Rangers frustrated by their inability to score goals
CHICAGO — As a handful of Rangers dutifully sat at their stalls, giving their postgame interviews in the visiting locker room in the minutes following the club’s 4-1 loss to the Blackhawks on Thursday night, a shout came from the shower, clear as a bell for everyone in the room to hear.
It was an obscenity.
Yes, the Rangers were frustrated.
“Sometimes I feel like — and I’m looking around the room and I’m talking for myself as well — we just want so much, and it ends up being nothing out of it,’’ a glassy-eyed Mika Zibanejad said. “We try to score. We’re trying to work on that. We were hoping, obviously, that last game (a 5-2 win over Florida on Tuesday at the Garden) maybe got us started on something here. We hit a few posts, we had some good chances, we’re in it the whole time. It’s a 2-1 hockey game, and I think ‘Haysie’ [Kevin Hayes] hit the [goaltender’] shoulder and it goes off the bar and out instead of in. I feel like that’s happening a little too much for us.’’
Zibanejad made the point that the Rangers can’t just blame their 3-6-1 record on bad bounces — that there are things they must do better to get the results they want. An angry coach David Quinn called the Rangers’ third-period performance, “probably as poor as we’ve played all year,’’ and admitted the kind of weak effort he saw did surprise him.
“Yeah, because we hadn’t seen that before,’’ he said. “You’re not going to beat any team if you don’t compete shift in and shift out and play at a pace.’’
The Rangers were off on Friday. They will practice in Los Angeles on Saturday, play the struggling L.A. Kings losers of six in a row — on Sunday, and continue the California swing with games in San Jose on Tuesday and Anaheim on Thursday.
Ten games into the season, the Rangers have played OK defensively, but they’ve struggled to score goals, having managed 25 on the season, while giving up 34.
Henrik Lundqvist, the 36-year-old goaltender who remains the face of the franchise, was the one player who seemed relatively calm Thursday night, despite the fact the Rangers were outshot, 37-19, and managed just one shot on goal in the third period. This is no time to panic, he said.
“It’s disappointing just being close all the time,’’ Lundqvist said. “In the end, it comes down to putting that puck in the net. We’ve just got to continue playing the way we’re playing. I think there are so many good things we should be happy about — the work ethic, and the way we battle — it’s hard, but you don’t want to start overthinking and try to do too much, for all of us, starting with myself. It’s a tight game almost every night, so hopefully that part of our game will turn around.’’