Luck just isn’t on the side of the Rangers these days. With Vinny Prospal possibly out the majority of the season after undergoing knee surgery on Monday, Chris Drury breaking his finger (the same one) twice, and Marian Gaborik suffering from a separated shoulder, the Rangers are going to have to depend on who is left on the team, rather than who’s not on the team.
“We can’t really focus on who is out,” Henrik Lundqvist said of the absence of the team’s star forwards. “We have to just to do it together. What is good about this team this year is that we have four lines going. I don’t think there is that much focus on the first line. We have four lines going that work really hard so that is a good thing.
“Obviously they are key players, but there is nothing we can do right now. We have to keep focus and get better.”
Coach John Tortorella has been mixing up the lines, like most coaches do. But one line that has proven to be a striking force has been the Sean Avery-Derek Stepan-Ruslan Fedotenko line (aka the FAD line). They did great things together, including scoring a few goals during the preseason. But as of late, the line has been split up. A reunion could be in order–if anything, just to see if they could generate more offense.
The Rangers are sitting at the bottom of the conference these days with only one win to their name and three points out of a possible eight. It’s quite a change from previous seasons when they dominated the top of their division and conference. These days, luck just isn’t on their side.
Colorado Avalanche 3, New York Rangers 1
In an intense, physical game on Monday, the young Rangers battled hard for the puck, but little things in the offensive zone like losing a stick and chasing after it on the ice, to not finishing checks or getting tangled up with the opposition, led to breakdowns in the Rangers play.
With Michal Rozsival in the penalty box for tripping, the Avalanche were able to tally their first power-play goal from Chris Stewart at 12:41 in the first period. Alexander Frolov answered at 18:09 for the Rangers with a goal to tie up the game.
But the real breakdown happened in the third when Del Zotto went to the penalty box for tripping, rewarding the Avalanche with their third man advantage of the night. It was all they needed to take the lead at 7:20 with another power-play goal from Stewart, followed by another goal from Daniel Winnik just twenty-six seconds later.
“They were good,” Lundqvist said of Colorado. “They moved the puck well. We came back after a tough start and really battled back. We had a good game going and then they scored two quick ones in the third. We have to keep working hard. That is our only option.
“A loss is a loss. It doesn’t matter how you lose, you are not getting the points. We are right there. That is what is frustrating. We have to stay positive knowing that we are close. With some luck we could have gotten a lot more points but that is not the case. We have to keep working hard.”
Rangers Suffering Power Play
A common theme heard up in the Blue Seats last night was “Shoot the Puck!” It’s heard even more loudly when the Rangers are on the power play. They had five chances against Colorado and failed to register a single goal in the ten-minute man advantage awarded to them.
Colorado, on the other hand, went two for three on the power play.
“Last game we had chances,” Michael Del Zotto said of the power play. “This game we had chances. We hit the post. I don’t know if it was Rozsival or Girardi, we had a couple other chances. We had chances. We just have to find a way to put it in the back of the net. With the way we’re working, you’d think we would get a bounce here or there, and it’s just unfortunate we didn’t get one tonight.”
“Just some bad luck I thought,” Erik Christensen said. “That first power play we had, we had it in their zone for at least three quarters of it. We had some chances. They are a fast team and put a lot of pressure on us. That is one of the most difficult things on a power play, is getting control. It is tough to gain entry on some of those.”
But it’s not just the power play that is suffering. The penalty kill was at its worst on Monday night. With Colorado scoring two goals in their three power-play advantages, it just shows that the main focus for the Rangers over these next few days will be on their special teams.
Stepan Creating Records
Stepan has been doing some magical things in his rookie season. In his first game, he scored not only his first career NHL goal, but he also tallied a hat trick in his NHL debut. With that, he established a new record for both the franchise, and the NHL.
- First Ranger in franchise history to record a hat trick in his NHL debut.
- Tied Rangers’ franchise record for most goals in an opening-night game. Ron Murphy tallied a hat trick in the 1955-56 season opener on October 7, 1955 at Chicago.
- Stepan is the 26th Ranger to record a hat trick in their rookie season.
- Last NHL player to record a hat trick in their NHL debut was Fabian Brunnstrom (Dallas Stars) on October 15, 2008 vs. Nashville.
- Stepan is the fourth player in NHL history to register a hat trick in their NHL debut.
The Rangers are on the road for their next two games. They travel to Toronto on 10/21 and then to Boston on 10/23 before they host the New Jersey Devils at home on 10/24.