Don't despair, Rangers also started last season 0-2

Rangers' Ryan McDonagh (27), top, becomes entangled with Rangers' Ryan McDonagh (27), top, becomes entangled with Pittsburgh Penguins' James Neal during the first period. (Jan. 20, 2013) Photo Credit: AP

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Lest we forget: The 0-2 Rangers were 0-3 to begin last season, with overtime and shootout losses to the Kings and Ducks in Sweden and a loss to the Islanders.

But the Rangers managed to grab two points in those three games, and to match that total this season, they will need to rebound with a win Wednesday night against the 2-0 Bruins, who beat them, 3-1, on Saturday and edged Winnipeg in a shootout Monday.

For despairing fans, it should be noted that after 48 games last season, which is the length of this year's truncated season, the Rangers stood at an impressive 31-12-5.

Still, points are at a premium, a thought Rick Nash underscored when asked about his first goal as a Ranger after a 6-3 loss to the Penguins in the home opener Sunday. "I'd rather have the two points," said Nash, who scored with the Rangers shorthanded. "It doesn't mean much. If it helped us win or tie the game, it would mean a lot."

Nash, a 28-year-old All-Star acquired from Columbus in June, has played as advertised and appears to be a force in all situations. His numbers for two games: one goal, one assist, seven shots and six hits. With his reach and size, he drives the net, draws people to him and creates open space for teammates.

Now, if the Rangers can return to the defensive structure that lifted them to the top of the East last season, the mistakes and misfires will be forgotten. John Tortorella had scheduled a day off Monday after the back-to-backs, and the club will practice Tuesday.

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To be sure, the Rangers will work to adjust their system; there was repeated trouble getting out of the zone against the Penguins, who forced chip-outs and created turnovers.

Henrik Lundqvist was victimized by the scrambling, although he acknowledged he was not at his sharpest. The goaltender said weeks ago that NHL game action was critical for him to get up to speed, especially with no preseason games or AHL scrimmages, and he suspected that he would not always be in Vezina Trophy form early. It is widely expected that he will be in net again Wednesday, and perhaps again Thursday when the Rangers visit Philadelphia, where he was 3-0 last season.

Notes & quotes:With 41 seconds left in Sunday's game, defenseman Brooks Orpik rocked Chris Kreider, who was caught with his head down at mid-ice. Orpik's shoulder connected with Kreider's jaw, and the rookie was on his knees for a minute before skating off. No update was provided Monday, and it was unclear whether he will practice Tuesday . . . In two games, 11 Rangers have been called for 16 penalties, including three fighting majors.

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