After a lengthy and brutal nine-game road trip, the New York Rangers finally came home to face the Montreal Canadiens. Coming off of a big come-from-behind win against the Detroit Red Wings last game, many thought that the Rangers finally got the spark they needed to start a winning streak.
Well, if you consider one game a streak, then you would be correct; otherwise, you were extremely disappointed yet again by this team.
Not only did the Rangers lose their home opener against the Canadiens, but they were actually shut out 2-0. Embarrassingly, this extends the Canadiens’ shutout streak against the Rangers to over three games now dating back to last season. I just do not get this team at all. How can they come off of an emotional road win against the Red Wings and then get shut out in their home opener? Do these players have any pride?
While the players do get a lot of the blame, you also have to put blame on GM Glen Sather, who has constructed one of the worst Rangers’ teams in recent memory, including his hiring of new head coach Alain Vigneault. This Rangers team, especially with no Rick Nash and Ryan Callahan, are a bunch of third- and fourth-line players who cannot put the puck in the net to save their lives.
A vast majority of the forwards on this Rangers team are defensive forwards that fit in with the conservative game plan of former head coach John Tortorella and not the offensive system Vigneault wants.
How Sather can think Vigneault was a good fit here without going out and getting offensive forwards is beyond me. It’s like assembling an AHL team and telling Scotty Bowman to come in and take them to the finals. Actually, some AHL teams are probably more competitive than the Rangers right now and a blind Bowman can out-coach Vigneault, so I take that back.
The good news is that the Rangers do get Carl Hagelin back against the New York Islanders, but unfortunately he struggles finishing off plays, which will just make him fit in with the rest of the current roster instead of stand out. The Rangers must get everyone back healthy and make some sort of big trade in order to shake things up and spark some urgency for this team to go out and save their 3-7 season.
Until that happens, you cannot expect the Rangers to do anything consistently on a game-to-game basis because they are just not good enough.