Senators Shut Out Rangers, Splitting Home-And-Home

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Following Monday night’s victory at MSG, the Rangers and Senators headed north of the border for a rematch. The Senators came out with a strong performance and had it not been for Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers could’ve been blown out by the Senators.

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MIA – Aside from Henrik Lundqvist, Lias Andersson and Steven Fogarty, the Rangers were a “no-show” in Ottawa. Too many times the Senators were able to gain the zone unchecked and/or get to the dangerous areas of the ice without any bit of pressure. Like I mentioned earlier, had Henrik not made some of those saves, this game could’ve gotten ugly for the Blueshirts.

As for the two young forwards, Andersson saw a significant bump in ice-time with both Zuccarello and Namestnikov not in the lineup. Andersson recorded three SOG, the most of any forward, made two hits and a takeaway in 16:09 of TOI. The young Swede showed a glimmer of his skillset that convinced the Rangers to select him seventh overall in the 2017 NHL Draft.

Fogarty didn’t play nearly as much as Andersson, but he did make his presence felt. Fogarty was unafraid to get pucks to the net as he recorded two shots. He also made sure to go to the dirty areas of the ice to try and find a loose puck. The 25-year-old played just shy of ten minutes in this one and was more noticeable to me than some of his veteran counterparts.

An interesting note in regards to this was that Kevin Shattenkirk did not see any ice time during the third period. When asked about it, Quinn said: “That’ll stay between Kevin and I.” Perhaps this is an indication that Shattenkirk will be watching Saturday night’s game from the press box.

Lack of Aggression – One thing I noticed as the game went along, and it was also pointed out by Steve Valiquette during the MSG broadcast, was the Rangers’ reluctance to drive hard to the net. And there were a handful of plays to illustrate this point. In the first period, Mika Zibanejad could’ve lowered his shoulder and continued hard toward the net. Instead, he tries to make a cross-ice one-handed pass from below the hash marks. The puck is turned over and the ensuing Ottawa rush sees Drake Batherson redirect a Matt Duchene pass into the back of the net.

We also saw it with Chris Kreider. The guy who is considered a power forward that has occasionally seen his fair share of crashes into the goaltender decided to do a button-hook while driving the net on his backhand. Kreider could’ve just as easily continued taking the puck hard toward Craig Anderson’s net and either shot the puck or at least draw a penalty on the Ottawa defenseman. Moments earlier, Jesper Fast made exactly the right play when he got the puck between the circles and went straight for the net. Fast’s shot was stopped but while going for the rebound he was pushed down to the ice and into Anderson. And while that alone would’ve given the Rangers a goal, replays showed that Fast had pushed out his gloves to propel the puck over the goal line which disallowed the tally.

Road Struggles – Following tonight’s loss, the Rangers are 3-7-2 on the road, and all three of those wins have come in the shootout. For whatever reason, David Quinn’s team has struggled mightily away from Madison Square Garden. The Rangers will have to figure this out sooner rather than later, otherwise, they could be in for a lot of unhappy visits around the NHL.

Next Game: The Rangers will look to bounce back on Saturday night at the Bell Centre when they face the Montreal Canadiens. Puck drops at 7!

LETS GO RANGERS!!