Regarding the Rangers, who continue their Ye Olde Patrick Division Week with the Caps at the Garden on Tuesday before the Penguins hit Broadway for a Thursday-Saturday double feature. 

1. Here the Blueshirts are, fighting to nail down third place in the division and trying to crest just ahead of the playoffs while looking for all the world like a team coming out of training camp searching for an identity. 

2. When I see Patrick Kane, whose game is as unrecognizable as the uniform he is wearing, I flash back to late March 2014 and a haggard, exasperated Marty St. Louis giving himself an extended face wash at a practice rink in Calgary while talking about having gone scoreless for his first 13 games as a Ranger. 

Changing colors after a lifetime is not as easy as changing into a new top. But Kane, conspicuously low-key through his first 10 days in Blue, should stop being so diffident. Easier for me to say than for No. 88 to do, most likely, but management did not move heaven and earth to bring him here so that Kane could be just another guy in the chorus line. 

Of course, reuniting Kane with Artemi Panarin was the way to go at the start. Their connection formed the initial impetus for the Rangers to even conjure this move. But maybe there was a good reason Streisand and Redford never tried to recreate the chemistry they had in “The Way We Were.” 

Patrick Kane has been quiet on the ice in his first few days as a Ranger.

Martin St. Louis
Martin St. Louis went scoreless in his first 13 games with the Rangers.
Getty Images

P.S.: St. Louis recorded one goal in 19 regular-season games for the Blueshirts before changing the narrative in the run to the Cup final. The goal was scored shorthanded. 

3. Vladimir Tarasenko, who for about 10 seconds was the big fish reeled in by GM Chris Drury, has appeared to find his footing playing on Mika Zibanejad’s right side. You wouldn’t want to keep moving the veteran around. 

But I think the Rangers’ most perfect union would feature Alexis Lafreniere on the left with Zibanejad in the middle and Kane on the right. You’d have an agitating, forechecking, puck retriever who appears ready and eager to assume more responsibility on one side, a premier playmaker on the other and The Shooter in the middle. 

I’d finally take a legitimate look at Panarin on Filip Chytil’s left wing with Tarasenko on the right. Chytil and Panarin have gotten only six games as linemates, with 96:07 of five-on-five ice time shared through which the Rangers have scored seven goals and allowed three. 

Then Chris Kreider, Vincent Trocheck and Kaapo Kakko on a straight-line, straight-ahead unit that has the ability to play smashmouth hockey and control the puck below the hash marks to soften up the opposition. 

This is the top nine I’d like to see this week … and the next … and even the week after that. There is a need for stability here. This will need some time to gestate. 

4. I’m not sure what exactly is going on with Adam Fox, but those “That’s unlike Adam” moments have been occurring at an alarming rate. The turnovers and faulty decisions — commonplace for mortals, shocking from him — started at the end of the Blueshirts’ western Canadian tour, about a week before trusty companion Ryan Lindgren went down.

Adam Fox
Adam Fox has been struggling of late.

Over the past 11 games, Fox has been on for seven goals for and 13 against. Over the past five, it’s been one for and seven against. Fatigue may be a factor. Perhaps there is a physical issue that is impacting No. 23’s game. Lindgren’s absence has obviously been one lately, even as temporary bunkmate Niko Mikkola had his best game as a Ranger on Sunday in Pittsburgh. 

If anyone can be excused for a funk, it is Fox, whose shoulders have always been broad enough to put his team on his back. The Rangers, however, cannot afford this to continue for very much longer. 

5. The distribution of power-play time has been equitable since Gerard Gallant split his personnel into a pair of co-equal branches of government with a gap of between 10 and 40 seconds between IA and 1B stretching over seven, five-on-four advantages, while alternating starts. All well and good. 

But when that means voluntarily keeping Zibanejad and his one-timer on the bench for half the time, that’s where the flaw in all this strategic equity is exposed as overthinking. 

6. Trocheck in Pittsburgh on Sunday — and for much of the past couple of weeks — is exactly the player the Rangers faced as a Hurricane in last year’s second round, and, hence, targeted as a free agent. 

There is invaluable bite in Trocheck, who not only refused to back down to Evgeni Malkin, but raised the ante on one of the league’s historically dirtiest and whiniest stars. The nastier it gets, the more No. 16 seems to be in his element. 

Vincent Trocheck knocks Evgeni Malkin off his skates during the Rangers' win over the Penguins on March 12.
Vincent Trocheck knocks Evgeni Malkin off his skates during the Rangers’ loss to the Penguins on March 12.

The Rangers will need a whole lot more of that from just about everyone in order to survive the Eastern gauntlet. 

7. This is the part where I say the Rangers also need more Jacob Trouba in them as opposed to needing more from Jacob Trouba, who is one of the NHL’s singular physical forces. 

8. Jimmy Vesey and Barclay Goodrow have been among the Rangers’ most consistently effective forwards nearly all season while playing up in the lineup. 

Now, with the duo teamed with the speedy and aggravating Tyler Motte, the Blueshirts should have their best fourth line going into the playoffs since 2014, when Brian Boyle and either Derek Dorsett or Daniel Carcillo flanked Dom Moore.