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Review: Panthers 2, Rangers 1 (shootout)

Posted By On February 14, 2009 @ 11:12 am In Uncategorized | 202 Comments

If only the players had the creativity, imagination and passion you guys have. That last thread was filled with some pretty clever stuff. Very funny in many cases.

Anyway, a look back at the latest Rangers loss, 2-1 in a shootout in Sunrise last night. It’s now six losses in seven games, a grand total of 10 goals in that span (we’re counting four vs. Washington), including four games of one goal or none.

Which leads to the first point in the reflections of last night’s game:

1) This team lacks skill. You can argue all you want about the system being stifling, or the coach making bad personnel decisions, or whatever. And I’m not necessarily disagreeing with you.

… But who is transporting the puck from the defensive zone to the offensive zone? Who? Gomez is capable of doing it, and in fact that’s one of his strengths when he’s playing well. Zherdev can do it. Callahan once in a while. That’s really all, and the transportation of the puck from defense to offense is a crucial element in any attack, whether the attack is passive or aggressive. It is a terribly under-appreciated facet of a good power play, and thus one of many reasons the Rangers’ power play stinks. And it truly does stink.

One PPG in eight games now, and counting.

Chris Drury is a finisher, a good faceoff guy and a decent defensive center. He can’t carry the puck the length of the ice. Dubinsky is everything you want in a young, still-developing player. He can’t carry the puck the length of the ice. Naslund isn’t a carrier of the puck. These are the top “offensive” players on the team, and they don’t transport the puck. Worse, there isn’t exactly Brian Leetch on the back end. Staal can lug it sometimes.

So that’s a big problem I see.

Then you look at the Rangers compared to the opponent. Florida’s forwards skate better (especially with Richard Zednik back from that horrfying injury), are more physical, and finish better. Florida’s defensemen have far more puck skills (and far more goals).

2) More of the same as above. The Rangers use Drury, Gomez, Naslund on the power play. That’s not exactly the ’85 Edmonton Oilers. It’s not even the ’07 or ’08 Rangers. Or McClanahan-Pavelich-Hedberg. Or Ogrodnick-Kisio-Mullen. Or Mallette-Nicholls-Gartner. You get the idea.

I don’t remember when the point men were so dismal.

3) That all said, also … I didn’t think last night’s game was boring. I didn’t think the Rangers played without heart or passion. I thought they were physical and pretty decent against a team on a roll and at home, and against a goalie that was almost as good as Lundqvist, who was spectacular.

This was the 14th time all year they led after one period,  thanks to the fourth line. And they battled, and they picked their spots in terms of chances to be aggressive. But, geez, who is going to score a goal? 

Did we mention the power play is rather fragrant? Oh.

4) I hate the shootout.

I may have mentioned that before. In the old days, after the OT, this would have been a “good” tie. On the road, against a hot opponent, you get on the plane after a 1-1 tie feeling pretty good. Instead, because of a skills competition, and a shot that caught a piece of Lundqvist and snuck through, it’s a loss. Another loss.

Yeah, they got a point. But they feel like they lost.

On Wednesday, at home, they played a hard passionate game against Washington, attacked hard, scored four goals, and won in a shootout. If they’d lost that skills competition — Callahan’s goal off the crossbar and off the goalie won it — they’d have felt awful. Instead they felt as if they’d removed an ape from their backs. Because of a skills competition. It’s silly and stupid.

5) Some of the MSG Network voices are starting to get a little brave in questioning Redden and the Prucha situation, aren’t they? The next two games will be on NBC (vs.Philly tomorrow, 12:30) and Versus (Monday against JD’s Blues in St. Louis). It will be interesting to hear what non-payroll people have to say.

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