Wednesday, February 6, 2013
By Katie Strang
Wanna take a guess at what the Rangers will be working on Wednesday at practice?
After being blanked on all five man-up opportunities in Tuesday's 3-1 loss to the Devils, the Rangers' woeful power-play now ranks DEAD LAST in the league. The special teams unit has been downright anemic, converting on only three of 35 opportunities through nine games this season.
Now, remember this was a trouble spot for the team last year as well and the Rangers still finished the regular season with 109 points -- the best record in the East -- and made a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals. But if the Blueshirts are going to live up to pre-season projections as one of the elite teams expected to challenge for the Stanley Cup, this ineptitude is not going to cut it.
Some other areas of note from Tuesday's game:
Coach John Tortorella called out some of his players as "scared and tentative." Of course, he did not name names but the ice time was pretty revelatory (Brian Boyle played only four shifts in the final frame). And as is his custom, Tortorella had no problem shaking things up and rewarding those players who deserved more ice time.
One of the bright spots of the game for the Rangers was the impressive play of 19-year-old J.T. Miller, who made his NHL debut after being recalled Monday. Miller was one of the team's most energetic forwards and earned some time along with veteran center Brad Richards and winger Chris Kreider.
Kreider also had a fine return to action, registering his first NHL point of the season with the team's lone goal in the third.
Considering the team's 4-5-0 record and the urgency to get things going, expect some line shuffling at practice Wednesday.