Rangers Roundup: Rusty offense, Kakko shooting, and more news
The Rangers dropped their one primer game versus the Islanders 2-1 last night. Good news is that the Hurricanes lost earlier in the day 3-2 to the Capitals. Both teams head into their qualifying matchup with an exhibition loss, but that really wasn’t the point of the exercise.
Rangers objective was to work on their timing
David Quinn did an excellent job of making sure his players got in plenty of touches. After the game, Chris Kreider did say the team was “pissed off” since no one likes losing to the Islanders. However, both he and Jacob Trouba noted that to a man this was about getting their timing for what’s to come on Saturday.
The Rangers PK was solid as was the overall defense. They gave up only 22 shots to a team who had 5 PP’s and a 2 man advantage. On offense, you could see that the Rangers twin engines were off. Mika Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin struggled to make plays as they were pressured all night. When they did have some open ice, they either missed the pass or shot wide. Once they get their timing back, New York will not have a scoring issue.
Kakko firing pucks is great to see
If there was one standout player for me last night, 19 year-old Kaapo Kakko was it. Although he didn’t score, he looked strong on the ice and played smart hockey. What was most noticeable was his willingness to shoot and not hang on to the puck in the offensive zone. He finished the night tied with Jesper Fast for the team lead with 4 shots.
His two biggest problems during the season were holding on to the puck too long and not shooting enough. In 66 games he only took 109 shots for a lowly 1.65 shots per game with a shooting percentage of 9.2%.
To compare and contrast, Pavel Buchnevich took 2.17 shots per game and scored 16 goals with a 10.8 S%. Kakko needs to shoot more and he did show a willingness to do so late in the season. In his last 8 games before the pause, he took at least 3 shots in 4 games and at least 2 shots in 5 of them. It looks like last night he is committed to continuing the trend.
More NY Rangers news
Larry Brooks discusses Jesper Fast contract issues
Newsday on Rangers goaltending last night
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