A four-game wild ride out of the West may not have ended the way Rangers had hoped, but the club have taken five points from a possible eight and should go home in a position to build on their recent play.
Going 2-1-1 suggests he certainly wasn’t perfect. The Rangers still endured the awful spell that kept the team from being satisfied with their 60-minute effort. Sometimes, with the help of goaltender Igor Shesterkin, the Rangers can come out unscathed – like they did in the second half against the Kraken on Thursday. Other times they have to work harder to make up for it, like the two goal holes they had to come out of after a flat opening frame on Tuesday against the Kings.
The blues need to eliminate – or at least limit – these unbalanced periods from their repertoire. He’ll count them out for too many games or he’ll run the team rough as they try to compensate.
Their troubles in finishing followed them from city to city. Many jobs have been hit. Many shots passed wide. A lot of recoil didn’t go in their favour. Hiding their frustrations over their bad luck worked better some nights than others, but when irritation did hit, that black rubber puck made it meaner.
The loss to the Ducks, who are in the basement of the entire NHL, cast a little shade on the positives the Rangers have to take from the trip. Anaheim had not won a single game in regulation until the Rangers came to town.
We had four or five empty grids [Ducks goalie John Gibson] “He kind of made a save,” said Mika Zibanejad, who scored a goal and three assists in the four games. “[Forty-three] shots. I don’t know, it’s frustrating. Yes, we’re not playing our best, but we’re creating enough chances, we’re doing enough, but the puck doesn’t want to go in. at least [Wednesday night]. Gibson comes up with some really big balls for them. He’s frustrated.”
The Rangers are starting to get five goals to five from their best six players, especially in a 5-3 win in Los Angeles on Tuesday. Hacked by Barclay Goudrow, Vincent Troshek, Capo Kaku, and Chris Kreider. This may not be enough, but it is a place to start.
There have been so many instances of their superstars being inches from the goal that, with some mental tenacity, the Rangers line of bulls should be a plus in any game now.
It was also encouraging to see some fighting in the Rangers. In two of the four games, they came back from behind to either win or force overtime. The second period of the game against the Kings, when the Rangers scored three straight goals to erase a two-goal deficit, is perhaps the contender for one of the best 20 minutes of the season.
Even more impressive was the way they kept their composure after Los Angeles equalized again just six minutes into the third, to which Kreider responded with two goals to secure victory.
“That’s how you build things,” captain Jacob Trueba said after the win over the Kings. “Fighting through adversity, fighting through being second, holding on to one goal lead going for third down the road in a pretty good build. Those are the things that build a team. I think we — I don’t want to say we stumbled a bit early but — We had some difficult breaks. I had a few games and we didn’t get the result we wanted. I think that really creeps into your head, but you have to build throughout the season.
“You build your game, you build confidence in the group and in the dressing room. You build that good feeling and fun. I think we hope we get into that because I think the players got frustrated at times with the way we played. I don’t think it’s a secret.
“The team has been frustrating at times as a group, and we keep fighting and playing. It was good to come off early and come back and win the game, and I feel good and we know we have that in this room.”