New York Ranger fans may be distressed by being winless in the first three games of the season, but the situation is really not as bad as it is being made out to be.
Although their home opener is not for another 10 days, I feel as though there is no reason they should not be back to a respectable record by then.
They are currently 0-1-2, but they did have two tough luck overtime/shootout losses to Los Angeles and Anaheim. King Henrik is certainly playing up to his usual expectations, with some very nice saves mixed in.
They did get outplayed by the Islanders on Saturday night, which John Tortorella admitted after the game. That is going to happen sometimes, and the Rangers did not bring their best 60 minutes against a young team that is playing very well right now.
Of course, they do need to cut down on penalties. Even though some of the calls on Saturday were questionable, they probably would have won one of the games that they have played if they were a touch more disciplined.
I am not concerned that the Rangers will not be where they need to be at the end of the season, and I think that this West Coast swing will allow them the chance to pick up some wins.
They play against the Canucks on Tuesday—a game which I personally think they will win. But, for those who think they the Canucks will prevail, consider that the next three games are against the Flames, Oilers and Jets (who are not in the Western Conference, but I am including them in this "Western" road trip).
None of those teams are playing well at all right now, and I predict Brad Richards knows just how to pick apart the sub-par defensive efforts which they will likely bring to the table against the Rangers.
They really should be able to win all three of those games, which would bring their record to 3-2-2. It will then create momentum for their home opener—an exciting matchup against the Leafs.
Coach John Tortorella clearly said that the time for making excuses about Europe is over, and insisted that it had nothing to do with Saturday's loss. He will be determined to right the ship, and he has plenty of talent to work with.
It is too soon to hit the panic button in New York, and the Rangers could probably make the playoffs just on the strength of their responsible two-way play and the goaltending of Henrik Lundqvist.
The challenge this year is placed on the shoulders of Brad Richards to generate enough offense to help bring them past the first round.
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