Too much turkey- Rangers look slow, lose big

November 27, 2009

Not the return to Tampa Coach Tortorella envisioned

The Rangers traveled to the St. Pete Times Forum on Saturday night to play the Tampa Bay Lightning where the Lightning have played exceptionally well this year holding a record of 5-1-4.  If we break this down, this means that when the Lightning play at home, in 90 percent of their games, they have emerged with at least one point.   In order for the Rangers to win tonight it was obvious they needed to  play at an extremely high level for the entire game.

The Rangers have not won consecutive games in a month after their 8-1-0 start, but after Friday night’s performance it’s not such a ludicrous statistic because the Rangers looked dreadful, losing in embarrassing fashion to a score of 5-1 .

The Rangers hoped to continue their dominance over Tampa  after taking all four games from them last year in addition to having won 7 of their last 9 against Tampa and winning 3 of 4 at the St. Pete Times Forum.

However, the effort put forth by the Rangers can be summed up quite simply as atrocious.

The lightning grabbed a 1-0 early lead off a faceoff in their own zone  as the Rangers unsuccessfully tried to clear the puck, and off the Tampa fore check, Martin St.  Louis made a nice quick pass to Steven Stamcos who tapped the puck through Lundqvist giving him points in Tampa’s last 8 games.

During the first period, Ranger defenseman Michael Del Zotto made a clean hit on an unsuspecting Lecavalier hoping to set the tone.  Incensed by the hit, Levcavalier came back and retaliated with an elbow which was called for a penalty giving the Rangers a man advantage.  Seeing this occur, Sean Avery came to Del Zotto’s  defense and the two exchanged blows showing the comradeship that is needed as the foundation of any good team.

Shortly after, St Louis had a breakaway that was read beautifully by Lundqvist.  Quickly, the Rangers moved the puck down ice and Ryan Callahan had a chance to tie but was denied.  This was the last time the Rangers had a real legitimate shot at scoring against the on point goaltending by Mike Smith.

The game was full of high quality scoring chances by Tampa Bay.  Lundqvist had to make five saves in once stance at one point.  The Lightning were relentless though and eventually scored off a nice quick one timer past Lundqvist to give Tampa a 2-0 lead going into the second intermission.

Before you knew it, the Lightning were able to score again after the Rangers were called for a penalty and then allowed St. Louis to skate into the zone and put a little dinky pass in front of the net for an easy tap in by Steve Downie.

The Rangers looked a step behind the whole night as their lack of speed was exposed by the quicker Lightning who did not let up.  The 3-0 lead felt like a 5-0 lead because the Rangers offense was nonexistent as they failed to control the puck to even have a chance to score.

At 12:25 the score was on it’s way to 5-0 as they put in another goal after a slap shot from the point caused a rebound off the hoping Lundqvist which was put in by Paul Szczechura.  After this goal Lundqvist was replaced by Steve Valiquette after the Lightning scored four goals on 22 shots on Lundqvist who did not have an answer for the aggressive Tampa Bay offense.

The Blueshirts looked slow and flat and showed no signs of a comeback.    At the end of two periods, the Rangers would decide if they would pack in, or leave with a little respect knowing they  made them work a little bit and didn’t just hand Tampa bay two points.

The Lightning added another goal, and soon after a hit from Boyle, a fight ensued that seemed to be the culmination of frustration from the Rangers who were just bad tonight.

Finally after 57 minutes of play, Ryan Callahan broke up the shutout giving the Rangers their first goal of the night.  This was about the only positive as Callahan has not scored in the Rangers last 8 games.  Hopefully this will get him going in the upcoming games against Pitt.

The Rangers have a home and home against the Penguins which is always entertaining because of Malkin and Crosby.  Pittsburgh has been playing some good hockey, and with the talent that team has, it would be nice to just be able to split the two games.  We shall see.

Next Game:

(13-11-1, 27 pts)
@                      Saturday 7:30 pmPenguins  
(17-8-0, 34 pts)

Free Pick for Monday Night: Pats +3

One comment

  1. **thanks to illwill for the editing…adioooo mioo

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