You can’t complain about the effort.
The Rangers totally outplayed the Red Wings at Madison Square Garden last night. However the score at the end was still 2-1 in favor of Detroit.
“I liked our process tonight,” said coach Alain Vigneault. “I like the way we are playing. We are not giving up much to the opposition. We are definitely generating some great opportunities. Unfortunately, tonight we hit a hot goaltender [Jimmy Howard]. We had five or six breakaways that we were unable to finish. Give him credit, he played a real solid game.”
Hot goalies happen and Howard had 32 saves on the night, but we now have seen it in two of the four games with the other hot goalie situation happening last Saturday in St. Louis.
It’s a small sampling size, but you have to wonder if the Rangers know how to finish.
On paper the ingredients are there. They have the speed and they have the skill players, but at times they just can’t put the puck in the back on the net.
Early on Chris Kreider looks like he’s becoming the power forward he should have been two years ago, but Rick Nash has taken a step back.
In 2014-15, No. 61 looked like Alex Rodriguez circa 2011, but now he looks like the A-Rod of last season. He got his first goal on Monday against San Jose – as did most of the other team – but was sent away with all his other chances.
“Any time you are at home and you get an early goal, you definitely want to pour it on,” Nash said. “It makes it tough for a road team to come back from. I think it came down to special teams tonight. We need to do a better job on that.”
Again, it’s early in the season. It’s only four games old. This trend of outplaying opponents and coming up empty could just be an early blip, but it’s worth watching.
And the good news is the Rangers know that too.
“We’re getting those chances and those looks because of those strong plays,” said Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh. “After that goal we had some pushes for sure but we weren’t as sharp as we had been the first couple periods for whatever reason. We kind of got a little too pass heavy at times, probably could’ve put a few more pucks towards the net, and obviously on the power play you want to try and capitalize on some of those looks especially on the 5-on-3 there. We had some good movement and good shots but you want to make them count.”
Making it count is what the Rangers need to focus on. And that means they need to finish. They need to put the puck in the net. They look entertaining and could be an exciting team, but after four games, they are a .500 club.
They need to take advantage of the chances they are creating.