With just one win, things look dismal
Starting the 2017/18 season off with a home loss to the lowly Colorado Avalanche was not ideal for the Rangers. The Avalanche have a much more respectable record at 4-2, and that turns the heads of so-called “experts” in prognostication.
Once a team like the Rangers falter so quickly out of the gate, recovery is not an easy task. Along with the lowly Arizona Coyotes who only possess one point after five games, the Rangers have two points after six games.
The upcoming schedule for the Rangers doesn’t paint an easier road to recovery. They already lost the opening game to a six-game home stand and the prospects of turning things around look bleak at best.
They lost to the surging New Jersey Devils 3-2 on Saturday night and have to face the Stanley Cup-winning Pittsburgh Penguins (3-2-1) on Tuesday night. Other opponents on the current home stand include the New York Islanders (2-3-1), the Nashville Predators (2-2-1), the struggling San Jose Sharks (1-3), and the aforementioned Coyotes, holding up the bottom of the NHL standings with a 0-4-1 record.
Goaltending is a concern
Let’s state the obvious here. Henrik Lundqvist is a world class goalie. His age (35) may be catching up to him, and he doesn’t have that reliable backup he’s had for 11 of the past 12 seasons. No more Cam Talbot or Antti Raanta to fall back upon when Henrik needs a rest or is injured.
Instead, this season the Rangers have Ondrej Pavelec as Lundqvist’s backup and the results haven’t been pretty. Try an 0-2 record with an .860 save percentage, and 3.75 goals against average.
Not good enough to win in the competitive Eastern Conference.
So what’s the answer?
As of this writing, the New York Rangers are in last place in the Eastern Conference with just two points and a 1-5 record. Even the Buffalo Sabres have three points with a 1-4-1 record.
In a high profile market like New York, where losing isn’t tolerated well, this could mean that the head coach of the Rangers since 2013, Alain Vigneault could be looking for new employment soon if the team can’t turn things around.
There were some major changes made to the roster over the summer. The Rangers traded backup goalie Antti Raanta and center Derek Stepan for defenseman Anthony DeAngelo and the seventh overall selection in the Entry Draft last summer.
That seventh overall pick turned out to be center Lias Andersson who was returned to Sweden to develop further.
So far, DeAngelo isn’t tearing up the NHL with four games played, no points and a -3 +/- rating. He is a good young prospect, but right now, the Rangers need wins and they need them badly.
Sorry to report to Rangers’ fans, that the Penguins just scored again making it a 2-0 game in the first period of play.
It must be nerve-racking for Alain Vigneault knowing in a temperamental market like New York, he could be tossed aside like a used towel, but that’s life in the big city.
It’s still very early in the new 2017/18 season, so time can heal all wounds.
For the New York Rangers, time is all they have now.
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