The Rangers dropped their second straight game to the Flyers today during one of the premiere Hockey Day in America games. Ryan Callahan led the Rangers with four shots on goal in a game that would ultimately be decided by the clock yet again.
The Rangers entered the third period trailing 3-1 after being battered throughout the second period by a sharp Flyers offense. Looking to turn the game around the Rangers immediately went on the attack, keeping the puck in the offensive zone for a majority of the period and putting Flyers goalie Brian Boucher to the test. The team looked vibrant and alive as they put numerous shots on net, outshooting the Flyers 14 to 2 in the final stanza.
This adenline rush would ultimately be denied, however, as it was a classic case of too-little-too-late for the Rangers. This has been a problematic situation for the Rangers as of late, who have come into numerous third periods trailing by a goal or two. The young team has shown their determination and grit in these situations only to find themselves losing after dominating the entire third period.
For the Rangers to be successful at this stage in the season (and the playoffs for that matter) they really need to turn the juice on earlier in the game. Both Lundqvist and Biron have been remarkable in net for the Rangers but the offensive lines have not been producing during the first two periods of most games. This puts an incredible amount of pressure on the goalies and defense to keep the defecit low while the offensive lines try to find their footing, a situation that no team can benefit from.
As seen in recent games, the Blueshirts also need to work on clearing the zone and capturing rebounds after Lundqvist makes a save. Two of the three goals that beat The King in today’s game could have been avoided if the Boys in Blue descended upon the crease and the rebounds quicker, allowing Lundqvist to regain his position and avoid having to make difficult saves.
The Rangers could also learn a lesson from their defensive faults and transfer it to their offense. Today’s game saw a lot of Rangers taking shots that could cause rebounds and deflections, which is a definite improvement from past games. The Rangers have certainly noticed that these are the shots that are beating their goalies and are trying to replicate it for themselves, a strategy that could help them increase their goal count late in the season.
The team has the day off tomorrow, a day which they are likely going to use to prepare for their Tuesday night game against the Hurricanes, a critical game for both teams during this stage of the playoff race.