January 22, 2013
NHL snapshots: Rangers' slow start magnified by short season

Pittsburgh Penguins centre Sidney Crosby (L) checks New York Rangers defenceman Stu Bickel during the first period of their NHL hockey game at Madison Square Garden in New York January 20, 2013. (REUTERS)

MONTREAL - A lot of people might have picked the New York Rangers as the Stanley Cup champions this season.

In a big deal, they added scorer Rick Nash to a team that finished first in the Eastern Conference last season.

But the Blueshirts are off to an 0-2 start and have been outscored 9-4 in losses to fellow Eastern Conference favourites Boston Bruins and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

In a quirk of a quirky schedule, they play the Bruins again Wednesday night.

After that, it's the Philadelphia Flyers (who are having their own problems), the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Flyers again.

Under coach John Tortorella the Rangers evolved from a dysfunctional all-star team to a blue collar bunch.

They got an identity: they were tough to play against and were willing to give it up to win games. They led the league in hits and were fourth in blocked shots last year.

But through two games, the Rangers are 27th in the league in shots allowed at 36.5 a game (they ranked