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Morning Skate: Rangers' stumbles to start the season must change, or they will

The Rangers have lost their last five games, and something has got to give.

New York Islanders v New York Rangers Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

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Lace ’em up. Time for the Morning Skate.

You would think nowadays, a hockey team is only as good as its defense. The Pittsburgh Penguins proved that adage wrong in the most recent Stanley Cup Final, but this current iteration of the New York Rangers doesn't have the offensive firepower to keep them afloat like their Metropolitan Division rivals.

As it stands on Friday, the Rangers have won just one hockey game. Since opening the season, the Rangers are 1-5-2 and have lost five straight after taking a 4-3 shootout loss to the Islanders Thursday evening.

It's been a mess of a season so far for the Rangers. Henrik Lundqvist hasn't looked like his usual dominant self, and his .905 save percentage has put him as one of the league's worst a few weeks into the season. The all-world netminder hasn't gotten help either, as the Rangers defense has been disjointed and chaotic on most evenings. Their possession stats haven't fared much better as, according to Corsica, the Rangers have the 10th-worst even strength CF% in the league, at 47.87.

While it's still early in the season, the signs aren't looking good. Head coach Alain Vigneault hasn't done much so far to inspire confidence in his lineup, and his stock is rising by the game to be the first bench boss fired. The Rangers have the pieces to be a playoff contender, with Kevin Shattenkirk, Mats Zuccarello, and Lundqvist leading the charge, but changes may be coming sooner than they think if things don't turn around.

One sentence recaps

  • Bruins 6, Canucks 3: Three straight power-play goals in the first were enough to keep the Bruins ahead, though they bent just a bit in the second period.
  • Islanders 4, Rangers 3 (SO): The Rangers remain winless in regulation after five straight games in a sloppy New York rivalry match.
  • Predators 1, Flyers 0: The goals just wouldn't come this time for Philadelphia as Pekka Rinne shut the door.
  • Lightning 2, Blue Jackets 0: Mikhail Sergachev's first two goals were enough to eke by the Blue Jackets.
  • Devils 5, Senators 4 (OT): Nico Hischier also got his first two goals of his NHL career, but the Devils nearly lost their second game of the season thanks to a costly middle frame.
  • Oilers 2, Blackhawks 1 (OT): A combined 73 shots resulted in just three goals, including a Mark Letestu overtime winner.
  • Blues 4, Avalanche 3: Three straight Blues goals in the second period helped withstand a Colorado comeback.
  • Hurricanes 2, Flames 1: Carolina rolls to match its best start in franchise history thanks to Scott Darling's 25 saves.
  • Stars 5, Coyotes 4: Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, and, John Klingberg all had multi-point games for the Stars as the Coyotes stay winless.

More hockey

  • Connor McDavid absolutely disrespected the Blackhawks defense with this spin-o-rama assist.
  • The Colorado Avalanche have reassigned Andrei Mironov to the AHL.
  • Hischier scored his first and second career NHL goals within two minutes of each other.
  • Jeff Carter is out indefinitely after sustaining a skate cut to his left leg.