The New York Rangers‘ six-game win streak unfortunately came to an end last night against the Minnesota Wild. The Rangers were the clear favorites to win the game as their roster was much more skilled, but the Blueshirts still managed to walk away with an overtime loss.
A major factor leading up to this loss was the removal of Adam Fox and Filip Chytil from the lineup. Injuries had kept the two stars off the ice, and their presence was severely missed against Minnesota. Despite three goals early on in the first, the Blueshirts had much trouble scoring after that, and the defense appeared to be in shambles.
The defense looked lost without Adam Fox on the ice
Fox is well known as the best defender on the Rangers. The one-time Norris Trophy winner has been the backbone of the Blueshirts’ defensive corps for practically his entire career, and he was dearly missed last night against Minnesota.
The Rangers had a decent first period as they entered the second period up by three goals, but that quickly fell apart. The Wild obliterated the Blueshirts’ defense throughout the second period, as the Blueshirts allowed back-to-back goals just one minute apart. The Rangers were outshot in every single frame, and they were lucky to leave Minnesota with a point.
It’s unlikely that Fox could have single-handedly saved the Rangers had he played last night, but there would have been a major difference. He’s not only a leader, but both an offensive and defensive threat on both ends. The Rangers’ defense clearly struggled without him.
Chytil’s absence caused a major change in the Rangers’ lines
As the second-line center, Chytil’s injury caused head coach Peter Laviolette to make major changes to the line combinations that had remained mostly intact throughout the season so far. Vincent Trocheck had to move up to the top six, Jonny Brodzinski was called up from Hartford, and Tyler Pitlick returned from the lineup.
While Fox’s injury put the Rangers down mainly skill-wise, Chytil’s caused a massive chain of events that altered the team’s chemistry. The lines that had been successful throughout this win streak were torn apart, and the Blueshirts were not prepared to handle the Wild.
It’s essential that Chytil returns as quickly as possible so the chemistry that had once thrived can be reformed again. The Rangers are continuing the season without two of their top players, and opposing teams will continue to expose these holes in the lineup game after game.