Not exactly what you’d want to see on the ice from the team today, especially against the Lightning who if things stay this way are shaping up to be the Rangers first round opponent in the playoffs.
Fact of the matter is the Rangers only really came to the game to play in the last 10 minutes of the third. At even strength they were battling hard but not doing anything else. On the Power Play they were stymied by the Lightning penalty kill although they couldn’t really do much of anything to help themselves. And it would be hard for me to come here and say they didn’t battle on the PK because that’s where the Rangers were at their best today, and they were there for a long time…because…
What the hell were the refs doing today? Seriously? That could’ve been one of the most inconsistently called games we’ve seen all season. I guess with Crosby not playing the NHL needs a new golden boy and a new franchise to coddle? Que it up to Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning. Bet Torts is kicking himself right now for getting fired from that gig.
But back to the refs, the phantom boarding call on Girardi. The interference call on Dubinsky because the TBL dman tripped over the blue line. The no call on the obvious slash that Downie put on McDonagh in the Rangers end when the play was all the way by Roloson. What about that interference call on Christensen because Hedman’s stick was in between Christensen’s legs and instead of diving like every other NHL diva Christensen skated through it knocking the stick out of Hemdan’s hands.
It was just inexcusable tonight on the part of the refs. They let a lot of ticky tac things go on the Lightning while calling everything they could on the Rangers, which led to 6….SIX straight power plays for the Lightning.
But, in a game that was absolutely up for grabs you can’t blame the refs, and I won’t. The Rangers take the Lightning into the third period tied up. Win a period, win the game. Simple enough right? Wrong. While it didn’t help that the phantom boarding call on Girardi led to the delay of game call on Boyle and then to the eventual game winning goal by Vinny on the ensuing 5 on 3, this was all an avoidable situation.
The Rangers were given their chances in the first period with 3 power plays. That entire period, they registered 4 shots on goal, three of which came in the last minute of the period. Again it’s another game where the Rangers players just don’t come out to play. They don’t come out focused and it’s bothering me that no one seems to prepare for the opposing teams gameplan. I mean you HAVE to know that Tampa is an aggressive team that can mold to any in game situation, why? Because they have competent coaches. Did you hear Michelleti in the broadcast today talking about how Guy Boucher changed around the whole Tampa gameplan just to play a game against Jersey (which they ended up winning 2-1)? When’s the last time Torts changed the Rangers gameplan? When’s the last time the Rangers seemed to be prepared for another team.
As for the game winning goal, I like the aggressiveness but I’m not sure what the hell Dubinsky and Callahan were doing as they both went to St. Louis on the point. They weren’t quite wide enough to cover the passing angles that Marty had and they weren’t quite low enough to cover down low. This left Sauer covering the vacancy and left Sauer covering four Lightning players. St. Louis dishes to Lecav and he has all day to line up the one timer to beat Lundqvist and win the game for Tampa Bay. Now THAT is bad coaching.
First Tampa Bay goal looked like a miscommunication that trapped Girardi deep in the Lightning zone, Rangers don’t backcheck hard enough leading to a 3 on 2 with Stepan and McDonagh back, St. Louis slides one passed Lundqvist. A goal I’m sure Lundqvist would love to have back but I’m not putting the blame on him there. The blame goes to either Girardi for getting himself trapped like that or to Stepan for not covering the point in time.
I thought Sauer was once again the best Rangers dman, and McDonagh did a hell of a job with Girardi shutting down Stamkos. Limiting the Tampa to 2 goals is a pretty impressive feat, what’s not so impressive was the Rangers lackadaisical offense.
Avery played 7 shifts and only saw 4:14 of ice time. He was engaged when he did play, he was getting on marc-andre bergeron a lot there in the beginning of the game and I was sure as the course of the game went on he’d be able to draw a penalty. But this lack of ice time could def be due to the penalty killing situation that the Rangers found themselves in and Tortorella probably forgot Avery existed.
Christensen followed up his 4 point game with a brilliant effort tonight (sarcasm).
Thought Wolski was invisible when he got a chance to see the ice.
Again it all comes back to the PK really as the Rangers couldn’t get themselves into a groove at even strength and it ultimately cost them the game.
I was very impressed with McCabe’s first game here. He hasn’t learned the system, or the power play, or the coverage in the D zone yet he was very comfortable. Did you notice at the end of the game scramble that the Rangers were designing plays to get him a clean shot? Did you notice how well he was keeping the puck in the zone to keep the pressure on the Lightning during that scramble and also during power plays? I think this is going to turn out to be a great addition to the team and hopefully they can run some Power Play drills in practice with him out there to get him comfortable.
I’m hoping Staal is ready to go on Tuesday night and that Gilroy will take a seat. Thought Eminger played a very strong game and he deserves to stay in the lineup. No reason for Torts to put him back in the doghouse as I truly believe he outplayed Gilroy by a long shot today.
McDonagh led the Rangers in ice time with 24:41. McCabe registered 17:35 in his first game as a Ranger including 4:41 on the PP.
If they’re going to take a real run at the playoffs, a real run at that 6 spot to avoid Tampa in the first round the Rangers are going to need to find their game. They’re going to need to find that consistent middle ground between a 6-0 rout of Washington and a 2-1 loss to Tampa. They’re going to need to play a little more safe and toe that line better rather than taking penalties and above all…
They need to find consistency on the power play
Above all it was a big 2 points that the Rangers could’ve added that they didn’t. And all it does is make Tuesday night’s game against Buffalo that much bigger.
I’ll be throwing up another post right after this one discussing my plans for trade deadline day and why you should be glued to this website all day.
Try to enjoy the rest of your Sunday, hopefully the Knicks can salvage New York sports tonight and take a good hard game to LeBron and his boyfriends. Especially Chris Bosh…god dammit I hate Chris Bosh.
Make sure to follow me on twitter @NYRBlueshirts
About the Author
Written by Adam Gavriel