For the first time this season, the New York Rangers have been shut out. They fall 3-0 to the New York Islanders and they help their city rivals escape their three-game tailspin. On the first game of this three-game road trip, the Rangers looked gassed. Admittedly, it was the second half of a back-to-back, but they looked like the inferior team in this game and that is a concerning sign. Now, let it be known, game 8 of the regular season doesn’t mean anything.
In the battle of New York, the Rangers started off well. They looked good going into the first period but as the game progressed, it looked more and more apparent that the Rangers were playing in the second half of a back-to-back. With the Islanders scoring halfway through the second, there was kind of a spark in the offense, but not enough to make a difference during the game.
Julien Gauthier was recalled from the Hartford Wolfpack of the American Hockey League before this game and the Quebecois winger looked solid in his first Rangers appearance of the season. It’s a good enough performance to suggest that he will likely stay up with the big club for the next few games. Didn’t set the world on fire, but the fresh legs of an extra forward became abundantly clear.
New York falls to 3-3-2 and with the Rangers now winless in their last four, there are some concerning habits developing early in the year. There’s no reason to hit the panic button yet, but this is not a roster that is exactly filling the fans with optimism at this point. New York now sits level on points with the 2nd wild card having played two games, five places back. It means nothing yet, but that’s not an ideal situation.
New York will continue this road trip as they head out to Dallas to play the waiting Dallas Stars. With how the Rangers are currently going, that game could be big and there are far better places to have a big game than American Airlines Center in Dallas. The Rangers have put themselves in a position where a regulation loss to a good stars team will put them below NHL .500. It’s really difficult to be below NHL .500.