Rangers Cooking, Pack Looking to Rebound

The first two weeks of the season, the Wolf Pack were finding a way to win nearly every game, and the parent New York Rangers were struggling mightily, especially at keeping the puck out their own net.

Now, a couple of weeks later, the situations have been almost entirely reversed.

With their 4-3 home win over the Florida Panthers Sunday night, the Rangers have triumphed in a season-high three straight games, and have won six of their last seven after a 3-7-0 start.  The Wolf Pack, by contrast, have now lost a season-high three straight in regulation, are 0-3-0-1 in their last four and 2-5-0-1 in eight games since coming out of the gate 5-0-0-1.

Perhaps even of greater concern is fact that, while every loss before this past weekend had been in a close game that could have gone either way, the two games against Providence this weekend were largely one-sided against the Wolf Pack.Action Shot for Blog - 11-12-13

Granted, the Pack did maintain some of their comeback personality in Friday’s 8-5 loss.  They were down 6-2 a little over halfway through the second period and could have easily packed it in then, but fought all the way back to 6-5 by the 1:14 mark of the third.  There was very little pushback, though, in Sunday’s game, which was a dreary 6-0 defeat, at least in terms of offense.  The Wolf Pack had plenty of battle in the physical department, right down to goaltender Scott Stajcer taking on his Providence counterpart, Malcolm Subban, in an exchange of punches in the third period, but the Hartford scoring chances were few and far between.

What’s gone wrong, you ask?  Well, from what I see and hear, it seems as though when those tenuous, one-goal tightrope-walks that had all been going the Wolf Pack’s way started to  go the other direction, the team as a whole lost a measure of confidence, and as individuals, started to try to do too much to get things turned back around.

Captain Aaron Johnson told me today, “It’s a lot of little things, where we’re just not making that confident play that we were making at the beginning of the season.  The work ethic has to go up, mentally we have to be better, and we’ll get out of this little funk.

“I think it’s more just getting back to our system and playing the way we did at the start of the season.  It’s not big things, it’s little things that are ending up in the back of our net.  In these situations, you just go back to the basics, work even harder, and eventually that tide will turn.”

The 14 goals that the Pack gave up in the two losses to Providence ballooned the team goals-against average to 3.64, better only among AHL teams than the 3.67 mark shared by Rochester and Bridgeport, and obviously that number has to come down if the Wolf Pack is to be a consistent contender.

That was exactly the problem the parent club was facing earlier in the season, but with all-world goaltender Henrik Lundqvist having seemingly found his groove, the Rangers have surrendered more than two goals in a game only once in their last ten games, and that was in their win over Florida Sunday.  Sparkplug forwards Carl Hagelin and Ryan Callahan, who missed the start of the season due to injuries, have been tremendous when they’ve been in the lineup, and in addition to the sharp games that Cam Talbot has given them to spell Lundqvist, the Blueshirts have gotten excellent mileage out of Chris Kreider since his return from the Wolf Pack to the NHL.

Not only has Kreider chipped in seven points in the last seven games, with two goals and five assists, he has also used his solid, 6-3, 226-pound frame to make a considerable impact in the physical department.  Larry Brooks of the New York Post made that the crux of an interesting column that is well worth a read.

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2 Responses to “Rangers Cooking, Pack Looking to Rebound”

  1. chris Says:

    luckaly its still relitivly early for hte pack this season and they have 62 games left. they are not out of this thing yet. but gota get back 2 their winning ways and quickly

  2. chris Says:

    got a big win last night but we gota keep it going. need to make it 2 w’s in a row. we moved up to 8th but its not like their is a lot of seperation point wise.

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