I know, I know. I should be really scathing today. But you know what? My expectations for the Rangers are a bit lower these days. I looked at the matchup in Chicago before the game and thought, if they get a win out of there it would be a miracle, and if they got a point, that should be more than satisfactory.
Obviously, “how” they got the point was not satisfactory, however. Obviously, game circumstances change things. What would have been a good point before the game became a bad point lost afterward.
Chicago is just a lot better, and was dominant at home — as it usually is — and the Rangers were darn lucky to be up 1-0, then tied 1-1 in OT. Lucky that they have Henrik Lundqvist, who could not be blamed on either goal this time, and who was heroic at times. :
1) Said it before, say it again: Byfuglien = Monster.
2) Did you notice how a great team like Chicago throws pucks to the net? What was the stat? 75 shots attempted, blocked or on goal? And yet here were the Rangers trying to make cute passes (Drury in the final seconds of the second period). If you’re going to play puck possession, puck pressure, put it on net. Byfuglien had three shots on goal from the third line (Rangers leaders: Avery and Brashear with three each).
3) If guys like Drury and Callahan are going to play like third-liners, fine. But the other teams’ third-liners score goals. (See: Byfuglien).
4) Mike Keenan sometimes talks in circles, but in his own way he tells it like it is. While MSG was trying to sugar-coat the effort, Iron Mike was ripping the effort of everybody but the goaltender, especially for getting one puny shot on goal in the third period. And his alter ego, John Tortorella, concurred with his agitated post-game remarks. (ps, Iron Mike should not be asking Dave Maloney and Joe Michelletti questions about what the coach should do; it should be the other way around).
5) I personally didn’t think the effort was as big a problem as the execution, and once again, the lack of skill — or more exactly, the dramatic difference in the skill level of the two teams.
6) The tying goal was a disgrace, two Blackhawks down low on the power play against three Rangers (Boyle, Redden, Gilroy), all of them fishing for the puck with their sticks, none of them putting a body on a red-jersey. Could the situation have been more desperate? Yet three of them were playing shinny.
7) I thought the game really turned during and after a Blackhawks power play in the second, when Del Zotto and Rozsival couldn’t get off the ice, and then they took an icing and Tortorella had to use a timeout to rest them. Their next shift, the same pair had another long, pinned-in shift.
8) The penalties: That’s what happens when the opponent is bigger, faster, more skilled, and has the puck 90 percent of the game. Still, two of those calls, the stick-between-the-opponent’s legs calls, would not have been made if the Ranger decided to, you know, hit the guy instead of trying to stop him with a weak stick-check.