New York Rangers Embrace Game 1 Failure Against Skilled Florida Panthers

New York Rangers, NHL

The New York Rangers and their dejected fans leaving Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night had to remind themselves that this was just the first round in a potential seven-round street fight.  With the 3-0 shutout win, the Panthers landed the first critical blow to take a 1-0 series lead. 

On Friday night, the Rangers will hear the bell for “Round 2” with the full support of the blue-clad, towel-swinging New Yorkers hurling all kinds of insults toward the Florida bench. The crowd will erupt and threaten to blow the roof off the place if the Blueshirts gain the first goal of the game. However, that same nervous energy that permeated MSG in Game 1 will return quickly if the New York Rangers sleepwalk through the first period as the team did for much of the encounter earlier this week. 

New York Rangers Coach Happy with Effort

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While I would disagree with his assessment, the New York Rangers head coach Peter Laviolette, said he was happy with the effort despite some execution issues in Game 1:

“You go back and look at the chances, it’s kind of an even game,” Laviolette claimed. “It sits at the 50 percent mark, but I just look at some of the crispness and execution and skating and movements and the coverage. It’s not a lot, but there are things I feel we could have done better that maybe could have pushed it in our direction. … Just small things that can be better.”

Watching from home about 90 minutes away down I-95, the New York Rangers did not look engaged, particularly in the first period. During the game, I chalked it off to them being idle. However, if you read the first piece in the series about Game 1’s action (and you should), you would know both teams had about the same amount of time off between series. So, the idle theory went right out the window with that research note. 

Florida significantly outworked New York throughout large portions of the game. Therefore, the eye test that noticed lackadaisical effort from New York did not measure up to what the Rangers bench boss claimed to see on tape. “Lavy” is getting paid by an NHL team…. And has been for many years. I am not. So let’s just take his word for it and move forward, m’kay?

Either way, both this author and that New York Rangers head coach hope for a better effort from the Blueshirts in Game 2. Even if those hopes are for vastly different reasons. 

New York Rangers Looking to Avoid Same Fate as ’23 Hurricanes

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The New York Rangers find themselves in the same position as the 2023 Carolina Hurricanes squad in last year’s Eastern Conference Finals. Carolina also lost Game 1 in a one-game contest to open that series. Carolina felt they were in every single contest in last year’s ECF, yet the Hurricanes lost all four games by that same one-goal margin. 

If the Blueshirts are unable to solve “Bob-ROB-sky” in Game 2 of the series, they could be heading back to Sunrise, Florida reading the same script that was handed to the Canes in last year’s Eastern Conference Finals.  

Clean Crease Clear Part of Florida’s Gameplan

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Matthew Tkachuk spoke on something postgame that was noticeable while viewing Game 1. Almost any time there was a whistle, the blue paint around Bobrovsky was clear. Like, 2 am in a 7-11 parking lot clear. It looked like there wasn’t even a New York Rangers player in the State of New York!   Did I make my point clear enough?

Cool, here are the Tkachuk’s thoughts on the situation: 

“I thought the forwards and especially the [defensemen] did a great job of blocking shots, boxing guys out,” the Panthers’ All-Star declared postgame. “[Bobrovsky] was able to see most of the shots. We were very disciplined tonight staying out of the box, and when we did take penalties, our penalty kill was so good.”

There was a long stretch in the second period where the New York Rangers were not even credited with a Shot on Goal.  That was due to the stifling, team-first defensive mentality of the scrappy Florida club, throwing body parts in front of speeding pucks to assist their goalie. If Florida can shut down those shooting lanes consistently, it might be a quick, unsuccessful visit to the 2024 Eastern Conference Finals for the New York Rangers. 

Game 2 drops the puck at Madison Square Garden on Friday evening, 05/24/24 at 8 pm EST.

About The Author

Christopher Babos is a genuine sports & entertainment journalist with diverse credentials in writing, broadcasting, and digital media. With a varied professional background that includes an M.B.A. in Sports Management from Tiffin University, Chris can speak with authority on the subject matters that he covers. Additional insightful sports articles are located here. He can be located on X for real-time takes (@CBabosWrites)

Total Apex is an all-encompassing content producer. We provide heavily detailed articles every day on entertainment, gaming, sports, and much more! Check out all the great content Total Apex Sports has to offer. Check us out on X @TotalApexSports and our other sites: Total Apex Sports Bets and Total Apex Fantasy Sports.

 

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