The Rangers, playing their first game since Saturday, dropped their second straight contest, 5-2 to New Jersey. New York had an ineffective power play, to say the least, and their energy level looked to be lacking, let alone their execution. If there is a silver lining, the Blueshirts don't have long to let this loss fester, facing the Capitals in DC tonight.
1) AMP line - as good as that trio was in the first two games is a d bad as they have been the last two. Of the three, Artemi Panarin was the best, as he was engaged and more physical than I expected to be. But Pavel Buchnevich was far from good and Mika Zibanejad was okay not great.
2) Lines 2-4 - too many passengers and the third trip was likely the best of the overall bunch. Brett Howden was decent as the second line center, Lias Andersson saw a good chunk of his action on the penalty kill and helped created the team's first goal, Brendan Smith may have been the best of the remainder. Ryan Strome had an okay game, scuffling on the power play with several turnovers, but appears to generate some offense 5v5.
3) Brendan Lemieux was a healthy scratch, which seems less than optimal. no word was given by David Quinn as why he specifically was a press box visitor. Michael Haley dressed for less than six minutes, so that move made a ton of sense. I would expect Lemieux back in the lineup tonight.
4) Kappo Kaako was somewhat noticeable throughout but has to stop putting the puck between his legs in the offensive zone. Go hard to the net and use your power and speed. I could see Kaako moved up and Buch moved down if the offense struggles again.
5) Chris Kreider had chances and can't finish, but his lack of energy and jump was fairly apparent throughout the game. If he is playing for a deal, which he is, he has to be a lot better. On the PP, he ended up by the left circle, which is not where he belongs and he didn't create much havoc in front. MacKenzie Blackwood did rob him once, but Kreider did a few golden chances and failed to connect on any.
6) Defense - Jacob Trouba was on a the ice a ton but didn't appear to have a great game. Slow moving the puck on the PP. Struggled in his own zone, no jump on the ice. ADA was engaged and his chirpy/agitative self. It may be time to give him more ice time to see if he can handle it.
Brady Skjei was not good again. Terrible in his own zone, his initial turnover, which was bailed out by Adam Fox, led to a Devils goal following Fox's turnover. Did come to Fox's defense after Taylor Hall's unpenalized elbow - nice job by the black and white yesterday, who missed a good game, making phantom calls both ways and ignoring broader issues - but he may need a game off. I would consider giving Ryan Lindgren a look see.
7) Powerless play - went 0-for-6 on man advantage. Had a few good looks but not sustainable pressure. Issues with gaining the offensive zone. Execution was a major concern, possibly due to the time off, which hurt the flow.