John Tortorella was not happy after this one, and who could blame him?
Because while the effort wasn’t good enough, as he put it, for Game 77, neither was the concentration.
I mean, there’s a kid goalie thrown in under emergency circumstances, and yet the Rangers insisted on passing up chances to shoot, waiting to shoot, failing to shoot, or passing instead of shooting. Or missing the net? Again and again. And again. Not that they had that many chances. I thought Brandon Dubinsky had the two best, and one hit the post, the other the shaft of a Buffalo D-man’s stick.
1) A lot of you want to run Marian Gaborik out of town, and I know that he needs bottom line: goals, rather than chances. But he did create chances. Lots of them. I thought he was pretty darn good in this game.
2) The Rangers, right down the line—as I said in the third paragraph—weren’t good with the puck and while it’s always hard to criticize this one guy, Ryan Callahan really struggled with the puck all night. Really. And two other normally reliables—Brandon Prust and Ruslan Fedotenko—had a tough night, too.
3) I thought Prust got hurt on the PK when he lost his stick just before the Brian Boyle turnover and the Dan Girardi deflection turned into the Connolly PPG and the only goal of the game. He missed a bunch of shifts. But it’s just pain.
4) I don’t want to blame Dan Girardi for the goal. And I’m not. But when you put your stick out like that—straight out at the shooter—and the puck hits it, it’s going to go up most of the time. And with a goalie who plays on his knees as much as Henrik Lundqvist does, that’s a dangerous proposition. It’s not something you can think about in that situation, but sometimes you’d probably be better off having the goalie stop the shot cleanly. Great shot by Connolly made better by the deflection.
(*Correction: After the game, Lundqvist said the shot did not deflect, and called it “a bomb.”)
5) The officials made the correct call on the disallowed goal by Artem Anisimov. Sorry.
6) Imagine if that puck Lundqvist took off the kneecap really had done damage? Then what?
7) The Rangers’ effort was questionable, certainly not their best of the season, not their worst, either, but not good enough. And the hitting they did do, I thought, wasn’t as hard or ferocious as usual. Maybe that has to do with Callahan being so dinged up, and Prust being ready for a body cast. Maybe.
8) MSG kept updating us on Knicks-Nets and Islanders-Devils, and not Carolina-Montreal. I don’t get that. People who care about Knicks-Nets were watching that. People who care about Islanders-Devils were watching that. And people who care about both were switching over to the other game between periods when we were getting the highlights. But a huge majority of people watching Rangers-Baby Buffaloes care most, or only, about Carolina-Montreal.
9) Today is baseball season, and I find it terribly disappointing, and shockingly telling about the state of the game, that hockey didn’t spend even five seconds of baseball’s off-season in the spotlight. Well, except maybe for the Winter Classic. Used to be that hockey would get back pages in the city during the time between the Super Bowl and Opening Day. Not this year. Not anymore.
10) Probably the best news for the Rangers as they crank it up again tonight against the Islanders, in a game worth two points as valuable as the two they lost last night, is that most of the time this season when they played less than stellar, they rebounded very strongly the next time out. See Anaheim-San Jose. See Ottawa-Boston.
11) Did Christensen or Wolski contribute even one single positive thing to this game? So I think Sean Avery stays in—and deserves it. And, paging Mats Zuccarello.
AP photo of an unknown goalie who shut out your boys, above.
I’m trekking out to Nassau Mausoleum this afternoon. God help me.