With the Blueshirts currently on a three-game losing skid, the Rangers will take on the Ottawa Senators in the first half of a home-and-home (7:00 P.M. ET, MSGSN).

RangersNHL RankingsSenators
17thNHL Standing Rank28th

Rangers Struggles/Mini Rant

The Rangers have not been what fans had hoped or thought they would be just 23 games into the season. And now in back-to-back games, the Rangers have blown multi-goal leads. New York was up 3-0 in the third period against Edmonton before allowing four straight goals and were defeated in regulation. The Rangers found themselves up 2-0 just minutes into the game against the Devils but that lead didn’t even make it out of the first period. The Blueshirts would lose the game and they allowed four straight goals against the Devils too.

At some point, the Blueshirts have to stop the bleeding. You can’t allow four straight goals in a game and expect to win at any point. The superstars and leaders need to step up and make sure when they are going through tough in game moments that everyone knows what is being asked of them and to get back to what their game is. The same has to go for the coaching staff who have to figure this funk out sooner or later. Was anyone else surprised that head coach Gerard Gallant didn’t call a timeout after Edmonton tied the game?

The Rangers’ new captain Jacob Trouba needs to take on a more leadership role on the ice. His level of play has dipped but even more so than that – he hasn’t shown the ability to lead on the ice. After Edmonton took the lead with a couple minutes left in the game, Oilers’ forward Leon Draisaitl skated by Trouba and knocked his stick out of his hands as Draisaitl was heading to the bench. Trouba didn’t say or do anything. Part of it is he doesn’t want to take a penalty, but you also can’t let them bully you.

Rangers vs Senators

The good news for the Rangers is they have a golden opportunity to get back on track the remainder of the week. They take on the 29th ranked Senators twice in a home-and-home and then the 31st ranked Chicago Blackhawks on home ice. You have to think the Blueshirts are looking for at least four points but more realistically they would like five or six. Artemi Panarin scored his first goal in a month against the Devils. The Blueshirts will be hoping this can spark their superstar winger as they need more goals and points from the Russian.

               Gallant has opted to mix the lines as the Blueshirts continue to search for depth scoring and a lineup that “works”. Expect Vitaly Kravtsov to be back in the lineup on the third line with Alexis Lafreniere and Vincent Trocheck. This will be the first time this trio will be on a line together. For Kravtsov, he has been a scratch for the past eight games including some of which being a healthy scratch.

               “Just show us your skill,” said Gallant on his message to Kravtsov. “Show us your talent. Show us your work ethic.”

               It also appears that the second and third defensive pairings will get a shakeup in defensive pairing. Youngster Braden Schneider will pair with K’Andre Miller whereas Trouba will pair with Zac Jones.

               “If we decide to do that, it’d be because we want more depth on all pairs…,” said Gallant. “We like the way Foxy and Lindy are playing, but if we decide to do that, we might bring a little bit more experience to the other two pairs.”

               Ottawa was a popular team to breakout this year and be a potential playoff team. However, Ottawa has been everything but that despite drastically improving their team from the start of last season. Key Acquisitions include Alex DeBrincat and Claude Giroux. Both forwards are hovering just under a point-per-game pace. Leading the Senators in points is Brady Tkachuk with 25 points in 21 games. In addition, Tkachuk leads the Senators with nine goals.

               The Senators made a trade in the offseason to address their goaltending by acquiring former Rangers netminder Cam Talbot. Talbot had become disgruntled in Minnesota with the signing of Marc-Andre Fleury and he requested a trade which was ultimately granted. Talbot has just 3-5-0 record, despite having a .919 save percentage. Talbot is expected to get the start against his former team.

What the Rangers Need

The Blueshirts desperately need a game where they are in control from start to finish. They need a game where they win by a score of 5-1 or something similar. They need to score a few goals while playing a complete sixty minutes and not allowing a lot of scoring chances. This would be a confidence booster for everyone in all areas of the game. They have a chance of playing a game like that with a favorable upcoming schedule.

Projected Lineup










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