Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Vigneault Laments Rangers' Defensive Woes

The New York Rangers are starting to lose their grip in the Metropolitan Division standings and their defense is the primary culprit. And it's spiraling out out of control for the team and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. On Tuesday Lundqvist allowed seven goals on 27 shots in two periods before being replaced by rookie Magnus Hellberg to start the third.

According to Dan Rosen of NHL.com, Lundqvist has now allowed 12 goals on 49 shots in his past four periods.

The Rangers have been able to mask their defensive deficiencies for much of the season with a potent attack, but as the dog days of January kick in they are a team looking for answers on the blue line.

"No doubt we need to do a better job in front of our net," said head coach Alain Vigneault. "Our offensive game is pretty good at this time but defensively there's obviously too many breakdowns."

Vigneault said that Lundqvist will start the next game and that the team is committed to righting the ship.

"He's going to play next game," he said. "He's going to try real hard and we're going to try and play better in front of him. We're all going to stick with one another and do what we can to get out of this three-game losing streak."

The Rangers scored three goals in 4:15 of the third period to close to within a goal, but could not manage an equalizer. They drop to 28-16-1 and still hold a seven point margin over the Senators for the top wild card spot. They'll travel to Toronto on Thursday to face the Leafs at Air Canada Center.