Rangers Recall: Peter Laviolette calls defensive issues ‘mental mistakes’

You could see it coming from a mile away. Too bad the New York Rangers players didn’t. In another game that was filled with more turnovers than your favorite bakery, the Blueshirts committed 13 and watched the Vancouver Canucks waltz to a 6-3 win on Monday night.

“There’s no excuse for that,” an upset Peter Laviolette stated. “We’re not going to win giving up 5 goals. Can’t win. Not on a regular basis. That has to get taken care of.”

After giving away the puck to a decent Montreal Canadiens team 17 times on Saturday, they managed to erase a 3-0 deficit, and pick up a point by losing 4-3 in the shootout. Alas, the Pacific Division leading Canucks are not the Habs, and they made the Rangers inept defense pay dearly.

Let’s recall what took place at the Garden yesterday.

Related: Kaapo Kakko getting close

Rangers Recall: Too many mental lapses

NHL: Vancouver Canucks at New York Rangers
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Sloppy hockey continues

It’s been a trend for weeks now, that began in early December, after a sloppy 6-5 win over the bottom-feeding San Jose Sharks. That was followed by their first set of back-to-back losses, and hopefully has culminated in another set of consecutive defeats last night. Since December 5th, the Rangers have gone 8-7-1, due in large part to poor puck management and defensive lapses.

“We made mental mistakes,” Laviolette explained. “Line change mistakes. Turnover mistakes. The mistakes that we made were really loud. It reminded me of the beginning of the year where we were making mistakes and they went in. It’s just too much for our goaltenders, and we’ve got to be better than that. We can’t afford those mistakes and expect to win a game.”

The Rangers were able to sneak a point out of Montreal, who rank 24th out of 32 teams in the NHL. However, against the high-flying Canucks, a team ranked 3rd overall, they were overwhelmed.

During the Blueshirts dominant run from late October to early December, they went 16-2-1, but everyone was focused on the team’s lack of 5-on-5 scoring. Well, I’m sure those who were looking for something to complain about back then, would love to return to those days.

“I would like to see more consistency with a game that leads us to success,” Laviolette concluded.

That game would be getting back to playing north-south structured hockey. It’s a game they better find before taking on the Blues, Thursday in St. Louis.

Brennan Othmann grounded

Highly touted prospect Brennan Othmann has played three games for the Rangers since being called up to replace an injured Tyler Pitlick.

After an impressive, but scoreless debut versus the Chicago Blackhawks, he’s essentially been grounded. His ice time is as follows:

  • 1/4 vs CHI – 12:26
  • 1/6 vs MTL – 7:16
  • 1/8 vs VAN – 7:33

In the last two games, Othmann has been a victim of circumstance, not anything to do with his play. The Rangers defensive miscues have essentially had them chasing their opponent, and cutting into the rookie’s minutes.

“There were guys I thought were really going, so I tried to double shift them,” Laviolette answered honestly. “He still got some shifts through the course of the game. It wasn’t anything he did, or anything I said to him.”

Of course, watching a skilled offensive player wallow on the fourth-line is already a tough pill to swallow. It’s obvious that once Kaapo Kakko is healthy to play, Othmann will be quickly returned to the Hartford Wolf Pack, where he will once again get top minutes.

Othmann, 21, has 6 shots on goal, 5 hits, and 1 block averaging just 9:05 minutes per game.

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