GREENBURGH, N.Y. — To hear Jacob Trouba talk, the solution for what ails the Rangers is not a top-to-bottom restoration.
All they need, in the defenseman’s estimation, is a little fine-tuning.
“Playing that speed game where everybody’s moving” was Trouba’s diagnosis for the Rangers after Monday’s practice session at the MSG Training Facility. “It’s hard to play against. I think that’s what we’ve gotten away from a bit with the puck [and] without the puck. Just stay on top of the forecheck . . . It’s not a crazy, major adjustment.”
There’s no time like the present for the Rangers to make those tweaks. After winning three of their first four games, the Rangers have dropped two straight, including a shocking 5-1 loss to Columbus on Sunday night.
The Rangers trailed 3-0 until Artemi Panarin scored a power-play goal with 1:16 left in the second period. Any comeback hopes were dashed in a 44-second span of the third period when Eric Robinson and Kent Johnson scored for Columbus.
The Rangers (3-2-1) will host defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado on Tuesday before visiting the Islanders on Wednesday. They end the week with back-to-back games at Dallas and Arizona on Saturday and Sunday.
“It’s an us thing,” Trouba said when asked if Colorado and the Islanders are the ideal opponents for the Rangers to get back to playing north-south hockey. “We [have] to play with the speed and quickness and getting to the net. . . . It doesn’t matter if people know what [we’re] doing. It’s still hard to defend.”
The Rangers will not have third-line center Filip Chytil for at least a week because of an upper-body injury. The 23-year old, who has two goals and an assist in six games, played only two shifts totaling 11 seconds against the Blue Jackets. On his second and final shift of the game, Chytil appeared to be elbowed in the head by Columbus’ Cole Sillinger and had to be helped off the ice by a trainer. He did not participate in practice.
Coach Gerard Gallant, who said he hopes the injury will be “short-term,” praised Chytil’s play this season. “He was [really] consistent. He really played well. We’re happy with his game,” Gallant said. “He’s played really good hockey for us.”
Barclay Goodrow slotted in as the third-line center and worked with the second power-play unit of Kaapo Kakko, Vitali Kravtsov, Alexis Lafreniere and Trouba.
“There’s different things I need to do [on the power play],” Goodrow said. “But when it comes to five-on-five, nothing in my game changes.”
Notes & quotes: Gallant would not say whether Igor Shesterkin will play against both the Avalanche and Islanders or if Jaro Halak will get a start in one of the games.