Home, not so sweet home-Rangers drop 3 in a row at the GardenNovember 22, 2009
The Rangers entered last nights game against the Florida Panthers with a 4-8-1 record in their last 13 games. With Florida playing 3 games in 4 nights, one would think that this is the perfect time to rout the ship, but the truth of the matter is that the Rangers just are not very good.
From the drop of the puck, the first 10 minutes belonged to the Panthers as the Rangers were getting out skated and outplayed from the get go. Truthfully, they looked like a team who had a few days between games because they were a step behind the quicker and younger Panther squad.
The puzzling thing about early last night is that the Rangers did not execute their game plan. All week the coach and team preached about offense and helping Gaborik. This obviously starts with shots with the hope for rebounds and the Rangers simply did not have a great deal of shots early.
After the first period the Rangers tallied 5 shots on goal. A reason for this was the fact that the game was back and forth through first 8 minutes as there was no neutral zone it seemed. The pace was quick as long two-line passes seemed to be the way both teams wanted to get up and down the ice.
It it wasn’t for Lundqvist’s big saves on the power play, the score would have heavily favored Florida. Save after save, Henrik kept New York in the game. One save even began a Ranger brake as Vinny Prospal delayed to stay onside and took a wrist-shot that trickled by Florida’s goalie and gave the Rangers an undeserving lead as they were getting out played for the entire period.
The Panthers were quick to retaliate as very calmly, Florida came into the zone, and as slow as humanly possible, number 27 Steve Reinprecht cruised in front and put in a slow but perfectly placed backhander at around the middle of second period. This was due to a failure to clear the puck when needed the entire night.
A short time after, Florida dumps the puck and somehow finds it’s way through a few players and the unsuspecting Lundqvist giving Florida a 2-1. “I just lost it,” Lundqvist said. “Guys were waving their sticks, and it just bounced in front of me.”
Later in the period, Florida’s Nathan Horton scored on a 2 on 1 after Gaborik miss played a puck that led to the breakaway goal. Gaborik redeems himself with his 16th goal short after from Rosival and Prospal giving Prospal a goal and an assist for the game who seems to be the only Ranger other than Gaborik who comes to play every night. After the goal, the Garden for the first time got in the game, but it was too late as the Rangers just did not have it last night.
The Rangers cannot have success unless someone decides that they too want to be a part of the offense. Marian Gaborik has 24 percent of all Ranger goals. In a season so long and grueling as an NHL season, it seems that management must make a move for another forward to help out Gaborik or his skills will not be used to their potential and he will be the one man show he was in Minnesota because one guy cannot do it all.
If there is one positive to take from last night’s game is that the Rangers never gave up. With a 3-2 deficit, Lundqvist was pulled with 1:32 left giving the Rangers numerous chances with the one man advantage but were ultimately denied .
Florida wins 3-2 and improves to 5-0-1 in their last 6 and the Rangers now have lost 4 of their last five and fall to 6-5 at the Garden. I think the biggest question is who exactly are the Rangers? Whoever they are, they better figure it out.
The Rangers have a lot of hockey coming up but they are slipping quickly and now are at the bottom of the division holding a share of last place with the Islanders.
Although times are tough the New York Rangers are led by a man who will not quit on his players. Coach Tortorella was quoted after the game in a very calm manner saying, “You stay with it. You just keep trying to battle through this. I wish I could tell you how to get out of it. The only way I know is for the team to stay together. We have to have a little bit of resiliency. It is a miserable time, but you have to come to work and fight your way through.”
The Rangers next game :
NY Rangers (11-10-1)
Free Pick for Sunday November 22nd 2009: Colts (-1 ½) (I at +1 ½ when it opened…Muhaha)