Top 6 problems, problems for Artemi Panarin, Filip Chytil’s future, more

Rangers fell into a 2-0 hole after losing 2-0 to the Hurricanes on Friday night. But now the series moves to Madison Square Garden for a crucial Game 3 on Sunday afternoon. How did Rangers get into this predicament? Can they fight back? Let’s delve into all of that and more by answering a few questions (edited for clarity and aggregated based on overall topic) submitted by our Blue Seats Subscriber Texts…

My concern is the top production! If Rangers lose that streak, their six highest-paid players will be to blame. Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad didn’t show up when it mattered. Is this team already doomed in the long run?
– Filippo LoPreiato, Kerry DeMarco, Dinny FitzPatrick, Paul Gifford, Joseph Meliambro

Doomed is a bit too dramatic a term for me, but how the Rangers marquee players have fared this postseason isn’t an encouraging sign. That’s because those players are long-term banned, so that’s the core of Rangers for the foreseeable future. Rangers have drawn much of their production from their top two lines this season and they’re not nearly as dangerous without them. Still, that top-six production (coupled with goaltender Igor Shesterkin’s exploits) got Rangers to this point. And you need players who can perform as well in the regular season as they did in the playoffs.

It matters in the playoffs, though, and there’s no doubt that if Rangers lose that series, blame will fall on the top guys. That being said, we don’t know who’s struggling with injuries, and there’s a good chance some of them are coming off their first 82-game season in two years. This is also their first legitimate playoff experience with this group and they can only grow more familiar from here on out. Top 6 problems, problems for Artemi Panarin, Filip Chytil’s future, more


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