David Quinn wanted his team to get better in boredom.
This plan got a bit hectic late, but the Rangers still managed a 4-1 win over the Kings in the Garden on Sunday evening.
Igor Shesterkin scored 41 saves and continued to look like a No. 1 goalkeeper. The 24-year-old Russian has won for the fifth time in six starts since his promotion from AHL Hartford in January.
The Rangers (27-23-4) scored an early goal from Greg McKegg, but it was Kaapo Kakko's mid-way goal that emerged victorious. Filip Chytil prepared the eighth goal of the year for Kakko with a quick back pass from the corner and prepared Kakko for the 1-0 win.
The kings (19-33-5) robbed Shesterkin of his first career break less than two minutes later. The rookie was in a difficult position after tracking a post-to-post passport. So Trevor Moore had enough network to work with when he sent a pass to 2-1 at 10:47 in the third third.
But Shesterkin buckled the rest of the way and Artemi Panarin and Tony DeAngelo (Leer-Netter) added late insurance targets when the Rangers tried to play an easier game in front of them. They suffered a 2-3 defeat on Friday, in which the Sabers forced traffic in the neutral zone and waited for the Rangers to make mistakes. Quinn wanted to avoid repeating Sunday against the kings.
"Well, we like to keep things interesting," said Quinn before the game. "We are getting better at it, but we find it difficult to play simple hockey from time to time." We get a little frustrated when the right way to play is simple. I think we'll get better at it, but there is another level that we have to reach if we want to be able to win ice hockey games more consistently. "
The Kings started on Sunday with the second smallest points in the NHL and in the second half of a duel after falling against the Devils in Newark on Saturday night. It was the perfect opportunity for the Rangers to recover from their Friday defeat and regain some momentum before heading west to do a three-game road trip that starts in Winnipeg on Tuesday.
In their roller coaster season, in which they won only three games in a row, the Rangers have a firm grip on the downward curves. In the last 22 games that had lost before Sunday, the Rangers were 16: 6: 0.
They could do this on Sunday by treating the structure of the kings in the neutral zone.
"We do this for a while, but it's like we feel bored again and again and we think we have to try something different," said Quinn. "It just doesn't work that way in this game. You have to be patient, you have to respect your opponent, understand that he also has good players and that he has a certain structure and system that enables him to succeed, and that he doesn't want to play in his hands. "
The Rangers hit first only 2:23 in the first period, thanks to the fourth line and a random rebound. Royal goalkeeper Jonathan Quick had gone behind his net to get a puck, but it was out of reach and came forward. Brett Howden got his stick on top and handed it over to the slot where a falling McKegg had a mostly open net to work with and fired a shot home for the 1-0 lead.