There’s no point in trying to turn the straw of Thursday’s 3-2 overtime loss to Dallas in gold, even though the Rangers came away with a point in their Garden opener.
The first half was either blech or blah, choose your modifier, with the Blueshirts tinkering with the four shots on goal. The first six-plus minutes of the second weren’t much better as Dallas took a 2-0 lead, and the game ended with a frightening decision by Artemi Panarin to haul the puck into traffic in the Dallas area before losing it and seeing Miro Heiskanen turn the blunder into the match winner at 1:38.
But between the bad and the ugly, there was a lot of good. Indeed, the Rangers played the game for most of the final 35 minutes of regulation, creating rolling thunder with a four-line spin with one unit after another putting the puck deep and constantly working under the hash marks. .
The record is 0-1-1, and a tough four-game trip with stops in Montreal, Toronto, Nashville and Ottawa beckons, but the Blueshirts have set a model for success in this one. Now they have to buckle up on the first fall of the puck rather than later.
“We had a discussion after the first period about how willpower comes before skill,” said Chris Kreider, whose forward deflection of the net from K’Andre Miller’s strike from above equaled the score at 2- 2 at 15:54 of a second after the wonderful Adam. Fox – Maestro for you and Elaine Benes – had entered the board at 8:43 a.m. “But we have to do it during the 60 [minutes] and not 40.
Barclay Goodrow treated himself to a night out, while head coach Gerard Gallant used the number 21 on each row at different points in the game. Indeed, just before Kreider’s goal, Gallant moved Goodrow to Alexis Lafrenière’s post on the left wing of the Kreider-Mika Zibanejad unit. Bingo.
“I like moving it around when things get stale for us,” Gallant said. “This [switch] was just to change the lines. When we’re not scoring you want to try and do different things.
“I like to leave my lines alone, but in situations like tonight, you try different things. In fact, it worked pretty well.
The charge of the second period – the Rangers beat Dallas 28-7 five-to-five and 37-12 overall – was actually sparked by a strong change in attacking zone by the third row made up of Goodrow, Filip Chytil and Julien. Gauthier, the winger entering the lineup in place of the sick (lower body) Sammy Blais. After that, the Blueshirts left for the races; uh, trenches.
And honestly, who knows what would have been the result if starting Dallas goaltender Braden Holtby hadn’t been forced out of the game due to dehydration at 9:56 of the third period? Because relief keeper Anton Khudobin has been outstanding, including lowering his right cushion in time to prevent Kreider from a redirect to the left doorstep from a soft ice feed from Panarin.
“We kept it simple, we brought the pucks to goal and we scored that goal on the deflection,” said Gallant, who had his fourth line with three minutes left in regulation. “You can’t get the pretty goals every night, but when you work hard like that and you get to the blue paint, you’re going to score goals.”
Fox established himself as a rare talent in his first two seasons, but he was something special to see in the second and third periods of this one, not just playing chess against opposition on the checkers. , but playing him like he’s the male version of Elizabeth Harmon.
“You need the whole team. Forwards have to work low and go up high and when it opens I see chances to make plays, ”said the number 23.“ When I see an opportunity I want to take it, but I don’t want to force it. anything and be the reason it’s going the other way.
Nils Lundkvist got his first game and after a handful of nervous changes – one leading to Dallas’ opening goal – the Swede hung on. Igor Shesterkin had a solid game, although he said he felt he should have been able to stop the winning goal.
These are the Rangers you should expect to see. It was the model. When Panarin is no longer called, when Zibanejad finds the back of the net, when the Blueshirts hit 60s, that’s when they might even win a game for Gallant.