After the Rangers loss to the Panthers last night, Henrik Lundqvist said “Teams don’t play great all the time, but they find a way to win and I think that is something we are lacking a bit this year. It always helps when you get good bounces but you need to earn them.”
Adam Rotter: This to me is the biggest difference between the team this year and last year. The Rangers overachieved last year and finished in first place in the East because they won a bunch of games late or because Henrik Lundqvist was unbeatable. That isn’t to take away from the work that they did, but there were a lot of games where the Rangers were “ugly” or weren’t the better team for most of the 60 minutes yet still pulled out two points. They were frustrating, boring and had trouble scoring last year, but more often then not they pulled out a win.
This year the Rangers aren’t getting timely goals, sometimes any goals, and while Henrik Lundqvist has been good, he hasn’t been great. The biggest thing the Rangers needed to do was learn how to stop finding ways to win games and instead just “win” games. That is how a team takes the next step and becomes a real contender. The idea was that the Rangers were going to be able to do that because they acquired Rick Nash and with Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards, they would score enough so that Henrik Lundqvist didn’t have to stand on his head every night for the Rangers to win. Nash has been good, but a little streaky, but Gaborik and Richards haven’t been and the Rangers give Henrik Lundqvist no margin for error.