Rangers undone by loose play in sloppy loss

— The New York Rangers may have lost to the Columbus Blue Jackets, but head coach Peter Laviolette had plenty of teaching moments to work with. Despite dominating shot attempts in a third period comeback effort, the Rangers struggled with defensive-zone coverage and setting up in the neutral zone. Columbus player Boone Jenner scored a hat trick, taking advantage of the Rangers’ vulnerabilities. Mika Zibanejad acknowledged that the team had room for improvement, but also noted that they didn’t play horrendously. The absence of Ryan Lindgren, a valuable player for the Rangers, was felt as the team struggled to tie up opponents and sticks in front of their net. The Rangers also had difficulty creating quality scoring chances in the first two periods, despite possessing the territorial advantage. Laviolette emphasized the need to improve stick control and shot-blocking. The game started off well for the Rangers with an early goal from Erik Gustafsson, but three disallowed goals changed the course of the game. The team looked scattered and disconnected, struggling to make plays and catch up to the Blue Jackets. The top lines, including Chris Kreider, Zibanejad, and Kaapo Kakko, were ineffective, while the Artemi Panarin, Filip Chytil, and Alexis Lafreniere line was disrupted by Columbus. Laviolette adjusted lines, opting for three lines and benching the Barclay Goodrow, Nick Bonino, and Jimmy Vesey unit for most of the game. Despite a surge in the third period, the Rangers ultimately fell short. They will regroup and prepare for their home opener against the Arizona Coyotes on Monday, knowing that there is much room for improvement and learning.


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