A familiar trend in hockey goes something like this:
Team wins a few games in a row. Team wins the last game of streak in less-than-convincing fashion. Team begins a losing streak.
The Rangers are not there yet since one loss on Wednesday does not constitute a slump. But if you think of the way this team played in a shootout win over the Senators on Monday, then you can understand why this trend could become a reality.
Today we’ll know. I expect a better start, and I expect the Rangers to pay greater attention to detail without Henrik Lundqvist in net. Beyond that, I make no promises.
Update, 2:30 p.m.: It doesn’t sound like Scott Gomez has made the progress needed to return by Monday. Or at least “that’s the way Tom Renney is framing it.”:thttp://njmg.typepad.com/rangersblog/2008/11/dont-count-on-monday-yet.html. Stay tuned…
Update, 4:40 p.m.: So there is something to that trend after all. Hello, losing streak. The Rangers look utterly adrift through two periods, with no sustained forecheck, no sense of urgency, and seemingly no confidence.
There’s no question that Jarkko Ruutu interfered with Stephen Valiquette on that third Ottawa goal. There’s also no question could be losing this game worse than 3-0 regardless.
Meanwhile, Scott Gomez isn’t a savior. But the Rangers clearly miss him.