here. Kakko had eight shots on goal, missed the net twice, and passed up a handful of other shooting chances. As Joe Micheletti mentioned a few times on the broadcast, some of those passed up shooting chances are a result of inexperience. Kakko hasn’t scored a goal in about a month but it feels like once he gets one, the floodgates will open for the Finnish phenom.
Defensive “Structure” – The Rangers seemed to have a lot of issues with their defensive zone structure in this one. The Los Angeles defensemen had too much time in the offensive zone, and there were times where the Rangers had two or three players clustered together away from the puck while the Kings went to work. Whether it’s Lindy Ruff, David Oliver, or Greg Brown that is the one in charge of defensive zone positioning is irrelevant. The fact remains that this is one of the team’s biggest weaknesses. David Quinn mentioned before the game that the team is focused on making the playoffs, and if he’s serious about getting his team to the postseason, something has to change in their own end.
SHOOT! – The Rangers had 30 shots on net, missed the net 13 times and had eight attempts blocked. But the Rangers as a team, not just Kaapo Kakko, could’ve peppered Jonathan Quick with even more shots. For any Rangers fan that has watched this team over the last few years, you’ll know this isn’t something new. That being said, it doesn’t mean it’s acceptable. I have said here before, and just because it is beyond simplistic shouldn’t automatically discount it: ”you can’t score if you don’t shoot, and you can’t win if you don’t score.”
Henrik Lundqvist – It wasn’t a “bad” game for King Henrik, but Lundqvist will want the Tyler Toffoli goal back. Matt Roy’s shot from the half-wall was unable to be caught by Lundqvist, and the puck bounced off the glove, in the air behind Lundqvist, and was tapped into the net easily by the long time Kings forward. Lundqvist made 23 saves in this one, and had it not been for his counterpart 200 feet away, Lundqvist and the Rangers could’ve left Los Angeles with two points.
Next Game: The Rangers head to Northern California for a tilt with the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night. Puck drops at 1030!
LETS GO RANGERS!!