Last night’s 3-0 loss in Raleigh was a good example of what I was talking about yesterday. Sometimes the goals scored or allowed don’t add up to the quality of play,or lack thereof.
I thought the Rangers were better in Carolina than they were at home against Boston Sunday. They seemed to tire at the end—and that is going to happen in back-to-backs when you play at that pace and with such ferocity. So the conditioning aspect is a factor … not that they’re out of shape, but that you have to be in much better condition to play this style on consecutive nights.
They made a few glaring mistakes, especially Sean Avery’s two selfish penalties and the defense pair of Michal Rozsival and Wade Redden, which reverted to January form.
But overall, I thought their play in all three zones was better than it was against the Bruins. Unfortuntately, Cam Ward was also somewhat better than that picket fence the Bruins used in goal.
So now they are in ninth, and that will get their, and your, attention. Eighth place to fourth place doesn’t matter. Ninth does.
1) Valiquette was very good, especially on the initial save on the first goal rebound that the defense (Rozsical and Redden and Chris Drury) left sitting there for half an hour, and on Eric Staal’s breakaway in the second after Avery’s penalty.
2) I think one of the most promising aspects of this new game heading into the (maybe) playoffs is the physical style the Rangers now play. They hit, hit, hit—led by Ryan Callahan of course—and never let up. I don’t remember the last Rangers team that was this physical.
3) Through two periods, I thought this might be the Rangers best game under Tortorella.
4) Three or four times a Ranger, with the pucks below the hash marks, passed instead of shooting. And that’s how Cam Ward gets a shutout.
5) Versus was, as usual, impossible to watch. No replays. Constantly covering the screen with promos. Closeups of somebody away from the play while something significant is happening around the puck, or after a whistle. You have no idea who is lining up for a faceoff until after the puck drops and Versus decides to put the camera back on the, you know, ice.
6) I love that Verizon commercial where the hockey fan from Philly and the hockey fan from New York get on an elevator together.
7) How about Tortorella pulling his goalie with 2:33 left?
8) I wonder how many games one of these bubble teams is going to have to win down the stretch to get into the tournament.