The New York Rangers are sputtering along at 8-7-1. Their roster is riddled with injuries. They are winless in their last three games.
They don’t appear to be responding to coach John Tortorella’s motivational prods. This team bears watching during the next few weeks.
“We’ve just got to try to stabilize ourselves,” Tortorella told reporters after the Montreal game. “We lose a couple. Coming into these last three games here, we were playing pretty well. We find a way to get a point in Ottawa. We can’t get into a panic mode. We just need to get more minutes consistently out of our players. It’s a hard question to answer. It’s just a matter of trying to find yourselves and have some good things happen. You need some confidence.”
Here are some of the issues:
- Leading scorer Rick Nash (12 points in 14 games) is sidelined by a mysterious ailment. We assume the club knows what is wrong with him, but it won’t disclose any details to the public.
- Tortorella benched slumping winger Marian Gaborik for the entire third period at Montreal. Gaborik, who has scored two points since Jan. 26, earned his pine time for taking a lazy hooking penalty. Tortorella has tried a number of new line combinations to get Gaborik going again, but nothing has worked.
- Defenseman Ryan McDonagh exited Saturday night’s game against Montreal after Canadiens winger Max Pacioretty drove him face-first into the glass. With defenseman Michael Del Zotto shelved by a minor leg or foot injury, the Rangers are suddenly thin on the blue line.
- Fourth-line wingers Arron Asham (back spasms) and Darroll Powe (concussion) are also on the injured list.
“You have injuries,” Tortorella told reporters. “You’ve got to keep on playing. What can you do? Some kids got a chance to play tonight, but again, we aren’t playing enough minutes, so we’ve got to figure it out and just try to find ourselves, keep our wits about ourselves and just keep on playing.”