The New York Rangers sink deeper into the East Division cellar

New York Rangers, Mika Zibanejad
Feb 28, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (93) against the Philadelphia Flyers during the second period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers suffered their fourth straight loss by one goal in losing to the Buffalo Sabres by the score of 3-2. The Rangers are now 1-4-1, firmly in last place in the East Division.

The loss ruined a couple of milestones in the games, as K’Andre Miller scored his first NHL goal off a rocket of a slap shot with just seven seconds left in the first period. Miller continues to be one of the few bright spots for the Rangers, leading the Rangers in plus/minus rating thus far this season and he has been on the ice for eight of the team’s 11 even-strength goals.

On Miller’s goal, Colin Blackwell recorded his first assist as a Ranger, and he has tallied a point in each of his first two games with the Rangers. Blackwell has been on a bit of a roll, registering seven points (two goals, five assists) in his last eight NHL games.

Chris Kreider opened the scoring for the Rangers with a goal set up by a stellar pass from Pavel Buchnevich.

Despite this, the Rangers could not overcome some key mistakes and so other noticeable deficits in their game to pull out the victory.

Some of the more glaring stats from the loss was that the Rangers were 0/3 on the power play and they lost a whopping 69% of the faceoffs in this game.

Mika Zibanejad talked about this issue in his Zoom post-game conference. When asked the question, Zibanejad answered the question after a long pause by saying “I think its…….I don’t know to be honest with you.” Zibanejad did follow up by saying that “centermen’s have to do a better job of not losing it clean, as a whole unit we need to work together. All around we have to be better.”

In his post-game Zoom conference, head coach David Quinn talked about how the NHL face-off stats can be misleading but did say that “with that being said, we were abysmal on face-offs tonight. it was incredible how bad we were on draws. It was a huge issue tonight. We were at 30% and it fell like we were at 10%.

The turning point to the game seemed to come when the Sabres’ Tobias Rieder scored his second goal of the season at 6:03 of the second period. The goal came two seconds after the Sabres killed off a minor for too many men on the ice when Rieder received a pass from defenseman Matt Irwin as the Rangers defensemen were caught too deep in their own offensive end.

“Boy did our bench get demoralized'” Quinn said after the game. “I mean you could just feel it, there wasn’t any life to our bench. We better cure this in a hurry.”

“in a hurry” is exactly right as the two teams will meet again on Thursday night.