The kids may be fine, but the Rangers need their veterans to win.
Coming into a game in which their young core defeated the Penguins by leading the team to at least one point, the Rangers finally saw some life from their veteran group, but not nearly as much as they went 3–2 from the same team Lost Sunday night in Pittsburgh.
“Our veterans know they’ve gotten better, there’s no doubt about that,” head coach David Quinn said after the loss, which dropped the Rangers to 1-3-1. “We have talked to them privately, they have accepted it, they know that. The good news is that there are those who are established players in this league and are good players. The good news is that our young players are developing and they are playing good hockey against real good players. “
But the Rangers lost one of their most important youngsters at half-time, when 21-year-old Phillip Chitil collided with Evan Rodrigues. He hit the ice hard and was slow to get up before going to the locker room, the team said, with an upper body injury. Cheetil did not have an update after the game at Quinn.
The Penguins, once again, came from behind as they erased a 2–1 deficit to start the third period with goals from Jared McCann and Jake Guangel. Despite a power-play opportunity with the game tied at 2–2 in the final frame, the Rangers could not capitalize and eventually left Guenzel’s game-winner with 1:30 remaining on the clock.
“We can sit here and talk about some good work and the possibilities we had in the third period,” Quinn said. “But you’ve got to win the hockey game, you have to find a way to win. A man cannot get a shot from that area for one minute and 30 minutes. You have to make an urge, you have to know who is dangerous and just hopeless.
“To come here and play some good hockey and come away with a point is really disappointing.”
For the second-straight game, the 20-year-old kid was the only player keeping the Rangers competitive. Rookie defenseman K’ndre Miller broke the plays, parked his teammates on Ranger and drafted Penguins star Sydney Crosby to keep the Rangers in the game.
Second-year defenseman Adam Fox extended his lead to four games when his shot from over the zone was redirected by fellow Harvard alum Colin Blackwell at 16:36 for the first time, having previously been promoted from Taxi-based. Day of Rangers debut.
The new-look fourth line from Blackwell, Brett Howard and Kevin Rooney generated some of the Rangers’ most dangerous opportunities.
Even though Ryan Strome recorded his first point of the season, when he dropped the ball to the crease of the Penguins netminder Tristan Zari in the second time at 17:17, dropping a 1-1 draw, Rangers just Needing his top six was to win.
“We know our roles, we know our responsibilities, just haven’t been there,” said Micah Zibnazad, who had two shots on target. “Just can’t lay down and feel sorry for myself, you just have to work through it and go.”
The only Rangers youngster Igor Shesterkin, who was not at the top of his game, faced in his first back-to-back start of the season was turned 16 of 19 shots.
However, the Rangers had one of their first better periods of the season, taking a 1-0 lead at Blackwell’s tally at 16:36. But Brian Rust managed to tie it at more than half of the second round breakup with his second goal in multiple matches against Rangers.
“Obviously you don’t get up one-on-one, you feel good about it, but I felt we were really lethargic for about 12 minutes in that second period,” Quinn said. “You can understand it, I knew they were going to get one.”