Drawing on my other supposed area of expertise, I’ll give you a golf analogy to explain what may have happened to the Rangers last night against the Canadiens:
There are times, be it in tournament play or even in a recreational round, when a player will go on a particularly good roll. Maybe he’ll be 4-under through 9 holes and leading a tournament. Maybe he’s an unspectacular chop like me and he detects a chance to post something in the low 80s. Whatever the case, that player invariably confronts something that is called venturing “outside his comfort zone.” What it means is that as good as things seem to be going at the time, that player may subconsciously be wondering how long it can really last.
Maybe the Rangers were tired last night, no one more so than Henrik Lundqvist. Maybe there are some deep-rooted flaws in their game that came back to surface against a team desperately trying to save its season.
I won’t discount either of those possibilities. But I also think this was a team that was playing at a level (10-1-3) it had not approached all year; and that maybe they thought they had to lose at some point.
Again, this is all speculation on my part. But that was the impression I got watching that second period.