Rangers coach David Quinn used the dreaded “P” word — pressing. Defenseman Ryan Lindgren suggested an absence of confidence has permeated the locker room. Fellow blueliner Adam Fox admitted the Rangers are having a difficult time dealing with adversity, that a goal like the Sabres’ Tuesday night shorthanded breakaway equalizer leads to an avalanche of poor play.
It’s just six games, but the Rangers are well aware changes need to happen immediately. They can’t afford to continue the course they have set in this dreadful 1-4-1 start.
“That’s key, especially in a shortened season. You can’t go through a lull like this. You got to make sure your confidence stays high,” Lindgren said over Zoom following practice. “If you have a tough game, the next night you have to make sure you’re able to bounce back, not get too low. We have to make sure we do that and we’re ready for [Thursday] night.”
Fox did note the Rangers haven’t played terrible hockey. Of their four losses, three were by a single goal. They’ve blown leads in their last three games, twice in the final period. After the lead was lost against the Sabres, Qunn felt a “woe is me” reaction among his players.
“I think a lot of our guys are pressing,” he said. “It was a frustrating evening [Tuesday night], that’s for sure. I think what happened was the frustration from the previous three games kind of boiled over, and after we allowed that shorthanded goal, we stopped doing some of the things we needed to do to claw back in it.”
Quinn doesn’t think effort has been a problem, aside from a few brief instances. The flip side, of course, is two of the losses have come to the Devils and Sabres, teams that weren’t even part of last summer’s 24-team postseason.
“We’ve got to get better play out of a bunch of people. We’ve got to make more timely plays. We have to be mentally tough when things don’t go well,” Quinn said. “A lot of teams are going to play three games and come up with one point. Ours just happens to be right now. We have to rectify it ASAP.”
Quinn said Igor Shesterkin will be back in net Thursday night in Buffalo. Alexandar Georgiev got the start in Tuesday’s 3-2 loss. Neither goaltender has played particularly well, though Georgiev has been better, notching a 2.66 goals-against-average compared to Shesterkin 2.98.
“I think it’s been OK, and if you talk to both of them, I know they both want to be better for sure,” Quinn said. “I know it’s been a topic we’ve talked about over the last few days, but it’s not just our goaltending. We have a bunch of people that need to be better.”
It remains to be seen if Quinn will stick with the top-six changes he made in Tuesday’s game that included the reunited line of Chris Kreider-Pavel Buchnevich-Mika Zibanejad.
“We’re still talking about what we’re going to do for a lineup,” he said.