Rumors abound that the New York Rangers will acquire star Patrick Kane from the Chicago Blackhawks before Friday afternoon’s trade deadline. The fact is that the Rangers need something to snap them out of an ugly stretch.
Coming off a third straight lopsided regulation loss, the Rangers hope to avoid a fifth consecutive loss overall Sunday night when they host the Los Angeles Kings.
New York’s front office spent part of Saturday trying to find a third team to absorb any salary cap hit in a potential trade for Kane. By the latter portion of their 6-3 loss to the host Washington Capitals, they had dealt seldom-used forward Vitali Kravtsov, a former first-round draft pick, to the Vancouver Canucks.
The rumblings about Kane agreeing to join the Rangers were occurring as New York tied a season high with a fourth straight loss. Since storming back for a 5-4 shootout win at Edmonton on Feb. 17, New York has not led at any point during its past four games.
After a 3-2 overtime loss at Calgary on Feb. 18, the Rangers dropped consecutive 4-1 decisions at home to Winnipeg and at Detroit before turning in a clunker Saturday afternoon. After Barclay Goodrow scored a tying goal, New York allowed the next four goals.
Saturday’s nightmarish showing continued a troubling trend for the Rangers, who allowed the first goal for the sixth straight time and have allowed 37 goals in 10 games since the All-Star break.
“Our job is to go out there and play,” Goodrow said. “It doesn’t matter what’s going on around us or what’s going on on the internet. Once the puck drops, it’s our jobs to go out there and play. We have to be better in all facets of the game.”
Aside from the ugly performance in front of goalie Igor Shesterkin, who has allowed 17 goals in his past four appearances, the Rangers also lost defenseman Ryan Lindgren to an upper-body injury. Lindgren did not return after appearing to injure his left shoulder on a hit from Washington’s T.J. Oshie in the first period. He was wearing a sling afterward and is day-to-day.
Los Angeles is 8-2-2 in its past 12 games since a three-game losing streak Jan. 14-21. The Kings have scored seven goals and are 1-1-1 during the first three games of their five-game trip that ends Tuesday in Winnipeg.
Los Angeles opened the trip with a 2-1 loss at Minnesota on Tuesday but struggled to protect leads in its first two games in the New York area. After blowing a two-goal lead and allowing the tying goal with 38.2 seconds remaining in a 4-3 overtime loss at New Jersey on Thursday, the Kings held on for a 3-2 victory over the New York Islanders on Friday.
Phillip Danault, Arthur Kaliyev and Gabriel Vilardi scored in a span of 5:34 during the second period to stake the Kings to a 3-0 lead.
“Enough is enough, it’s at that point,” Danault said. “We’re all good players here, we all can play defense and we’ve got to learn how to keep playing with the lead and we played a little better tonight. We were more on our toes, not sitting back too much and we did the job.”
The Kings, who have 74 points, are two points ahead of Edmonton for second place in the Pacific Division after the Oilers were handed a 6-5 loss by Columbus on Saturday.
–Field Level Media