It's back to the drawing board for Rangers coach David Quinn, following a day off Sunday after Saturday’s 2-1 loss to the previously winless Edmonton Oilers.
Quinn, who has dressed a different lineup for each of the Rangers’ first five games of the season, hinted that he might change it again for the next game, when his club hosts the Colorado Avalanche at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday. Defenseman Neal Pionk, who has been a healthy scratch for the past two games, could be back, after Quinn said of the 23-year-old, “I don’t want to reveal our lineup for the following game, but he’s a guy I like an awful lot. He’s going to play a lot for us.”
But if Pionk does re-enter the lineup on Tuesday, that wouldn’t seem to be doing much to address the Rangers’ biggest problem this season, which is a lack of scoring.
“We’ve got to score goals,’’ Quinn said after the Rangers managed just one against the Oilers. “We have to have more tenacity in the offensive zone.’’
The Rangers (1-4) have scored 12 goals in their five games – five of those coming in the 8-5 loss to Carolina on Oct. 7. Henrik Lundqvist, who has a 2.03 goals-against average and .938 save percentage, has played well enough to keep them in games, but the Rangers have not done enough at the offensive end to win games.
“We’ve got to shoot more,’’ Quinn said. “We have to understand shooting creates opportunities for other people.’’
There wouldn’t seem to be a lineup change that might help, at the moment. The Rangers are carrying 13 forwards on their 23-man roster, but the 13th forward is enforcer Cody McLeod, who doesn't create too much in the way of offense. So Quinn has juggled his forward line combinations in an effort to find some chemistry that works.
One thing that might help is giving more playing time to 19-year-old rookie Filip Chytil, who has served as the fourth-line center the last two games. Chytil, a first-round pick in the 2017 draft, has the potential to be one of the team’s most explosive players, but it’s hard to ask him to create offense from the bench, which Quinn realizes.
“He’s a guy who’s very gifted. I’ve got to get him more ice time,’’ Quinn said of Chytil. “He has got to play more.’’
One way Quinn could try to do that is by moving Chytil, a center, to the wing, something he did at times during the preseason.