Rangers fall 6-5 in OT to Edmonton, face Calgary tonight
The Rangers blew leads of 4-1 in the second as well as 4-2 and 5-4 in the third to fall 6-5 in overtime. Friday was the second straight contest that a two-goal lead went by the wayside, but the Blueshirts did earn a point. Connor McDavid likely had the goal of the year, though the defense was suboptimal to see the least on the tally. The Rangers take on Calgary tonight to end the road trip.
A few thoughts with the Flames game in a few hours:
1) McDavid's goal - first and foremost, a brilliant goal, but the D was horrific. There is an adage in basketball of your reach, I teach, meaning if you reach for a steal and miss, I will blow by you. That's what it looked like. All four Rangers - Trouba, Nemeth, Rooney and Hunt - basically didn't skate or move their feet but reached with their sticks, giving McDavid additional time and space.
In addition, the whole team, while it was a long shift, lost focus when McDavid went back to the blue line. Add in the lack of a true system and hopefully a major learning moment never to let down your guard. All that said, that play is evident why McDavid is the most skilled player in the league.
2) Alexandar Georgiev - brutal. At least two of the goals should have been stopped. Shoot high, get a rebound and score. Both should have been stopped. I have said, ride Igor Shesterkin but figured he would sit one game. We see what happened last night. Georgiev has to be better, and if he isn't, then maybe Keith Kinkaid gets a shot at being the backup with Georgiev in the press box, given the cap room the team has.
3) Offense - hard to find much fault, save for maybe a few things. Mika Zibanejad had a pair of goals, including a snipe. Chris Kreider had one coming down the off-wing. Filip Chytil may have had his best game of the season.
But...find me the sustained zone time, the cycling with puck and possession? Quick strike goals, which are great, but need to also wear down the other team. What's the system? If this was David Quinn, most of the fan base would be up in arms. I get it's still early, but not loving what I see. I hope that this does turn around and we see more of a sustained attack and that this is just due to the team adapting to what Gallant wants.
4) Kappo Kakko and Alexis Lafreniere - the glimmer twins. Kakko has shown little so far on the second line, but if comparing the two, I have seen more from him than Laf. With that said, I'm unsure if he belongs on the second line, and as crazy as it might be, move him up and Barclay Goodrow down as I think Goodrow is a better fit on the second line.
Laf skated just over nine minutes last night. How does that help his development? I understand you earn your ice time, but the fourth line is a waste. If doing that, just sit him.
5) Trouba and K'Andre Miller - yucch. This pairing has struggled all season, yet, Gallant runs the duo out there repeatedly. Of the two, Trouba has been vastly better than Miller, but that isn't saying much. Why Gallant keeps throwing Trouba out there in overtime when he lacks the footspeed is beyond me. Plus, the pairing needs to be separated as I have been saying for weeks.
Miller, as Oldschool6 wrote, may be the 2021 version of Brady Skjei, though that is likely a bit harsh. Bench him for a game or two. Let him watch from the press box. If need be - and this is radical - send him down to the AHL for a few weeks and call up Zac Jones or Braden Schneider. Right now, Miller isn't cutting it and that duo is hurting the team. The good news yesterday was that Nils Lundkvist had a very solid contest.
All the above said, the team is still 6-2-3. Much may be thanks to Igor, but better 6-2-3 than 2-6-3, irrespective of system and process. Hopefully, we see continued growth and better overall play up and down the lineup.
Update: Ryan Reaves activated off iR and in lineup tonight. Greg McKegg sent down to minors. Part 2 - No Nils tonight, Tinordi in, Laf on third line