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Rangers Blow Lead – Playoff Hopes Fading
Posted By Dan Rakusan On Mar 28 2010 @ 12:17 pm In New York Rangers | 5 Comments
After winning two games, the Rangers showed the world why they are an extremely frustrating team to cheer for last night, losing 3-2 in overtime to the hapless Toronto Maple Leafs. Everything started out well, as the Rags built a 2-0 lead and looked to have things in the bag. However, a flukey goal by Tomas Kaberle from behind the goal-line which Henrik Lundqvist absolutely should have stopped, built on an earlier effort by John Mitchell, and took the game to overtime. From there, it was clear which team was hungrier, and it was the Leafs.
Nikolai Kulemin wasted little time in the extra frame, scoring only 39 seconds in, to give the home team the win and put a severe damper on the Rangers’ playoff hopes.
One could argue that the lack of regulars Ryan Callahan and Matt Gilroy didn’t help the Rangers’ cause, but excuses are for losers. Adding to the building injury problems was the loss of Sean Avery after he took a violent hit to his left knee. Avery has been playing very well lately, and is always a sparkplug player for his team. If he misses any significant time, this team will revert to playing a lifeless game.
One funny moment, courtesy of CBC announcer Kevin Weekes, came when Avery put a hit on Dion Phaneuf, prompting the commentator to state “and Phaneuf gets his first taste of Sean Avery”… From what I am given to understand, that’s not the case, and even became a big media story a while back…
Anyway, with only 7 games remaining, things are looking bleak. Working in the Rangers’ favour is the quality of opposition they face, and the fact that they close out the season with two games against the injury-ravaged Flyers, who are down to their third-string goalie. However, New York can’t afford to look beyond the next game, and must simply lay it all on the line each night.
My prediction is still somewhat optimistic. I think the Rangers can catch Philly. The one thing working against them is the fact that Atlanta is also in the mix, and currently has two points on the Rangers. Torts, if there a time to be a motivator, it is NOW!
Until next time,
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