Found October 26, 2011 on The Rangers Tribune:

RangersbenchLast weekend I took part in a Rangers blogger roundtable discussion with my fellow bloggers, analyzing the first five games of the New York Rangers 2011-12 season. Another one of these will be posted after every five games of the Blueshirts' season, so look for another next week.  The roundtable was done in Q and A form, so below are some of the questions along with my answers. Keep in mind, though, that I did this prior to Saturday's loss to the Oilers and Monday's win over Winnipeg. 

Q: Who was the best Ranger over the last 5 games? Who was the worst?

Nick: I think you would be crazy not to say that Henrik Lundqvist has been the best Ranger through the first five games of the season. He is the only reason why they have any points in the standings right now and has stood on his head in each and every game. You'd think it is impossible for a goalie of his caliber to improve even further, but he has done just that this season. He is more aggressive in the crease, his glove has looked much sharper and he has gotten off to a much better start than he did a year ago. Lundqvist has been the best Ranger by far and away to this point - there really is no competition. Honorable mentions would have to go to Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh and Marian Gaborik. 

Q: Which was the Best game? Worst game?

Nick: In terms of 60-minute efforts, I would have to say that the best game for the Rangers so far was their 3-2 win over the Flames in overtime. They played well defensively and maintained a certain effort for the entire game. That was their first full 60-minute performance. Their worst game, on the other hand, had to be the 2-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks, also in overtime. The only reason they got a point in that game was because of Henrik Lundqvist. They looked fatigued and had nothing in the tank to give. 

Q: What are the Rangers doing right/wrong?

Nick: I think their biggest strength to this point has been their penalty-kill. They've spent so much time in the box in the first five games that a strong PK was required in order to prevent a blowout. Thankfully they've killed off nearly all of them to keep the games close. And obviously their biggest weakness would then be their discipline. They need to stop taking so many penalties and give themselves more time to work at even strength. 

Q: Which game in the next segment will be the toughest?

Nick: To be honest, I think their toughest game will be the home opener against the Maple Leafs. Why? Because there will be so much pressure on the team to win that night with the crowd amped up in the newly renovated MSG and since it's week three of the season and they haven't plead at home yet.

Q: Should the slow start be attributed to the trip to Europe or is it just the team?

Nick: Both. The trip to Europe definitely had a negative effect on them and by the time the trip was over they didn't even want to be there anymore. At the same time, they've struggled defensively and on the powerplay, which is a team problem. And like I said above, they need to stay out of the penalty box. 

Q: Who sits when Sauer returns?

Nick: Probably Jeff Woywitka. Erixon has played too well to take him out and Del Zotto should get the opportunity over Woywitka. The real question is what happens when Marc Staal returns?

To read the full interview, along with what the other bloggers had to say, head over to 5-Hole Blog. In a few weeks we will be hosting the roundtable here on The Rangers Tribune!

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