When the Rangers get back to practice on Monday, something tells us they better be ready to practice killing penalties.
The Rangers allowed seven power-play goals combined in a pair of defeats at Tampa Bay on Thursday and at Florida on Saturday.
You can somewhat write off the five power-play goals the Rangers gave up in a 9-3 drubbing on Thursday as a just one-of-those-games thing. But coach David Quinn was more perturbed about the two the Rangers allowed to the Panthers in a tight 4-3 loss.
“Obviously, our penalty-kill has to get better,” Quinn said. “We take two stupid penalties to start the game and they capitalize on them. The first [goal] is just a hell of a play by them. Sometimes, your penalty kill, you question yourself — ‘why did we give that one up?’ — sometimes the answer is they have five and you have four. I thought that was the case on the first one. The second one we just made a bad decision. Good thing is we get a couple days of practice. We can shore up our penalty kill. We’ve given up seven goals in two games and we’ve given up 18 on the year, so the last two games just killed us from a penalty-kill standpoint.”
The “stupid” penalties Quinn referred to were a hooking call against Pavel Buchnevich just 1:01 into the game and a slashing call against Micheal Haley that led to Florida’s second goal.
“I benched both guys that did it,” Quinn said, “and that’s going to happen over and over again. You take a lazy penalty, you’re going to get benched. I should have done that 16 games ago. Better late than never, I guess.”
Buchnevich ended up playing 18:59. Haley, who was filling in for Kaapo Kakko, played just 1:26. Kakko missed his second straight game with the flu. Both times, it was a game-time decision.
On Sunday, the Rangers waived Haley. It’s the first step to sending the 33-year-old to Hartford (AHL).
Henrik Lundqvist, who made 26 saves, said: “Last two games, we’ve given up a lot of goals on the PK and that’s a big part of the game. Just got to continue to work on it and try to get our confidence back there. It starts with timely saves. Personally, I’ve got to step up there. Also, as a group, the PK comes down to details, paying attention to all the details and be aware of the scouting report and know what they’re looking for.”
The Rangers’ next game is Wednesday at the Garden against Washington. After a day off Sunday, that gives Quinn two practice days to drill home whatever he chooses.
“We’ve got to focus on things we’re doing well and keep doing it and we’ve got to clean up our special teams,” Quinn said. “We clean up our special teams, we win hockey games.”