The Rangers, as you know, have had a dreadful time scoring goals — a total of five in five straight losses, three in the last four games, including shutouts by two opponents’ backup goalies.
So how do you get off a skid like that?
“Just stay with it,” Rangers coach Tom Renney said before tonight’s game. “Most teams that have difficulty scoring aren’t getting chances. And what we’ve got to do is provide ourselves opportunity by getting pucks to the net, getting that second and third chance, not just the one off. Pucks to the net, go hard to the net, look for rebounds, stay in the fight.
“They’re working at it. We’ve recovered from a tough game a couple of games ago and improved out play against New Jersey and we’re going to have to improve it a lot tonight to beat Washington.”
Speaking of the Capitals, there is a certain level of excitement in the building because of Alex Ovechkin, who has 37 goals already, which is six more than the top two Rangers scorers combined (or nine fewer than the Rangers’ top three).
“It goes to show you how important he is to our league,” Renney said. “He gets your attention, no question about that. But so too does our situation. We have to make sure that we really start to string periods of hockey together now that we’re actually winning periods, and ultimately games because of it.”
Renney was asked about his even-keeled personality and approach at a time like this.
“I’m intense when I need to be, but I can get pretty fired up,” he said. “I don’t think that should be underestimated. But I do believe that the right attitude and a sense of timing — and I think that’s a real important coaching trait, knowing when to do those types of things — and be yourself. That’s critical. I don’t think you can pretend to be anything other than what you are. It’s been good to me so far. I have a clear conscience, and that’s the main thing.”
Tonight’s probable lines:
Healthy scratch: Prucha.
Same six on defense, Lundqvist in goal, of course.
Enjoy the game. Talk to you during in the Comments, and afterward.