The Rangers are currently on a four-game losing streak that they hope to snap in the second game of their homestand against the Arizona Coyotes (7:00 P.M. ET, MSG).
The Blueshirts looked to snap the losing skid on Sunday afternoon but ultimately fell short 3-2 to the Vancouver Canucks. After falling behind 3-0 in the first period, the Rangers started to rise to the challenge starting late in the second period when Jesper Fast got them on the board. In the third period, the Rangers outplayed and outshot the Canucks 17-6.
“We should embrace what happened the last 25 minutes,” said head coach David Quinn. “But what we can’t do is run away and hide from what happened in the first 35, that’s for sure. I think it’s a balancing act of staring the whole game in the face and understanding why we were in the situation we were in after the first 35 minutes, and all of a sudden things started to change our way in the last 25.”
Artemi Panarin would make it a one-goal game with over 14 minutes to play, but ultimately the comeback wasn’t completed. Henrik Lundqvist made 40 saves in a losing effort.
“We’ve talked about this,” Lundqvist said. “We cannot win a game in the first, but we can definitely lose one, and that’s what happened today.”
Rangers players were proud of the way they played in the third period, but they know they need to play with more consistency in their game.
“We liked the way we played in the third period,” said Jacob Trouba. “We know we’re capable of playing that way. It’s finding the consistency of bringing that game every time.”
“Lesson learned: We can’t play for 30 minutes a game,” Fast said. “This league is so hard. You’ve got to play for 60 minutes. Simple as that.”
Tuesday night, the Coyotes enter Madison Square Garden on a three-game winning streak. Arizona has scored at least four goals in each game on this winning streak and will get the Rangers who currently have the 28th ranked defense (Goals Against Per Game). While the Coyotes acquired Phil Kessel in the offseason, Nick Schmaltz currently leads them in points with eight. 21-year-old Clayton Keller is just behind with six and Kessel and former Ranger Derek Stepan have four each.
Darcy Kuemper will start for the Coyotes and he has been in terrific form to start the season. Kuemper contains a goals against average of 1.62 and holds a .949 save percentage. The Blueshirts defense will likely have to step up and limit the Coyotes on offense because Arizona’s defense has been lights out this season. The Coyotes haven’t allowed more than two goals in regulation yet this season. To back up the Rangers defense will be Alexandar Georgiev who makes his third start of the season. Georgiev is 1-1 with a .928 save percentage.
Fast who had two points on Sunday will open on the top line with Panarin and Mika Zibanejad.
“This is a guy (Fast) that is a model teammate, he’s a guy you want to coach,” said Quinn. “Never takes a day off, physically and mentally. His teammates have an incredible amount of respect for him. He’s incredibly likeable. There’s not a lot not to like about this guy as a person and a player.”