If the Rangers were going to score one goal in their season opener as they did in Thursday’s 4-1 defeat to the Coyotes it’s probably just as well for their mental condition that it came as it did on the power play.
“I thought we moved the puck well and created some good opportunities” said Marc Staal who got the power-play goal by roofing one from the left circle to beat Mike Smith. “I think we were a little more comfortable than we’d been last year.
“The work we put in on it during camp showed. We knew our roles.”
The puck movement was good in generating nine shots in four man-advantages but the Blueshirts were unable to consistently create traffic in front of Smith who faced just 24 shots overall.
Brad Richards looked relatively at ease at left wing on the line with Derek Stepan and Rick Nash. Richards involved and on top of the puck throughout had four shots while leading Ranger forwards with 19:35 of ice time.
“I felt OK there but it’s going to take more than one game” Richards said. “We made some plays but didn’t create enough zone time.
“With it being Step’s first game it was probably a little bit fast for him. But we’ve got a few days to practice before the next one [in Los Angeles on Monday] so that should help.”
The Rangers were 22-26 on faceoffs but lost a number of critical defensive zone draws on the penalty kill. Dominic Moore 5-7 at the dots overall was a culprit.