That my friends was the opposite of the Rangers team we watched dismantle the Flyers on Sunday…your typical Rangers let down game, however this one had a twist of it’s own as it occurred away from home ice. Usually when the Rangers disappoint the fans they tend to do it right in front of their faces on garden ice.
If you were one of the smart ones and didn’t watch the game, or shut it off half way through to get some sleep (like I should have) here’s what you missed.
What last night’s game boils down to can be summed up in a novel I’m currently writing entitled A Tale of Three Periods…I think it will sell well.
Rangers come out hot, Dubinsky nets his 20th of the season just 3:30 into the game. Every Ranger looks active in all three zones and it’s appearing to be a long night for Dan Ellis. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover, don’t judge a game by the first 5 minutes.
If you didn’t feel like the game was going to get somewhat out of hand after Corey Perry banked his shot off of Girardi and passed Lundqvist for the tying goal from behind the net, then you’re either a liar or you just haven’t been watching the Rangers this season. I think we all felt it, I think the Rangers felt it, but we just didn’t want to believe it.
Then what happens? By some grace of God Visnovksy is able to get enough of his stick on a bouncing cross ice pass to put it towards the net. Then Marc Staal (who had an awful game, just like many other Rangers) decided it would be a good time to follow his man across the crease. Lundqvist doesn’t see the 20 mph shot flutter right by him and into the top corner. The luckiest shot in NHL history right there. Visnovksy was lucky to get it off, he was lucky to direct that thing towards the net, and I don’t know how it just picked the corner like it did, but I couldn’t believe it.
And THEN WHAT HAPPENS?!?! Well, it continues. Visnovsky tees up a shot in the lane and Anisimov tries to block it with his stick. Now I know I’ve blogged before about the Rangers and their shot blocking. It is a 100% lazy play to throw your stick at a puck to try and block it. Either get your body in front of it and get big, or get out of the way and let Lundqvist see the shot. He’s going to save 999/1000 shots he can see clearly from the blue line; that’s what all world goalies do.
Rangers go into the locker room trailing 3-1 after taking an early 1-0 lead.
The second period:
This period actually wasn’t that bad. A good road period, but not good within the circumstances. The Rangers held the Ducks scoreless but failed to connect on any of their opportunities to make it a 3-2 game.
Had the game been 2-1, or 1-1, this would’ve been a fantastic period by the Rangers, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be.
Third period and the back breaker:
The two goal swing play.
Early in the period Dubinsky had what appeared to be an open net to shoot into, however Dan Ellis decided to channel his inner Hasek and dive over in a last effort to get a piece of the puck, and what do you know? He makes potentially the save of the year. Ducks pick the puck up and go down the ice 2 on 1, Girardi does his best Del Zotto impression and flails himself at the puck carrier. Corey Perry must have been laughing when he watched Girardi slide passed the passing lane, dished it off to Bobby Ryan who finished it on a helpless Lundqvist and gave the Ducks a 4-1 lead and put the game away.
Here’s the most infuriating part of the game. NOW THAT THEY’RE DOWN 3 GOALS IN THE THIRD PERIOD the Rangers realize that they’re actually playing a hockey game, and decide to turn on the jets.
After the fourth Ducks goal I think that’s the most action we’ve seen Gaborik trying to generate around himself in what feels like forever. He looked like the gamebreaker he is (finally). But he needs to play like that all the time.
As for a whole game outlook…
Avery was putrid. Expect, as much as we may not want it, Christensen back into the lineup over Avery for Saturday night’s game.
Boyle played like garbage as well as his just awful turnover led to the Ducks 5th goal, but not before Dan Girardi decided to go sliding on the ice one more time. One of Girardi’s worst game as a Ranger last night. No way around it…there’s no way around the fact that Girardi and Staal have both been slumping for some time now. They’re going to need to figure this out so they can log minutes for the Rangers down the stretch. They need to be a shutdown pairing.
McDonagh and Sauer continue to impress and at this rate it won’t be long before they’re on the ice longer than Staal and Girardi are.
Even with all their hustle the Dubi – AA – Cally line combined for 3 points and a -10 last night. The beat writers are all over the fact that it’s been (something like) 16 years since a Ranger has scored a goal and been a -4 in a game. Cool guys, but tell me about the game maybe?
Did I mention that Boyle and Prust are fourth liners?
WW – Stepan – Zucc is a great line, but they’re going to be broken up today at Rangers practices as I forsee Tortorella experimenting with new lines.
What it boils down to with last night’s loss is that the Rangers missed a great opportunity to provide themselves with some cushion in the standings. To nearly eliminate the habit of scoreboard watching that is going on with their fans.
Now however we are subject to other teams will. Sabres and Hurricanes are both 2 points behind the Rangers with 3 and 2 games in hand respectively.
With 13 games to go, 74 points, and a 94 point plateau which seems to be the spot where a playoff berth is more than guaranteed, the Rangers seem to be writing their own fate.
It’s not so much a desperate reaction after losing one game, but it’s the way they lost. It was the effort, or lack thereof, that did the Rangers in last night. I just don’t understand how you can play so lackadaisical with the playoff distinctions that last night’s game could hand you. You come out firing, go up early, and then one bounce doesn’t go your way and the entire team implodes? Where’s the leadership?
It’s going to be an absolute grind to get themselves into the playoffs and with efforts like we witnessed last night it’s not going to happen, plain and simple.
Somebody in the locker room needs to take control. Everyone on this roster should know what missing the playoffs feels like, and nearly everyone on the roster was with the team last season when their playoff hopes vanished when Ollie Jokinen shot the puck into Boucher’s legs. You have to believe that they don’t want that feeling ever again.
I don’t want that feeling ever again.
I’m expecting a big line jumble out of Torts today, something like…
Prospal – Stepan – Gaborik
Dubinsky – Boyle – Callahan
Wolski – Anisimov – Zuccarello
Fedotenko – Christensen – Prust
Rangers practice at 4pm EST so check twitter for those updates.
Only 13 games left, 8 wins gives them 90 and a good shot, 10 clinches it beyond any doubt.
Coming home from this west coast trip empty handed will nothing short of guarantee the fact that the Rangers will not be in the top 8 when it comes time to drop the puck against the Islanders on Tuesday.
Saturday’s game is huge. Two points are necessary, but more important than the points…a statement is necessary. A 60 minute effort from this team to show the fans that they’re not going to back down is necessary, that they’re going to grind and give it all to get themselves into the top 8 when the season concludes.
Make a statement.
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Written by Adam Gavriel