After losing to the Boson Bruins, the New York Rangers will not play another game until Thursday when they visit the Montreal Canadians. Even though we want to see the Rangers play as much as possible, this break could not have come at a better time for this team. They look exhausted, they have injured players and they do not look like a team heading for a deep playoff run.
The Islanders and Penguins are not far behind and if the Rangers want to hold on to that third spot in the division, they need to play better and this break gives them a chance to recover from their recent skid.
The Rangers have won only 2 of their last 8 games after going 7-0 in the previous 7. They have looked tired and sloppy and have not been putting in the effort they need to in order to win these crucial games heading down the stretch. They have been playing shot-handed for the past two weeks due to injuries and cap reasons.
They needed to play short in order to bring Patrick Kane to New York. Even though he is here, they are still shot because Ryan Lindgren and Tyler Motte are injured and K’Andre Miller served his three-game suspension. For Kane in particular, this break will allow him to get more adjusted to the team because he has not even gotten the chance to practice with them yet.
Kane was immediately put with Artemi Panarin and Vincent Trocheck and so far, it looks terrible. Panarin keeps trying to force passes to Kane and it is just not working. It is going to take some time for them to find that chemistry they had all those years ago. The power-play also looks discombobulated due to the addition of Kane.
Both he and Panarin want to pass and they now have Zibanejad(the best shooter) standing in the bumper where he is ineffective. The top unit had many chances these last two games and it has not worked. Hopefully, in practice, they can work on this and find out where the players best fit because they can not have Zibanejad in the bumper. Something needs to change and they need to work on this during practice if they want the best chance to win games going forward.
This break also allows the Rangers to rest up and get healthier. They have been playing with five defensemen and they all looked gassed. Now, with a few days off, they can rest up and hopefully, Ryan Lindgren is good enough to go. They will have Miller back so if Lindgren isn’t ready, they still have six guys who can play.
Motte also suffered an injury after taking a hit to the head so this allows him to get a break and hopefully, he can come back by the next game if he is ready or in the next few weeks. It was a very dangerous hit he took so let’s give him some time to heal up and not rush him back into the lineup.
The return of K’Andre Miller is going to be huge for the Rangers. He has been missed these last few games and he is going to be the freshest out one everyone since he has had this break of not playing. Getting him back allows them to play six defensemen again and he will help to solidly a defense that has not been good these past few weeks. Defense is needed to win these big games and it is almost certain that this will be a focus for the team during practice as they head into this break.
The Rangers went all-in this year and while it has not looked great so far, these players are just starting to get used to each other. Tarasenko has played well, but it took him a few weeks to get more comfortable. Having this break allows the players to get more familiar with each other and it helps them improve their game.
Kane needs time to settle in and the team needs time to adjust to him being here. The Ranger should be rested and fired up going into Montreal and they should be able to dominate and get a much-needed win as the standings are getting closer and closer.