The New York Rangers’ loss to the Capitals on Wednesday night confirms that this team has plenty of work ahead of them, on the ice and behind the bench.
The New York Rangers began their 2021-2022 season with a 5-1 loss to the Washington Capitals. It is only one loss, game one of 82 on the schedule, but there were some familiarities to last season the club needs to get away from if they want to put together wins.
Georgiev Gets The Start
The lineup was questioned almost immediately when Alexandar Georgiev led the team onto the ice. Â Why was Igor Shesterkin sitting for the first game of the season? Did the back-to-back schedule of games having the team in Washington on Wednesday and then playing their home opener on Thursday play that big of a factor in this decision?
Gerard Gallant was asked about his decision in his post-game presser and really didn’t have a concrete answer as to why he went with Georgiev telling Vince Mercogliano,
“No, not really. Obviously, weâ€™ve got back-to-back games and I think Georgie played real well. I don’t think there’s any issue with the goals with Georgie.”
Georgiev made some good saves, but overalled seemed to struggle at times. Â The Rangers gave up two goals in 24 seconds in the second period giving the Capitals a 3-0 lead at the time. Â That third goal is one Georgiev would definitely want back. It once again showed that he needs to find a way to make the big save that can stop the opposition’s momentum.
Georgiev made 22 saves on 27 shots in the game taking the loss.
An opening night lineup that saw rookie Nils Lunkvist watching the game, and Jared Tinordi lacing up his skates for the game was a direct result of the club being concerned about the rough style of game that was anticipated to have. This team already had a hard-hitting Sammy Blais and Ryan Reaves penciled in to play, why sit Lundkvist then?
The bottom six of the team’s lineup had Filip Chytil centering Sammy Blais and Barclay Goodrow and Kevin Rooney in the middle of Ryan Reaves and Dryden Hunt.
Other than some big hits, neither line produced many scoring chances.
The Rangers scored just one goal, on the power play, by Chris Kreider in the third period. Â The special teams were a thorn in the team’s backside throughout the game.
The team took nine penalties allowing four power-play goals. With the man advantage, the Blueshirts managed just one goal in eight opportunities.
This is an area the club had relied on to improve in the offseason, but it is apparently more work is needed to be done.
A New Day
Tonight the Rangers will be back on the ice again, this time at Madison Square Garden. Their home opener welcomes the Dallas Stars and hopefully a better outcome than on Wednesday night.
Gallant has already announced the Igor Shesterkin will be in the net and one could assume that the head coach will insert Lundkvist and forward Julien Gauthier into the lineup in hopes of generating some more offense.
It may be early in the season but this team needs to find its identity early and get some good line chemistry with the tough schedule the team has ahead of them. The Blueshirts only have two home games, after tonight’s game, in the next 10 games.
This team needs to do everything it can not to fall into the quicksand and find ways to keep even with the rest of the league and division.