Soccoa: Break Can’t Com Soon Enough For The Rangers

Jingle bells, batman smells, the New York Rangers laid an egg, or two. That’s the kind of night it was at Madison Square Garden and for the second straight game for the Rangers. This time it was the Minnesota Wild, one of hockey’s hottest teams handed the Blueshirts a 7-4 loss.

For the second time in two games, the Rangers allowed seven goals. It certainly wasn’t pretty but you can bet the Rangers are thankful for the Holiday break. Teams are not allowed to do anything from tomorrow until December 26th. For the Rangers, it will be resting and resetting. There are no excuses and it’s a long season but the boys in blue have played a lot of hockey over the last three weeks.

The first three minutes of the game the team looked good. Looked like the two days off did them some good. Once the Wild tied the game on a goal that Henrik Lundqvist probably wanted to give back it all went down hill for the Rangers. The King did not look like his stellar self in the net tonight and was lifted after allowing four goals on 13 shots.

The Rangers looked flat, they looked defeated. At one point in the second period we saw defensemen falling all over the place. If there was a game or in the Rangers case, two games you want to wipe from your memory it was the two consecutive.

The Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault wasn’t too pleased with the team’s back to back game efforts. “[It was] certainly not the way we wanted to go out into Christmas break. There is no excuse for tonight. At the end the day we had one line, Step’s [Derek Stepan’s] line, bringing out their A-game. The rest just weren’t good enough, from goaltender on out. When you play against a team that has won nine games in a row, you have to bring your best and we just had one line going tonight.”

If there was indeed one sign of hope it was the line of Derek Stepan, Mats Zuccarello and Chris Kreider. They were the only line that produced any sort of momentum at various moments in the game. For Kreider, he picked up two goals in the game giving him eleven on the season.

What once was a Rangers team that was nearly at the top in a lot of statistical categories, they have seemed to slip a bit over the last two games. Fourteen goals in the last two games is something we wouldn’t have expected to see considered over the last two weeks both Lundqvist and Antti Raanta were named NHL stars of the week in respective weeks.

When asked about the bunches of goals given up over the last two games, Vigneault went on to say, “This happened the last two games. This has not been a regular occurrence. I don’t intend to make it one. As much as it might have looked like there was a pass on the prior game, there is definitely not a pass on this one here. We need quite a few players to pick up their level. This is a challenging league and to win you better play well and tonight we didn’t have enough guys playing well.”

This certainly wasn’t the way the Rangers wanted to go into the break. Their captain Ryan McDonagh can only sum it up as disappointing. “It’s disappointing” the captain went on to say. “We have an opportunity to kind of recover there and reenergize. But we still find ourselves not playing well with the puck and probably even wore without the puck as far as our coverage, staying in our structure, playing close to our check, and not giving them too much time and space.”

As for the King, whose demise came within the opening minute of period two admitted not making a few saves is what turned the game around, “It was just a couple plays that happened where they just cashed in and it happened really quickly. Hockey is like that. Sometimes you don’t know what to expect from each period, you just go out there and try to prepare and play your game, try to make a difference. But I was not able to make those saves in the second to keep it a tie game.”

So, we head into the holiday break as we step away and spend time with our families. We reset and regroup and pick things up on Tuesday right back at the Garden as the Ottawa Senators will come in for a visit.

On behalf of myself and the NY Sports Day crew I wish you a very happy and healthy holiday season. Continued thanks for reading our amazing work from amazing people.

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