After a month of impressive performances, the New York Rangers are in a slight rut.
Coming off consecutive regulation losses for the first time this season, the Rangers hope to avoid a third straight defeat Wednesday night when they visit the league-worst Arizona Coyotes.
New York has lost consecutive games for the third time this season. The Rangers dropped their first two games of the season when they fell in regulation to Washington and in overtime to Dallas and then dropped three straight games when they lost in overtime at Vancouver and Edmonton before getting blown out in Calgary Nov. 2-6.
New York followed up its three-game skid by winning 11 of 12 but since then has lost three of four. After a 7-3 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Dec. 8, the Rangers held on for a 2-1 win in Buffalo on Friday before dropping a 1-0 decision to the Nashville Predators on Sunday.
On Tuesday, the Rangers saw a four-game road winning streak end with a 4-2 loss at Colorado when they trailed by two goals after the opening period and allowed six power plays. Julien Gauthier and Ryan Strome scored as the Rangers mustered 28 shots and had fewer than three goals in a third straight game for the first time all season.
“I thought we played for 60 minutes,” Strome said. “I thought we competed. There were times in the game where you probably could have folded it in, and I thought the PK (penalty-killing) did a good job of keeping us in the game at times. We fought back.”
Arizona’s 12 points are the fewest in the NHL, and the Coyotes have scored a league-low 48 goals while getting outscored by 53 goals for the worst goal differential in the NHL.
The Coyotes have been idle since Saturday when their losing streak reached five games with a 5-3 loss to the visiting Philadelphia Flyers. The Coyotes are on their second five-game skid of the season and are getting outscored 24-8 since a 1-0 win at Winnipeg on Nov. 29.
On Saturday, the Coyotes tied the game twice before allowing three straight goals and took their fifth straight home loss as Jay Beagle, Nick Schmaltz and Lawson Crouse scored.
“It seems like when they get one (goal), they get another right after,” Crouse said. “I think that’s something we need to tighten up on.”
Arizona played Saturday without defenseman Jakob Chychrun (upper body) and Ryan Dzingel (lower body). Both players are expected to miss Wednesday’s game and could be joined on the sidelines by Beagle, who left Saturday’s game with a lower body injury.
Chychrun’s absence opened an opportunity for Janis Moser to make his NHL debut on Wednesday. Moser, Arizona’s second-round pick last year, has five goals and 12 points in 18 games with Tucson of the AHL.
“We don’t call him up to sit him,” Arizona coach Andre Tourigny said at practice Tuesday. “We want to give him a chance to play right away.”
Arizona has won the past three meetings. The teams are meeting for the first time since Arizona’s 3-2 overtime home win on Oct. 22, 2019.
–Field Level Media