I am sure after such a long road trip the New York Rangers are happy to be home. I am also sure that they didn’t envision their first home game of the season going the way it did last night against the Montreal Canadiens. The Rangers were shutout for the third time this season losing the game 2-0.
The game itself was pretty evenly matched in the early going. Both teams had chances to score but never capitalized on them, mainly because of the outstanding goaltending from both Henrik Lundqvist of the Rangers and Peter Budaj of the Canadiens. This was Lundqvist first game back after missing two with an “undisclosed injury”. It wasn’t until late in the second period when the first goal of the game was scored. The Canadiens Tomas Plekanec snuck a backhand shot past Lundqvist for a power play goal. It was Plekanec’s sixth goal of the season.
“ Everybody was excited for this game, so I’m pretty sure everyone’s disappointed. We can’t allow ourselves to be frustrated. ” – Henrik Lundqvist
The Canadiens would add one more goal late in the third period to seal the deal and to ruin the Rangers homecoming.
One of the things that has been pretty consistent for the blue shirts this season is there inability to score. You can have the best goaltending in the world but it is all for naught if you don’t score any goals for yourself. The Rangers have scored the fewest goals in the league (15) which puts them last in the league in goals per game (1.50). Again, it is understood that injuries to key players certainly contributes to the problem but in order to right the ship the Rangers are going to have to learn how to create chances with the players they have and capitalize on special teams.
Young Players Making the Best of It
Although the stat sheet doesn’t really say much for the latest call-ups, players like J.T. Miller and Chris Kreider are making strides in their game and will have a lot of success in the league as long as they keep up their hard work. Kreider is averaging nearly 18 and half minutes a game since being called up from Hartford. Miller is slightly less but both players are making their presence felt on the ice. Teams will be getting a healthy dose of both of these guys in the games to come.
“ Especially because it was the home opener, guys were so excited and there was definitely energy in the room. The effort was there, same as in Detroit (last Saturday) if not more so. We didn’t get the result so it’s back to the drawing boards. ” – Chris Kreider
The other player that had made the most of his time on Broadway is goalie Cam Talbot. Talbot filled in for Lundqvist for two games during his injury. He was superb and seemed to always be in the right position. Talbot has a 1.94 goals against in his two starts and one victory over the Detroit Red Wings.
No Time For Rest
The Rangers have no time to dwell on the loss against the Canadiens, as they are in action tonight on Long Island. Newly acquired Thomas Vanek will make his Islander debut tonight and will be with new linemates Kyle Okposo and John Tavares.
The Rangers need to find a way to score. It has been overstated that they have the talent they just need to find a way to get the job done.
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John Is a contributor with The Hockey Writers covering the Buffalo Sabres. He is also a Senior Writer and Editor at MetsMerizedOnline.