The New York Rangers started their climb back to being competitive with a decisive win over the inept Arizona Coyotes in which displayed what they are actually capable of.
A rather large sigh of relief was exhaled throughout the big apple after the New York Rangers finalized a comfortable 5-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes.
For if they had lost, it would have been rock bottom for real.
It has been a rocky start to the 2017-18 season to say the least. It seems like that in a snap of a finger, the Rangers have found themselves in a surprising 2-6-2 hole after the first 10 games of the season.
There have been obvious struggles in finding the back of the net and constant failures in capitalizing in prime scoring opportunities.
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Not to mention that Henrik Lundqvist hasn’t seemed to be getting much younger. You cannot blame him whatsoever, he is still giving the team a chance to win every night, but his supernatural ability to bail out the team’s mistakes for a win time and time again has taken some wear.
Despite the offseason retooling, which some might have even called upgrades, the Rangers confusingly just haven’t looked the same.
There are not many teams looking up at the Rangers in the NHL right now. Luckily, the Blueshirts caught a break in their schedule and drew one of them in the winless Coyotes.
The Coyotes were at an abysmal 0-8-1 record heading into the night while also missing their starting goaltender in former Ranger Antti Raanta.
Backup Louis Domingue has struggled recently, so the Rangers were in for a ripe opportunity against a young and inexperienced goaltender in 21-year-old Adin Hill.
Rangers Head Coach Alain Vingeault gave Lundqvist the night off and granted Ondrej Pavelec his second start of the season. Pavelec delivered just what the doctor ordered and stood tall against the 29 shots he faced only letting up two tough ones.
On paper, this game was a lot closer than it looked like, as the Rangers only outshot the Coyotes by one and were knocked around physically being out hit 28-9.
However, if you watched the contest, it looked as if the Rangers controlled the tempo of the contest as Hill was overwhelmed with an abundance of Ranger scoring opportunities.
The rookie goalie actually kept this game a lot closer than it should have been with some impressive saves as the Rangers besieged him several times.
The Rangers tossed the incompetent Adam Cracknell right back on waivers after four games of use, while promoting Boo Nieves to play on the fourth line.
Nieves made his second NHL appearance a special one, while recording three assists on the night and being named the first star of the game. I wrote about Nieves and the impact I thought he would have on the team back in August and I am excited to see what he can do from here.
His line had immediate chemistry between him, Pavel Buchnevich and Michael Grabner, who were responsible for four of the five tallies. There were creative passes being made and a few great scoring opportunities.
Another line that has proven to be the Rangers most reliable recently is the third line of Kevin Hayes, Jesper Fast and Jimmy Vesey. If they can build on this line chemistry groove they have going then some of the offensive troubles will wash away.
The play seemed to be more sharp than the games we have seen so far this season. However it is tough to gauge the Rangers’ performance considering their opponent.
Maybe we saw them start to gel, maybe it was just because it was the Coyotes. Either way this game was a needed confidence booster for the offense and can be piggy-backed off of against another struggling team in Montreal.
We will have to see if they can continue to gradually climb back into respectable standing while they still can early on in the season.