The New York Rangers narrowly beat the Carolina Hurricanes by a score of 2–1 on Thursday night. This victory has extended the Blueshirts’ win streak to six straight and improved their record to an incredible 8-2-0 to start the season.
This matchup was not pretty whatsoever. The Rangers started hot with an early goal, but then things seemed to crumble rather quickly. As Peter Laviolette prepares for the team’s next matchup, there will be plenty for him to take away from this messy win over the Hurricanes.
Fox and Chytil need to return as soon as possible
Last night’s victory saw two key Rangers players exit the game due to injuries. Both Adam Fox and Filip Chytil headed to the locker room to be evaluated, and neither returned to the game at any point. Fox was labeled with a lower-body injury, and Chytil suffered an upper-body injury.
As of now, the Rangers have yet to announce any updates on when either player will return to the team. The Blueshirts recently announced that they have called forward Jonny Brodzinski up from the AHL, a sign that Chytil may be out for an extended period. There has yet to be a defensive call-up, which is a good sign for Fox’s hopefully speedy return.
The Rangers are traveling today as they prep for tomorrow night’s matchup in Minnesota, so hopefully Fox will be able to make the trip.
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Officiating was a major problem in last night’s matchup
There have been many games in NHL history where the officiating was questionable, but last night’s performance from the referees should be looked at by the league. A few missed calls are understandable, but the amount of no-calls against Carolina was absolutely absurd.
There was no call on the Fox injury, a missed high stick (with blood drawn) on Vincent Trocheck, and a few more on other players such as Alexis Lafreniere, Barclay Goodrow, and more. It was an uphill battle for the Rangers to play through such poor officiating, but the Blueshirts still miraculously managed to get the job done.
All the Rangers can do is hope that the NHL takes a look at these plays and hope that officiating will be better in the future.
Laviolette’s defense-first system is bringing down the Rangers’ 5v5 offense
Head coach Peter Laviolette has successfully installed a defensive-minded system that prioritizes keeping the puck out of the Rangers’ net rather than putting it in the opposing team’s. This has led to a significant decrease in even-strength goals for the Blueshirts, a problem that had already been existing in recent years.
But with the Rangers’ special teams performing as well as they are, there isn’t too much to complain about at the moment. The powerplay cashed in on a Kreider goal last night, giving the Rangers the early lead. Will Cuylle potted the Rangers’ only even-strength goal last night which served as the game-winner.
As long as the Rangers continue to score on the power play, there is no immediate problem with their 5v5 scoring. But if the special teams ever starts to regress, Laviolette will need to make quick adjustments to his style of coaching to bolster those even-strength goals.