"Our puck management is not very good right now," said defenseman Dan Girardi. "We're just giving pucks away and not getting all the way down to their hash marks and making them go down and get it. We're making life easy on other teams. They're playing however they want, coming out of the zone freely and cycling on us. We've got to find a way to get the puck out of our zone as fast as we can and create some offensive zone pressure to take the onus off the defense here."
While Tortorella took heat for the Rangers' struggles on offense, Vigneault has not found better luck. Complicating things was the loss of Nash, who returned to New York after taking an elbow to the head against San Jose, a hit from Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart that drew a suspension.
Vigneault inserted Jesper Fast into the lineup to replace Nash against Anaheim and put him on a line with Taylor Pyatt and Derek Stepan.
The grouping was on the ice for all three of Anaheim's first-period goals.
The Rangers have plenty of build-in excuses right now; a new system, injuries, a long road trip, but aren't biting.
"We all know what we're supposed to do," said Girardi. "A.V. (Vigneault) gave us the game plan. We all know it. It's been a long time since training camp started. I know we've been on the road but that doesn't matter. Everyone knows what we have to do in the d-zone. It's pretty self-explanatory. We just refuse to be in front of the net and be strong in front."
Asked about his team's confidence, Vigneault said his club is being tested. He said it is up to him to get his team performing better on the ice, but he isn't about to alter the game plan either.
"The execution, making the tape-to-tape pass has nothing to do with the systems. Coming through the neutral zone and reading the other team's pressure and making the play with the puck has nothing to do with the system. Those are all things that these players have done their whole lives and I'm confident they can still do," said the coach.
The good news for the Rangers is that after opening with four games out west, they will be back on the East Coast to finish up their road trip, including a six-day span from Oct. 19-24 in which they play just twice and are near home with games against New Jersey and Philadelphia.
The bad news is they are still over two weeks away from their home opener at the new-look Madison Square Garden on Oct. 28. And they better have some wins by then or they will be the pig to the crowd's Zeus.
"We have the character in this room to do it. It's just a matter of mustering it up and realizing it and going on the ice and doing it," said captain Ryan Callahan. "We can say all we things we want in the locker room and in the media, but that doesn't mean anything until you go out there and do it."