In a crucial game for the New York Rangers to exhibit some signs of life, the team came up short yet again as the New Jersey Devils defeated the Rangers 3-2. This was the first game of a six game home-stand for the Rangers and they failed to put up a full 60-minute effort.
The Blueshirts showed a strong start outshooting the Devils 12-1 at one point in the first period, but Devils head coach John Hynes was able to make the adjustments to turn things around after a turbulent first period — something Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault has shown recurring struggles of failing to do.
Defensively, the group was solid and gave the Devils very little opportunity through the first twenty, but failed to capitalize on their own opportunities in the first. The Rangers powerplay was 4 for 9 through the first two games, but since that barrage the powerplay has cooled off substantially and again struggled tonight going 0/3.
Nash had four shots and continues to get high quality scoring chances, but is struggling to finish through these first six games. The veteran power forward finally broke through to set things in the Rangers’ favor 5:31 into the second period, but the Devils quickly kicked things into high gear after.
For a moment it seemed the Rangers had finally settled down and were set for a solid performance, but Adam Henrique ties it less than five minutes later and Miles Wood gave the Devils the lead that they would later protect to hold on for the win. The Rangers were on their heels for much of the second period being outshot 12-3 — a turn of tables from the first period.
Ondrej Pavelac made his regular season debut with the Rangers and stopped 16 of 19 shots but wasn’t able to take his play to the next level to steal the win.
Kevin Shattenkirk and Mika Zibanejad continue to be a bright spot as both skated well and added to the sporadic offensive pressure the Rangers applied. Shattenkirk was able to bring a bit of excitement in the final minute of the game as his wrister from the blue line brought the Rangers within one, but ultimately it’s just too difficult to ask a group to concentrate all their effort in the final minutes attempting a comeback.
Alain Vigneault will need to find a way to get the most out of his players and crack down on those that seem to be taking shifts off. Jimmy Vesey was singled out by the coach and saw very little ice time from the second period on as he logged just 8:30.
The Rangers have fallen to 1-5. This start is reminscent of the awful 2-5-1 start of the 2007 New York Rangers.
It’s clear the team needs a change in some facet, and it will be a major question whether Vigneault will be able to make the necessary changes to motivate his group to put together a full 60 minute effort.