Thoughts as we approach the crack of noon:
1) I know this is the repetitive theme of the season, but this is how it’s going to be. This Rangers team will play hard, will compete physically and with passion all night, not give up, rarely be out of a game. But it also will not win every night because other teams have more skill. Not saying that Boston outclassed the Rangers, not at all. Just saying, the Rangers aren’t yet elite where they’re going to win whenever they play well enough to win. Plus, it’s hockey. Sometimes one goalie plays better than the other. Sometimes a deflected shot goes in on one end, and doesn’t go in on the other.
2) So, as you can see, I agree with John Tortorella and the players who thought last night they sure did a lot of very good things, especially defensively in limiting Boston’s chances. That said, there were a couple of ugly mistakes/turnovers turned into goals, and then there was the gift by Lundqvist.
3) Lundqvist is not perfect, and in a few games this season he’s given up a softie. But overall he’s been pretty darn good, and was again last night except for the Recchi goal. Today, by the way, the King was on Martha Stewart. She was teaching him how to bake something. He taught her how to bash a goalie stick over the crossbar then repair it with blue hockey tape. Seriously, Lundqvist made the appearance in another Garden of Dreams effort.
4) Boy, that Garden of Dreams does some great stuff for kids, and does it all the time.
5) I thought it was a good move by Tortorella to go easy on Matt Gilroy after his blue-line whiff. That was a very difficult play for a righty shot on the left point. The coach was right. In a case like that, Gilroy should have recognized the danger of the bouncing puck and just stopped it with a skate or a leg or whatever, and not waved at it. The play looked a lot worse than it was.
6) Marian Gaborik was an absolute stud in this game, from the first shift when he stole the puck and created the wasted Christensen chance, through his goal, and through several late third-period chances and the 5-on-3.
7) The coach talks about Michal Rozsival as if it’s an automatic that he goes right back into the lineup when he’s ready, and I am not surprised by that. And Rozsival is better this year than last. But the six young guys who have been handling the D-duty have been just fine without him, haven’t they? And a little bit nasty, too.
8) Derek Stepan is making progress, too, and he really looked good between Frolov and Gaborik late in the game, as he did during camp.
9) So it looks like, if a Ranger gets whacked in the head/face with a stick (Avery, Dubinsky) it’s a penalty. Otherwise, they get no power plays. I am actually scaring myself that I’m starting to see your consipiracy theories. Yikes.
10) If I was a hockey player and my name was Wheeler, I’d wear No. 18.
AP Photo above.