Henrik Lundqvist isn’t putting all the blame on his teammates. He knows he needs to be better himself.
And besides, even if did want to blame his teammates, he wouldn’t know where to start. The New York Rangers are in a tailspin, and they can’t seem to pull out of it.
“I don’t really have a good explanation,” Lundqvist told the New York Post after Sunday’s 7-3 loss to the Capitals. “Right now when bad things happen, we get out of our structure a little bit and give up chances.”
The Rangers started the season 16-3-2. They’ve gone 3-9-2 since. Sure, there were signs that they might regress a touch. But not many were predicting this.
While Lundqvist definitely needs to be better individually, it’s probably no coincidence that much of the losing has been done without dependable defenseman Kevin Klein in the lineup. The blue line was already a concern when he was healthy. Dylan McIlrath and Chris Summers played versus the Caps, replacing the injured Klein and Dan Girardi, the latter of whom had struggled badly for much of the season.
With all that change on the back end, a team could easily “get out of our structure a little bit.”
“From my standpoint, I know that this group knows how to defend and can defend,” coach Alain Vigneault told CBS New York. “They’ve obviously proved it in the past; we are obviously not doing it at this point in time. We have to regroup, stick with one another, and get back at it on Tuesday.”
The Rangers host Anaheim Tuesday, followed by the Christmas break.