So the Rangers’ road trip through the Northwest Pacific and western Canada ran out in the end, ending in a 6-0 loss in the final game in Calgary on Saturday night, which came after disappointing overtime losses in Edmonton and Vancouver that included broken leads in both game.
In the big picture, Blueshirts ended up with a respectable 1-1-2 on the trip, earning four out of eight possible points. And their 6-3-3 record on the young season is not bad either. It’s good enough to have them in second place in the Metropolitan Division so far.
But the way the trip ended in travel raises a question: Were their barrels in the last three games just running out of gas at the end of their second long road trip of the season? Or did it have more to do with the fact that the last two opponents on the tour, Edmonton and Calgary, are top teams that the Rangers may not be ready to stick with?
The trip opened with a 3-1 victory in Seattle against the extension Kraken, a victory in which the Rangers were played out and managed to steal the victory just because goalkeeper Igor Shesterkin was spectacular. In the second game, against Vancouver, the Rangers took a 2-0 lead into the third period before former Ranger JT Miller scored in the third and in overtime to lead the struggling Canucks to a 3-2 victory.
Then things really went off the cliff this weekend in Alberta. Against 8-1 Edmonton, the Rangers led 4-1 in the second period before the Oilers’ powerplay scored a few goals, and Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl took over, leading Edmonton to a 6-5 victory in the OT. Against Calgary, three third-period goals by the 7-1-3 brought the Flames Rangers out of their misery.
“That game was ours to take,” Rangers striker Barclay Goodrow said of the loss to the Oilers. “We let a lead slip through our hands. I think it’s up to us. Not to take anything from them, but I think that fight was in our hands.”
“We’ve talked about it,” striker Chris Kreider said after Saturday’s game. “We have not beaten anyone – we have not beaten Edmontons and Calgary in the world yet. We gave ourselves a chance the other night against Edmonton [but we] got away from our game. I do not know if we got bored doing the simple things. ”
There is no time for Rangers to lick their wounds after the trip. They’re just back in action Monday night in Madison Square Garden against the top team in the league, 10-0-1 Florida Panthers, who even after losing coach Joel Quenneville as part of the fallout from the Kyle Beach-Chicago sexual assault scandal / coverup, keep scrolling.
“We need to get better in a hurry,” Kreider said. “We have to work on our process. It doesn’t matter what the score is in the game, we have to play the same way. We have to trust each other and trust the system. And we can not get around that, regardless of the situation and the context. Over 82 [games]”You have to lean on your system, lean on each other and keep doing the little things over and over again.”
There may be an additional problem to solve. Third-line center Filip Chytil, who had a goal and an assist on Friday in Edmonton, left Saturday’s game after a shift after a collision with teammate Sammy Blais. After the match, coach Gerard Gallant did not have an update on Chytil’s condition.