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Shocker. Rangers get shut out, bunch of you break your ankles jumping off the bandwagon; many demanding a scorer be added (and some demanding the coach be fired … for real).
Think about it, though. The Rangers have really squeaked out a lot of wins lately — the goal with 0.1 left in Phoenix; the comeback and the late penalty shot-stop in the Winter Classic; the OT win over the Panthers last week; the shootout win against the Coyotes Tuesday. In those games they barely scored enough. Last night, it’s 1-0, and they didn’t score enough. Or at all. That it ended up 3-0, I think, is meaningless. And four of their 10 regulation losses have now come via shutout.
Still, best mid-season records in 40 years. So it really is ridiculous to complain. Beyond ridiculous.
1) Granted, the Rangers could sure use a top-six forward — preferably a first-line scoring winger. But you’re not getting a first-line scoring winger (scoring winger meaning somebody capable of scoring more than 25 or 30 playing with Marian Gaborik) without giving up a ton of talent/prospects/picks. And then you have to fit him under the cap (and do you really want to squeeze somebody in when J.P. Parise’s kid might be available July 1?) And then there’s this: Most of those good-hands legit scorers aren’t meant to play the way the Rangers play; don’t have the jam. So he’d better do some serious scoring. Or it’s going to be a big problem. I don’t see it happening.
2) Not jumping from one thought to another, because I don’t think Wojtek Wolski is the answer to any of the questions. And I’m not judging him based on one game, where he had to jump aboard a speeding train. Let’s see what he can be, if he gets the opportunity. Maybe he fits on one of the third or fourth lines ultimately. Maybe he doesn’t. But he’d better compete, or he’ll be playing with Avery, Christensen and Redden.
3) Funny how much they missed Brandon Dubinsky in a game like this. Not that they would have won, or even scored. But you didn’t get the waves of forecheck, and part of that was Dubinsky not being there.
4) The PP stunk early again, the Rangers committed at least four icings in the first period, and still dominated that period. Craig Anderson did his Mike Smith impression.
5) The PP has now failed to score a goal in seven of the last eight games, and 11 of 14. And they’ve survived without it. But, boy, would it help to even have a mediocre PP.
6) Henrik Lundqvist lost a seven-game winning streak. He deserved better.
7) Agreed with John Tortorella that the first two lines didn’t do much (trying to remember, did he use the word “squat?” … I think he did). And that Artem Anisimov hasn’t done anything of note lately (it was his turnover that led to the first goal). And that Brian Boyle’s line and John Mitchell’s line were pretty good (and that Boyle sure got unlucky when his shot hit the shaft of Spezza’s stick, even while Spezza wasn’t looking or trying to block it).
8) There’s a buzz in the building any time Carl Hagelin skates with the puck, or even more so when he chases it. Pretty cool. Kid’s been good.
9) The Rangers have to be the only team that plays in the Winter Classic and then plays on worse ice when it goes back indoors.
10) Took a tour of the concourse before the game. Lot of the new food places are open now. Expensive, but they look pretty decent. I’ll have to branch out from the chicken and fries.
11) I joked that this was the Battle of the All-Stars, Ottawa having four ballot-stuffed stars voted in, the Rangers having three players and the coach get there the hard way, by earning it. But that Ottawa team’s got a lot of talent. The Turris kid was outstanding, start to finish.
12) Did you see that the Danbury Whalers signed Don Maloney Jr.?
13) Marc Staal is getting there. It might take a little while, but he’s starting to look like himself again.
14) Anybody got a count on how many times Brandon Prust has fought Zenon Konopka? Gotta be about a dozen, right?
My Three Rangers Stars:
1) Brian Boyle.
2) Carl Hagelin.
3) Brandon Prust.
AP photos, above.