The New York Rangers had their overall winning streak snapped at seven games, and an eight-game winning streak at home ended when they lost to the Colorado Avalanche, 7-3, last Wednesday. While the Blueshirts were victorious over the Chicago Blackhawks and the Buffalo Sabres, two teams the Rangers have been better than, the Rangers lost to the Avalanche and the Nashville Predators. The Avs and Predators are two teams that have been playing well, and both of them defeated the Blueshirts at Madison Square Garden. Here are some headlines from the previous week.
Trouba Contributing Goals and Maintaining Physicality
Jacob Trouba’s physical play has recently been on notice since the Rangers defenseman was involved in a bodycheck of Blackhawks player, Jujhar Khaira. The Blackhawks forward was taken off on a stretcher, sent to the hospital and has been released. The following night, the defenseman hit Nathan MacKinnon in the same way, leading with his shoulder. After both hits, Trouba stood his ground by getting into fights with Riley Stillman of the Blackhawks and Gabriel Landeskog, who were standing up for their respective teammates.
Trouba has a stat line of 3-3-6 through seven games during December. He has stepped up offensively, and it has been noticeable, as each of his goals this month has been the first for the Rangers during the games in which he has scored. His offense adds to his physical abilities as a player, as he leads all defensemen on the team with six goals, tied with Alexis Lafreniere and Kevin Rooney for third place on the team in goals.
Georgiev Continues to Keep the Rangers in Games
Alexandar Georgiev has done his part in keeping the Blueshirts within games since he has been the starting goaltender after Igor Shesterkin was injured during a game on Dec. 3 against the San Jose Sharks. The Rangers’ backup goaltender secured the shutout victory against the Sharks and has allowed two goals or less in four of his starts. He maintained the lead in a close game last Friday against the Buffalo Sabres aside from the goal the Sabres scored to tie the game late in regulation that the officials disallowed, which the NHL admitted a mistake to the following day.
Georgiev allowed only one goal to the Predators and kept the Blueshirts in the game. The Rangers were unable to put the puck past goaltender Juuse Saros as they lost 1-0. Shesterkin has joined the Rangers during the morning skate and has taken shots. Until he returns, Georgiev has shown he has worked through the inconsistent play that plagued him during October and November and that he is more than capable of keeping the Blueshirts in games.
Rangers Special Teams Have Been Consistent
The Rangers’ power play has been reliable this month, as the team scored at least one power-play goal in the first six games of December before the streak ended Sunday night in the shutout loss to the Predators. The Blueshirts are seventh in the league with a 24.1 power-play percentage (PP%) and have several good players on the man advantage. Chris Kreider is second in the NHL with 10 power-play goals.
Artemi Panarin and Adam Fox rank in the top ten among players in power-play points, with 13 and 12, respectively. Other key contributors on the man advantage are Kreider with 11 power-play points, Mika Zibanejad, who has nine power-play points, and Ryan Strome, who is fifth on the Blueshirts with six power-play points. The penalty kill (PK) has been a strength for the team as well. The Rangers are sixth in the league with an 83.8 penalty kill percentage (PK%).
The Rangers continue their stretch of games against teams from the Western Conference this week as they are looking to rebound from a shutout loss to the Predators. The Blueshirts have back-to-back road games tonight and tomorrow against the Avalanche and the Arizona Coyotes, respectively, before returning home to face-off against the Vegas Golden Knights on Friday. The Rangers are tied with the Carolina Hurricanes in the Metropolitan Division with 39 points for second place behind the Washington Capitals.