Rangers took the ice 3 nights after that debacle in Montreal and my expectations for this game were high. Our sexy boys, minus Marc Staal, were healthier than they’ve been all year. The king surely worked with Ben Wah to correct whatever it was that was ailing him and Ranger fans everywhere were hoping for a strong effort. Well, so much for that. I blame this loss entirely on the Rangers’ offense. If your goalie and defense can hold a team to a measly seven goals, your forwards need to be able to score a minimum of eight. This isn’t rocket science. Unless of course, your talking about Apollo 1 or Apollo 13. Onto the game:
1. Rangers jumped out of the gate. Scoring a goal in the first minute was definitely a sea change. Far too often lately, it’s been the opposition scoring on their first shot. Seems the Stars suffer the same malady. Nice play by THE, Zucc, and Stepan. Niemmi expected Stepan to continue around the net to his left but Stepan instead faked him out by coming back around to Niemmi’s right and tucked it in to an uncovered net. Rangers lead 1-0.
2. That was the highlight of the first period. That is if you forgive THE Kreider for bowling over Niemmi allowing Catcher to score into a wide open net. Bad on THE, but it’s hard to blame him. He was barrelling down the he crease slightly behind Zucc and Stepan and with Niemmi off to the left of his net. THE went full on Corey Price but how was he supposed to stop? Goal disallowed. Two minutes for goalie interference.
3. The King is dead. Long live the king! If I busted out my old Bauer Supremes, I’m pretty sure I could score on a breakaway beating Hank. Probably beat him with my wrist shot too. My 45 mph slapper? It’d beat Hank glove side, stick side, five-hole, name your side, every side. Hank has no confidence. None. It’s painful to watch. Sad really. This is like Wilkie Mays, as a Met, falling down in the batters’ box. Your heart goes out to him. He’s done so much for this franchise but he’s in a 10 foot rut right now. Ben Wah has his work cut out for him.
4. I’d start the kid next game. Raanta won’t be back for awhile. Let the kid play. Hank needs to practice and figure out what the holy heck is going on.
5. As bad as Hank was, his defensemen share in the glory. As a group, the three pairs were awful. Each one worse than the other. McD? Yuck! Girardi? Double yuck! Shay? He’s been bad the whole season. Ein Klein? Take my eyes but not Ein Klein. Gerund? Maybe the best of the 6 tonight which isn’t saying much! The Catcher? Good lord. While Holden is in the talks for Norris, he didn’t do himself any favors tonight. Did you his play on the Stars’ second goal? Clean whiff. Poor attempt to retrieve his swing and miss. Even poorer effort getting back to cover Patrick Sharp cutting to the goal. Holden misplayed the pass, didn’t take the body, gave Hank no protection.
6. When your goals e can’t stop a floating beach ball, it’s encumbent on his three pairs to provide some help. Any help. Out of position, lack of hustle, brain dead playing. Something has to give. It can’t go on like this. And Not to sound like a broken record, but can anyone explain to me how exactly The Wrath couldn’t crack these 6? Oh Please! The Wrath was treated unfairly. The other D do so much wrong every game going back months.
7. Good news? Zman is back. Buch is back. The Rangers might need to win games 19-18 going forward. So be it. Is the season lost? No! Will they make the playoffs? Yes. Will they be gone in the first round? I wouldn’t bet on them.
8. The third period was exciting. They didn’t throw in the towel, so there’s that. But AV and his team really need to take a long look in the mirror. They are failing themselves and they’re failing each other.
That’s all I got. Discuss.