Perhaps the Rangers were due for a dip. But losing back-to-back games has the Blueshirts kicking themselves. And that really hurts with skates on.
The Rangers thought they didn’t play well at all in their 2-1 shootout loss to Dallas on Monday. They thought they played better in a 3-2 loss at Ottawa on Wednesday but let one get away. The Senators had lost five in a row and 12 of 13 going in.
“I think [Wednesday] was a lot different than a couple of nights ago against Dallas,” J.T. Miller said. “I think we deserved a better outcome . . . We had plenty of good looks in that game. I thought we could have done a better job of getting some traffic at the net. But I thought [Wednesday] was a much better effort at least than a couple of nights ago.”
Miller was hard on himself for a crushing goal by Ottawa’s Zack Smith eight seconds into the third period. It gave the Senators a 3-1 lead and created a hill that was too high for the Rangers to climb in their comeback attempt.
“It [stinks],” Miller said. “Especially when it was my guy. Can’t set the tone for a period when you’re down a goal like that. That’s something that doesn’t happen often. It’s kind of a weird play.”
Senators goalie Craig Anderson made 27 saves, but the Rangers lamented that they didn’t give him a rough enough time in front of the net.
“Probably not enough traffic,” Ryan McDonagh said. “If you look back on it, we had a lot of shots, but he saw a lot of them. That’s just the style that they play, too. It doesn’t allow you to get on the inside a lot. But you’ve got to work extremely hard to create some movement, create some havoc. He played really well. If you allow him to see it, he’s going to stop it. Area that we continue to emphasize, but should have happened a little more.
“It’s a frustrating team to play against. The style. Everybody is aware of it. They’ve got a lot of numbers back. The only thing I can pinpoint is our decision-making with the puck. Every time you play this team, it’s about getting through the neutral zone. They created a little bit more turnovers than you want when you play this team, so just our decision-making with the puck and trying to play fast. We can connect the dots.”
The Rangers, who had Thursday off, host the Pacific Division-leading Los Angeles Kings on Friday night.
“It’s a tough league,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “Every game is different.”