Rangers Recap: 3/30/17 – Close, but not Close Enough

Nash uses his power to create opportunities. (Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)

To be honest, going into this game I didn’t really expect much. The Metro is a strong division and the Rangers really haven’t been playing their best as of late. However, it ended up being a better game than I anticipated, after they finally got their game together in the third and started playing the way they can.

Inconsistent Game Play

The first period was a mix of both teams, a bit in the Pittsburgh end and a bit in the Rangers’. No goals were scored, but that doesn’t mean teams didn’t have opportunities. Hank was tested a lot, but Murray faced down his fair share of shots.

The goal scoring came in the second, with the Rangers falling 2-0 before Holden scored and made it 2-1. The Rangers were absolutely dominated, spending most of the time in their own defensive zone, which needs to stop.

The Blueshirts fell within two again in the third with a goal from Bryan Rust who was left all alone in the zone, right in front of Hank. Nash was able to score and bring it back within one and after pulling Hank with 90 seconds to go, Kreider buried a puck with just 11.6 seconds left on the clock.

Better Performance from Henrik 

While I can’t fully ignore the fact that Lundqvist has struggled more this season, he did look better tonight than the last two games where he’s been shaking off some rust. He looked a little sharper and despite the naysayers, I really do believe that he’ll be ready to go for playoffs.

He made some timely saves:

But this just brings us to the next point.

Defense Continues to be Dismal

The last few years the defense has been a source of constant complaint. Specific players aside, the defensive team as a whole really needs to tighten up the ship. Granted, they played tonight without McDonagh, which is good for him because he’s needed for the playoffs and to be in prime condition. While the source of his injury hasn’t been disclosed, it’s fair to say they’re either resting him or he’s resting his plums after taking a nasty hit from Thornton.

Holden nearly took out Lundqvist again, rushing back to provide coverage, which just resulted in a collision. Can we not injure him again, please? I know some people want Raanta as the starter in the playoffs, but I’d rather not have it happen. Thanks.

Tired of the Losses

Not only does this mark the third loss in a row, it marks the 8t

h home loss, which is a bit disconcerting for a team that’s known for being
strong at home, particularly in the playoffs. However, the golden ray of sunshine may just lie in the fact that they won’t have home ice advantage this season.