There were some questionable starts; some mind-boggling efforts; and practically no fore-check at times. But they survived one of the most difficult starts in their long history. In fact, in the seven games away from the World’s Most Famous Arena, they averaged over a point per game, taking in eight points total throughout the entire road trip. Eight points in seven games. Not too shabby if you ask me – especially considering the circumstances the Rangers faced. And they haven’t even played their best hockey yet.
The road trip has lasted so long, that there were times the fan base was ready to call the Rangers Stanley Cup contenders and times where they were ready to call them flops. There were even times when certain aspects of their game were so bad that the fan base demanded the return of Sean Avery. Can you imagine the craziness that went on that would prompt Rangers fans to actually want Sean Avery back on this team?
This seven-game road trip was almost like a mini-season to some. And seven games in, we’ve already lost some hair or have come to the brink of blowing out our vocal chords.
But when all was said and done, the Rangers escaped their death trip. And now, the much-anticipated home opener has arrived.
The Rangers have plenty to work on, though, and we can’t expect the fact that they’re home as a remedy for their problems.
The power play has been clicking, as they scored more goals in their last game than they did in the previous six. But they need to continue taking advantage of the man advantage. They’ve also been real solid on the penalty kill. But with that being said, they still need to work on staying out of the box, as that has been a huge problem for them in this young season.
Line combinations need to be established, and need to be established soon. The more juggling that goes on, the less time there is allocated to line meshing or chemistry creation.
John Tortorella is excited about this team. He’s excited about where they are headed and it’s only a matter of time before they really start clicking and finding their form.
The Rangers will be facing a Toronto Maple Leafs team who started the season strong and who maintain a 5-2-1 record. Their last game in Philadelphia was a bad game for them, so expect the Leafs to come out strong. The Rangers need to stay out of the box and watch out for the league’s leading scorer, Phil Kessel.
It’s really hard to see the Rangers struggling for the rest of the year as much as they did in the first seven games of this season. The biggest thing that needs to change this year is consistency. Let’s hope they break out of the inconsistent funk and let’s hope this long road trip wears off sooner rather than later. It starts against the Leafs.
And oh yeah, that Michael Sauer guy is back. Already a step in the right direction.
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