Now is not the time for the New York Rangers to hit the panic button.
Yes, they sit in last place in the Metropolitan Division with just a win and two points, but they’re just four games into the season. It’s not a time to change everything, but the players know the results have to change soon.
“It’s important that we get the urgency and realize how important the next game is and the game after that,” said Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist after New York dropped a 3-1 home decision to St. Louis on Tuesday night. “You have to see it as a big game every night.”
The next big game for the Rangers is Friday night, when they travel to Columbus and face the division rival Blue Jackets.
Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. on FOX Sports Ohio
Lundqvist has had a hand in all three losses. He has allowed at least two first-period goals in each of the three losses, but he’s by far not the only concern so far.
New York’s penalty kill has only stopped 68.8 percent of its opponents’ power-play chances, the third-worst in the league. The power play is a different story as it’s tied for second best at 31.2 percent.
Mika Zibanejad is a big reason for the man-advantage success. The 24-year-old Swedish center has netted four of his team-best five goals on the power play.
But coach Alain Vigneault hinted after Tuesday’s loss that some changes may come before the Columbus game.
“The other two lines right now, we are looking for a little bit more chemistry to create a little bit more,” he said.
After splitting a pair of regulation games last weekend to open the season, Columbus pulled out a 2-1 overtime win at Carolina on Tuesday. Sonny Milano scored both goals in the win and currently leads the team with four goals.
The 21-year-old rookie right winger has scored in all three games this season. He tied Kristian Huselius’ team record by scoring in the first three games. But Milano told The Columbus Dispatch on Wednesday that he’s trying to take everything in stride.
“This has been a lot of fun,” Milano said. “Obviously, my dream growing up has been to play in the NHL. Getting a couple of goals is a great feeling. The first one was amazing. Now I just have to treat it like a business. I just have to keep playing my game, not get too high or too low.”
After winning his second Vezina Trophy last season, Sergei Bobrovsky has continued his sharp play into this season. In the two games he’s played, he allowed just one goal in 67 shots. Seven of those shots came in the extra period Tuesday against the Hurricanes after he gave up his only goal of the season with 1:15 left in the third period.
Both teams will be playing back-to-back games this weekend. After Columbus, the Rangers return home to face New Jersey. The Blue Jackets travel to Minnesota on Saturday night.