If this were a glimpse of what the Rangers can and will be the rest of the way with Rick Nash in the lineup, then fret not over Tuesday night’s 2-1 defeat to the Bruins at the Garden, in which the home team outshot and out-attempted the defending Eastern Conference champs 44-22 and 85-53, respectively. But at the same time, there is reason enough to worry the club’s continued inability to finish chances will at some point undermine the effort. For while it is indisputably true Tuukka Rask stole this one for the B’s with a half-dozen memorable saves, including one on a Chris Kreider penalty shot and another on a Kreider breakaway, the fact is 13 different goaltenders have limited the Blueshirts to two goals or fewer. “It would be a lie if I said this wasn’t frustrating,” Ryan Callahan said after the Blueshirts’ third defeat in the last four games dropped the club to 10-11. “But with the chances we created, we just have to keep working at it the same way and the puck will start going in for us.” The first quarter of the season provides no comfort level in that regard, however, with the Blueshirts 27th overall in league offense at 2.04 goals per game. They have scored a sum of two goals in their past three games, both on the power play. They are 28th in the NHL with a five-on-five shooting percentage of 5.5 percent following Tuesday’s 0-for-37. Just imagine what it would look like if the club hadn’t hired an offense-minded coach in Alain Vigneault to replace the safety-first John Tortorella. Actually, until Tuesday, all you could do was imagine what the Rangers would be like with a full complement of players. Taylor Pyatt is still down with a concussion, but for the first time this season the Blueshirts had all of their offensive weapons in good health and in the lineup. Callahan missed the opener recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, played five games, and then was sidelined for the following seven matches with a broken thumb. Carl Hagelin spent the first 10 games on the long-term injury list rehabbing his surgically repaired shoulder. Chris Kreider began the season in Hartford. And Nash, of course, missed 17 games after sustaining a concussion on Brad Stuart’s shot to the head during the first period of Game 3 in San Jose. “It’s a good feeling to know we have our guys, but just being healthy doesn’t guarantee anything at all,” Richards said before the match. “You just have to look at Ottawa last season and how they actually played better when so many of their top guys were out to recognize that. “We certainly can’t make the mistake of thinking that Rick is going to change everything for us,” Richards said before the match. “We all know what kind of an impact he can have in a game and for our team, but hockey isn’t about one guy. It’s about having depth and being able to sustain an attack rolling lines.” Which is just what the Rangers did, attacking in waves, both moving the puck smartly out of their own end — too bad they handled the puck stupidly twice in the offensive zone with egregious turnovers preceding both Boston goals — and thus stretching the Bruins while also getting to the front and creating traffic in front of Rask during their considerable zone time. Of course, the problem is, it’s also about sprinkling in a goal here and there.
Rangers need to capitalize on scoring chances
New York Post | Nov 20