Rangers-Penguins in review

237

 

Thoughts:

1) That is the best team in the East, no doubt at all, with the best skill, a goalie who can get hot and stay hot, and a team that can play it rough and nasty, or any which way, and on an absolute roll. And Kris Letang is back. And that other guy, too.

2) But … I still think, in a best of seven, if the Rangers play the way they played most of this season, and if they have Henrik Lundqvist in goal and Ryan Callahan in his “C” jersey and are relatively healthy otherwise, there’s no way they get completely rubbed out by the Penguins. I still think they can beat any team in the East … and pretty much any team in the East could beat them, if that team is willing to grind and battle with them.

3) And that all said, the Rangers had more mess-ups in this game than in any game in a long time … allowed five goals for the first time (other than a shootout loss to Ottawa, in which the fifth goal is “awarded” after the breakaway contest) all season …

4) They sure could have used a big save, and I’m not pinning anything at all on Martin Biron. But he didn’t steal anything.

5) Interesting that John Tortorella said his D-men (the back end) struggled — and they did — and that he called out the Boyle-Prust line for allowing too many goals lately. If they’re not going to score, he said, they can’t allow so many. Those are pretty honest and accurate assessments.

6) You have to love the sticking together and all of that, but after Evgeni Malkin got knocked on his can by Boyle, then went after Boyle’s knees, Prust can’t retalliate after the whistle. And that said, Malkin has this habit of when he gets hit, his stick “accidentally” comes down like an axe on the opponent. It did there, and he got away with it.

7) The only call or non-call I really had an issue with was the trip on Gaborik on the near breakaway. I don’t think it was a penalty shot, and I don’t think it was intentional, but he got tripped when he would have had a breakaway. Not that the Rangers power play would have made a difference. You never know, though. Also, Brooks Orpik got three healthy cross-checks and a slash on Gaborik, and no call, on the Hagelin goal.

8) Sidney Crosby. I just wanted to say that since everybody else in North America thought that this game was about him for some reason. It wasn’t. If he didn’t play, it still would have been 5-2.

Here’s some Skid audio, courtesy of the Penguins. Crosby.

9) Wonder how serious Artem Anisimov’s hand/arm injury is. We probably won’t know unless it’s long-term. But the Rangers sure are getting banged up now without Callahan and Del Zotto, and with Boyle a walking bundle of injuries.

10) Dan Girardi was the best Rangers defenseman in this game, by a lot. Stu Bickel was second best. By a lot. The rest? Yeeesh.

11) Seven straight goals, and nine in the last three games, for the Carl Hagelin-Brad Richards-Marian Gaborik line. Gaborik missed a check on one of the goals, but was pretty damn good and got No. 35. Tortorella’s right. They need somebody else to kick one in once in a while. Maybe when Callahan gets back.

12) Geno Malkin=Beast. Malkinsanity?

***********************************************
My Three Rangers Stars:
1) Carl Hagelin.
2) Brad Richards
3) Marian Gaborik.
***********************************************

AP photos, above.

A few of things: A lot of you volunteered and I didn’t answer all of youse, so I apologize. I assigned “Three Stars” through last night’s game (and last night’s guy must have forgotten). So if anybody is interested in doing “Three Stars” for any of the final 12 games, please e-mail me at rcarpini@lohud.com and I’ll assign you a game.

Also, is anybody interested in doing a review of Saturday’s game against the Avalanche? Looking for somebody on short notice … and somebody who’s not going to be drinking green beer all day. If you want to do it, again, e-mail me at rcarpini@lohud.com. Thanks. — The Mgmt.

Finally, Krisy and the Norwegians, thank you for the Melkehjerter!!!!! You rule!

 

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237 Comments

  1. Worst night of the year. 5 goals given up. Sid Cam. and those 2 jackwagons calling the game from Pitt on NBCSN….I wanted to throw up.
    They start to say something positive about a Ranger and that lasts all of 2 seconds. They cant finish a thought or comment about a player from any other team…unless its a negative one.
    Sid or no Sid, Pens are the team to beat in the East.
    I feel ill this morning because I hate the Pens, I hate all things Lemieux. I hope 100 seagulls crap all over his stupid statue.

  2. Glad I’m not the only one who noticed Malkin going after Boyle’s knees. Guy is filthy. MSG guys don’t have the onions to say it.

  3. As soon as I saw Biron in the nets, I knew it was a goner.

    That third goal by the way went between his legs,
    don’t be fooled by the fact that he was sprawled on his belly, he still had his legs spread in the old gunfighter’s
    stance. ( someone get him a job in Tombstone Arizona
    eh?)

    And will someone tell him to stop wandering from the net to play the puck…he doesn’t get back nearly fast enough. And yeah…the Pens get away with an awful lot that doesn’t get picked up by the refs…it’s so obvious that even Bettman would be able to notice it…if he cared….which he probably doesn.t

  4. An awful effort by a team trying to set the tone of an important game in your building in front of a raucous crowd, as it sounded on tv.
    Maybe this is a little too harsh, but I thought the Rangers looked like they were sleep walking for large portions of the game. What epitomizes this IMO was McDonaugh’s turnover along the boards with support from the 6’7 Boyle. I bring up his height, because this guy does not take full advantage of his size – it’s a damn shame. He was right there to clean up McDonaugh’s mistake, and looked feeble in doing so.
    I’m tired already of hearing about this great, new wonderful line. Yes, they’ve been really good for 3 games, but we all know you need at least 2 scoring lines, and until the Rangers find some other scoring, teams are gong to watch film, and focus on shutting down their one big line.
    For those who complain about MDZ, he’s their best offensive D and they need him back badly in addition to Callahan of course.
    I hope Artie’s injury is not too bad, crossing my fingers.
    I’m goin to stay positive and predict 3-0-1 the rest of the home stand.

  5. Carp – Agree with most of the assessment. I have to say that the D was pretty bad last night – Staal in particular is still doing his best field hockey work from time to time – you gotta put bodies on bodies and show more snarl than they have in the past three games. As far as the Bickel ‘goal’ that is gonna happen at times – Bufglien bounce back! (my best Bruce Budreau)

    But what I did notice more recently was that the D – and I mean most of them – seem to be a bit more anxious lately – they sort of panic instead of going about their business as usual. You could clearly see that the Pens were going open up the ice, use their speed, and use all three lanes of the Neutral zone. That said – you have to begin to make some adjustments there and prevent that – Girardi was right – they blew right thru their trap.

    And Torts is dead on – you need more secondary scoring – and they better at least not allow goals – that has to change.

    This is not the best team in the East – the Rangers are. They have to believe that – and if they do – this team, as others in the East, will be a good match, but not in-surmountable, in the Playoffs.

  6. Need the Captain.
    Wish the boys would’ve ended the game with some piss and vinegar, started some after whistle stuff and go into the next meeting with an attitude like they do with Philly . They layed down and took it in the keaster.
    Some one needs to plant a stick in Geno’s backside.

  7. Ugliest game of the year, no doubt. But did we have to listen to Sam Rosen do everything but get on his knees in front of crosby? It’s all he talked about the whole game as if hotdog lips was playing solo. Worst effort of the season on his part as well as the blueshirts.

  8. Bickel being the 2nd best D out there isn’t saying much. He had a horrible night too.

    It took 70 games for Torts to call out the Boyle-Prust line for not scoring?

    Bad coaching effort overall. The goals hurt but Tortorella played to Pittsburgh’s game, not the Rangers.

  9. Garborik was tripped or interfered with…horrible non-call. It should have been a penalty that negated Pitt powerplay. They scored 4th goal shortly thereafter. Rangers had been gaining some momentum up to that point. Pitt is a great team but it doesn’t help when you have to also contend with the clowns in stripes

  10. Hey CCCP thanks for the pint of Guinness last night. Best point of the night by far.

  11. Really, it was a terrible two periods, because I thought in the first, they played pretty well, and actually for the second half of the 2nd as well. But they just have too many lapses. And I’ll say it again, the defense looks tired. They just don’t take the body anymore and try and stick check WAY too often. Heck, it doesn’t even look like they are diving at the puck anymore. I don’t know what game you saw Bickel play, but I thought he was average to terrible most of the game. The smart passes he was making for a few games were turnovers this game, and he seemed lost in the speed of the Pens and was always chasing. McD might have played his worst game in awhile, but, he looks like the minutes are getting to him. They need MDZ and Cally back. MDZ is the only D who can rush the puck with any intensity. The Pens just forced the issue on the forward and since the forwards were lugging the puck up the ice, they laid back and then outmanned the Ranges in their zone. I didn’t think Biron was terrible and 2 of the goals were rather fluky, but you’re right, he didn’t make any big saves when it counted. I’m not sure they would have won with Hank in that game though. I’ve been saying since the last time we played Pitt that they were going to the finals, and that I just feel the Rangers are a year away. And I still feel that. They need one more pure scorer and a BIG defenseman who can clear the net in front of our goalies. Then, they will be complete, and can go for it.

    That said, I agree, they can beat anyone…but maybe a healthy Pittsburgh.

  12. Is Keider definitely coming out? I thought he had one more year of eligibility? Plus I don’t want to put that kind of pressure on a kid. I’m almost thinking it would be better, if he comes out, to let him come into camp next year, and win a job, rather than force him into the lineup now.

    If AA is out, do they move Zuc up to the line with Duby and Stepan if Cally isn’t ready? As much as I like Michell, the guy can’t shoot, so he much better suited to 4th line duty.

  13. Defense was tired because the Rangers offense didn’t have the puck enough. Even the Richards/Gaborik/Hagelin line creates more of their offense off the rush than dominating cycling shifts. Pens have 3 lines that can control the puck for sustained stretches and are tenacious about getting it back if the defense does get possession. Rangers D was pressured into giving up the puck a lot last night.

  14. MZA wasn’t exactly overmatched last night but for a little guy he’s not terribly fast or quick so he’s not the toughest guy to stop if you can get body position on him and he’s not going to win many puck battles agaisnt better skaters. It probably doesn’t help that he was playing with the offensive slugs last night though.

  15. Like in a 7 game series, you put this game in the garbage, forget about it and get ready for the next game!!!! Oh, and Hank stops that 4th goal!!! That iced the game for Pitt. Sorry Marty but you can’t let Kunitz beat you over your shoulder from the face-off dot!!!

  16. whats more disheartning this morning is you realize long term the rangers cant beat the pens in a series. not enough skill. our best bet come playoff time is have someone else pick off the pens. because i know we cant.

    for those giant fans the niners beat the saints not allowing the giants a trip to new orleans in playoffs a game they prob would have lost.

    for the rangers i feel the same. this matchup vs the pens is a nightmare. hopefully the rest of the east could help us out

  17. Stranger Nation on

    A little ‘kill the messenger’, but Sam and Joe are absolutely un bearable to listen to. It has got progressively worse. Driving to hockey game listening to Dave M, who calls it right. They played a very good team on a roll without their best player, their Capt., and their most productive offensive defenseman.

    I am surprised Prust didn’t go after Neal. That guy is worse than Lucic with his after the whistle BS. Really needed Rupp to pound Asham or something. Wouldn’t have changed the outcome, but would have made result more bearable. A pound of flesh…

    Boyle’s hit on Malkinstein will be in the highlight reels for years.

    Did Dubi play last night? Didn’t notice him out there…Prust saying.

  18. czechthemout!!!! on

    Carp

    I agree with most of your review accept that Bickel and Girardi were just as awful as the rest of the dmen. It’s about time Torts called out Boyle’ s line.

  19. Stanger Nation on

    Torts calling out second line, not the checking line – where the F is Dubi? Guy is AWOL all bleeding year and now we are worried about Feds scoring more? Dubi has basically gotten a free pass all year. Hope his girlfriend like guys who can’t score more than 10 goals. Enough with his D and skating prowess – he just sucks this year.

    Another reason to split up B Rich and Gabby is on display – we obviously do not have enough top line
    offensive talent so it is feast or famine with all our talent on one line till Capt Cally comes back and can hopefully mesh with Step.

  20. I posted before the game that it had the feel of a disaster in the making and it was indeed!

    Injuries can’t be used as an excuse, but come on, we were without our MOST important player in Lundqvist and two key guys in Cally and MDZ.

    That being said, we have no one that is even close to Malkin or Crosby. I wish that between 1997 and the lockout that we would have finished last in the league as opposed to fighting for a worthless playoff spot. We were NEVER in a postion to draft guys of that caliber.

    It is crucial to hang on to that #1 seed.. If we can make it to the conference finals and have a good showing and we lose, this season will be a tremendous success in my opinion.

    In the off season, it is KEY to add a guy like Parise or trade for Nash, or even better yet, Bobby Ryan! Then hope that Sauer returns and add Erixon and Kreider into the mix and I think we could win a cup!

    But, the loss last night was not the end of the world. This is a resilient bunch and I have faith in them. We still have a 4 point lead and I know they will fight like hell to win the conference!

    LGR’s!!!!!!

  21. “6)…Malkin has this habit of when he gets hit, his stick “accidentally” comes down like an axe on the opponent. It did there, and he got away with it.”

    That’s a behavior he picked up from the other kids in the Special Olympics, but he was too skilled to continue playing there.

  22. The Tampa Bay Rays teamed up with Vinny Lecavelier and went bald for his cancer charity “Cut for a Cure.” I don’t know how it works but it’s pretty cool.

  23. I just looked at the standings after reading these comments and the Rangers are in first place and haven’t even lost 20 games yet. Is that a misprint?

  24. Hey Stranger: I don’t think Dubinsky’s girlfriend (who is quite the looker) is concerned with his goal scoring ability. I think she is just happy about his paycheck and possibly loves him as a person for his sentimentality, cowelneck sweaters and his ironic mustache.

  25. That’s right, ORR. I did the same thing. Couldn’t stand it. Crosby had almost NOTHING to do with that goal. When he got an assist they just stuck the cameras on him and talked about his “Assist” (which I think was secondary).

  26. Rangers had a chance to draft Crosby in 2005 when they had a different draft lottery that had the worst teams of the previous few seasons have equal chance to draft #1 overall. Funny that when Mario started to make noise about the future viability of the Pens in Pittsburgh the team that had picked 5th in 02, #1 in 03, #2 in 04 won the draft lottery in 2005.

    Also, it’s been done to death, but they had a chance to draft both Zach Parise and Claude Giroux in their respective drafts.

  27. He didn’t even assist on that goal. But Sam just *had* to mention that. It made me sick. He had a primary assist on the next goal. The goal after that he didn’t get an assist, but Joe Mich sucked his ass dry and made sure every viewer knew that he was responsible for the goal.

    Fugg ‘em!

  28. boyle hit on Malkin highlight reel for years…..Are you serious it was a avg. hit for a big guy who happen to catch a player we all cant stand. Boyle needs to use his body, that hit should be the norm not 3 times a yr. That in a nut shell is my problem with this guy. Huberish

  29. Malkin missing the hit and allowing a breakaway was hilarious. It was, however, useless because we didn’t score. If the Rangers had scored there it would have been a real dagger against Malkin who is incredibly easy to knock off his game and upset. Kind of wish we had a bigger version of Avery to harass him.

    The Defense was horrific last night. Can we get Del Zaster and Sauer-Pauer back please?

    Brian Boyle was also horrendous last night. He overskated the puck about 4 times, whiffed at the puck about 3 times and made a lot of bonehead plays. (Remember, I borderline LOVE Brian Boyle and see him as a “core-type-dime-a-dozen” player of this team).

  30. Good morning, Carp!

    I think I’m gonna stay away for the rest of the day. Possibly won’t be back before I go to the game tomorrow (!!!) so everyone have a fun and safe St Paddy’s day!

  31. Doodie Machetto on

    The play in the defensive zone, particularly by our defensemen, has been either way too casual, or way too panicked. The calm strength that was once there seems to have escaped them.

  32. The two hits on Malkin were nice, but they should have been hits in Cindy instead (also?). There is no reason to let Crosby play the game virtually untouched. How about the next Penguin game we dress Scott who then drives Crosby hard into the boards, elbows high. If he gets suspended, so what. He won’t be playing in the playoffs anyway.

  33. There is not a chance that Scott could catch Crosby or line him up. The only guys that could hit somebody like that are Kronwall or Phaneuf. You need to have skating ability to catch him.

  34. Anyone think that a guy with world class skill and on ice awareness that’s probably the favorite target of the opposition his entire career knows how to avoid getting hit both legally and illegally?

  35. I am actually going to find a bright spot in last night: I am glad that Cally and MDZ didn’t rush themselves back for this game. With the playoffs fast approaching, team health is more important than 1 game. Keep the big picture focus. I just keep thinking that this team is about a year ahead of the expected progression, so this entire season is really more than should be expected. To go from scratching for a playoff spot to first in the conference is a huge jump. If they can at least get to a game 7 in the second round, I will be content. They are two players shy of being a real contender. A true offensive D and another goal scorer. Considering that Staal and Dubi are not playing up to their potential, and AA is not where he should be, this team is doing remarkably well. Perspective. Makes games like last night more tolerable.

  36. the HockeyRodent has a great breakdown of the game that’s definitely worth a read. I’d also like to add that the Malkin goal was 100% on McDonough, who tried a stupid, fancy play when the Pen’s top line was on the ice and got victimized. The whole situation could have been negated by a simple chip up the boards and out of the zone. McD was directly responsible for 2 goals against

  37. Did anyone Notice how Dan Bylsma kept switching Sid on lines opening up crazy matchups for the other potent lines. I am by no means a pittsburgh fan, but man he is a good coach. He totally outclassed Torts, but let’s be honest that is not too hard…
    Most of you have it right that we just need more scoring out of the 2nd and 3rd lines.. Where has Step Gone, no one talks about him. He has 1 point in his last five games after a nice strech of 5 points in 4 games.. Where is his consistency?
    I don’t think Stall will ever be the same, the game he played before the injury will be too hard for him to play post injury becasue of the worry of another concussion and a possible career ending one.. Did he suffer anything from that fall he took late in the game, that did not look good..?
    Here is the bottom line, I am making this bold prediction on march 16th at 10:15am, if the rangers fall out of 1st and end up in the 4th or 5th spot, they are out first round. The Flyers are getting healthy, getting scoring from everywhere, the golatending has been lights out, and they aer primed for a run in the playoffs. If we get 4th perhaps we have a shot becasue we play at home, but 5th, turn the lights out on us for sure… I would think it would be better for us to be in 6th position then to be in 4th or 5th if we end up losing the top spot. I know we have handled Philly well this year to date, but please keep in mind last yearwhen we destroyed Washington in the regualr season winning 3 of 4 and two by at least 6 goals and than we lost in Five in the 1st round… Trying not to be a debbie downer, but let’s be real folks, our chances are slim this year and years moving forward unless we figure out a way to score more goals. I hope I am wrong for sure, but I have a feeling I am going to be right on this one.. Sorry NYR fans…

  38. I love how a rough stretch has so many panic stricken. Well, I was out a little bit today, and the weather is kind of fair.

  39. Now let’s not panic. When Cally returns he’ll play with Stepan. Put Dubi back with Pruster and Boyle if necessary and put Fedostinko on the 4th line where he belongs. I can’t figure out why Dubi can’t finish, but he was the best forward other than the #1 line.

  40. Dan Shea

    Disagree with you rangers need to be beat all teams in there way leading up to a date with pens. Last night made me realize if we could get to conf finals and lose to Pitt it’s as far as we could go. I hate the pens more then flyers devs so it would be tough to swallow however if healthy they are too much for us.

  41. Stranger Nation on

    Said the other day, but worth repeating. Step is hamstrung playing with Dubi and Artie who both possess very low Hockey IQ. Hopefully Callyman and he mesh.

    Dubi needs to grow that stache again and maybe start wearing turtlenecks under his game jersey.

    This is the first game of a tough stretch with Avs, Debbies and Dr. Detroit on the way to the garden.

  42. Did anyone Notice how Dan Bylsma kept switching Sid on lines opening up crazy matchups for the other potent lines. I am by no means a pittsburgh fan, but man he is a good coach. He totally outclassed Torts, but let’s be honest that is not too hard…

    ***

    Did anyone notice Bylsma has 3 centers that all could be top line centers on most teams in the league and the Rangers have only one guy that comes close to fitting that role?

  43. Stranger Nation on

    Getting LeTang back was more important than hot dog lips. Guy was +5 last night.

  44. Stranger,

    Step looks like a better player when he has Gaborik on his wing. As does Richards now. I’m beginning to think that Gaborik (and Hagelin) have more to do with the centers looking good than the centers themselves actually being that good.

  45. How in the heck is Eugene Malkin still healthy? I don’t understand. He’s supposed to be injured all the time. Who is his orthopedic surgeon?!? Can he work on Callahan’s feet?

  46. It was nice watching a different language feed of the game, because I get to decide what the words surrounding “Sindey Crosby” mean.

  47. Yea that’s true. Good point, CT. I was just reading your point above about Gaborik and Hagelin making centers look great. I think the problem with Stepan is that he always wants to pass. Always. I know he’s been an “assist” guy going back to his college days but he could really learn a thing or two from Richards’ new “shoot first” strategy. When Stepan is the most talented shooter on the ice he hast to start taking shots. He’s young and he will learn and I can’t imagine how high his ceiling is.

  48. The playoffs are always up in the air. This team already knows how to play when the goals are sparse. Get Cally back and some balance on second line scoring and this team can do some damage. Sure, they can get bounced in the first round… but they can just as easily dominate a first round series. I don’t think it matters with this team if they have home ice or not. No point in panic. Doesn’t change anything. Best of all, I don’t think the Rangers will panic.

  49. I bet this amateur-hour squad doesn’t even make the playoffs.

    Which would be great, since it would save us the embarrassment of a first-round sweep.

  50. CT Blueshirt

    I understand that Geno, Sid and Stall are studs, but their wingers produce night in and night out and that is the difference.. My point was that Bylsma did what he needed to do in order to get the right match-ups for each center and each line… One more thing, Kris Letang is equally as important to that team as Sid…. Bold Statement there…..

  51. the Rangers can compete with the pens if they are healthy. the rangers have less depth and the pens great players are much better then the rangers top players so the rangers cannot beat them in a 7 game series unless they are healthy.

    let the pens and all the experts think they are the team to beat we will see.

    no cally, aa for 30 minutes or less, no mdz, no king, and of course sauer who has been gone for 60 games…. they can win without sauer but they need to be healthy…..

  52. this current “rough stretch” stretches back about 15 games to the night they got blown out of the water in the first few minutes of the Chicago game thanks to a brutal Martin Biron. Since that point, they are 7-6-2. So that 16 out of a possible 30 points. Not terrible. Here’s a breakdown of the team’s scoring in that stretch. I’m going to omit Callahan and his 6 points since he’s missed a lot of time lately.

    No surprise who the three best are, although remember they’ve only been paired together for a few games.

    Gaborik: 8 goals, 9 assists, 17 points
    Richards: 6 goals, 10 assists, 16 points (5 of his goals have come within the last 4 games)
    Hagelin: 6 goals, 8 assists, 14 points

    Stepan: 4 goals, 4 assists, 8 points
    Anisimov: 4 goals, 1 assist, 5 points

    Boyle: 1 goal 3 assists, 4 points
    Mitchell: 0 goals, 4 assists, 4 points
    Prust: 2 goals, 1 assist, 3 points
    Fedotenko: 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 points
    Dubinsky: 1 goal, 0 assists, 1 point
    Rupp: 0 goals, 1 assist, 1 point

  53. E No,

    I just think you’re understating the value that their centers add to their top 3 lines. Richards would be at best the Pens 3rd line center. Boyle could probably play 4th line for them but the Rangers don’t have anyone close to Malkin and Crosby for the top 2 lines (nevermind that Crosby played on the 3rd line last night, he’s obviously a top line center when he’s on the ice). On the wings the difference between the two teams isn’t quite as stark. I’d take Gaborik/Callahan/Hagelin just as often as I’d take Neal/Kunitz/Dupuis.

  54. >>As soon as I saw Biron in the nets, I knew it was a goner.

    Ditto.

    Besides the lopsided score, I’m disappointed by the team’s lack of physicality against #87. I thought they’d hit him a few times and try to get the other Penguins to retaliate and get them off their game. The whole night, nada!

  55. Rangers sure played like they didn’t give a damn about Sidney Crosby last night. In fact, they outright ignored him for 3 periods.

  56. CT- I don’t know of any teams that can match Crosby and Malkin. They have two elite franchise players. What you are saying about the Rangers matching up to Skid and Geno can be said of every other team in the league.

  57. Agree with an analyses, Carp,
    5) In addition, not for excuse, I would say that this universal line – Fed, Boyle, Prust is, probably, the most *tired* and beat up trio, considered their tasks, intensity, self-sacrificing and energy spending in every game.
    9) Speaking of the “beat up”…The way, how Rangers are playing, there is no surprise about the amount of injuries toward the end of season (not unlike last season) – that’s inevitable price to pay for such a success (for generally speaking under- skilled team), achieved mostly by spirit, character and waped though by fangs and claws. What slightly surprised me and scary, is, all of the sudden, “short bench” of immediately ready, *useful* players in a lights of greatly heralded our “development”. Understood, we can’t replace Cally by equal, but, while enjoying good standing with solid points stockpile, why not to let best guys from Hartford to show themselves and see what do we have in case…and before PO and to give main players adequate time to heal and rest? How wrong it could be? Otherwise, we could be really in a bad shape (literally) exactly in worst time, comes PO. Where I am wrong?

  58. Salty – IIRC Malkin low bridged Boyle last time they played too.

    Gmen11 – As McD’s falling his stick whack’s Boyles stick just as Boyle goes to sweep the puck away.

  59. Good late morning all!!! My cat just threw up while I was catching up here. Saved me the trouble :)

    We are the best team in the East! We will prevail!!! And OK, last night was kind of cat pukey….but I move on….

  60. Sam and Joe were DISGUSTING last night. Sam’s really lost his touch this year. The past month or so has been horrific for him. Can we all write to MSG to think about replacing them? If I didnt know any better I wouldve thought that I was watching the Pens broadcast team last night.

  61. But remember: when Jagr came up, and they had Lemieux, they only manages to win the Cup twice in Jagr’a 1st 2 years and then never again. These Pens are just as beatable if we had everyone healthy.

  62. Rosen and Micheletti seemed like Penguin announcers except when it came to discussing Martin Biron, who I’m pretty sure they think should be a Vezina finalist.

  63. For the Borsalino: it’s also not inconceivable that the Flyers or Devils can knock the Pens out of the playoffs too.

  64. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    What really bothers me more than anything is why MDZ and Cally they rushed back in while still hurt? Sorry, but that is either some bad medical advice by the staff or two players that are too stupid to realize that their injuries needed more rest. On radio, mdz was interviewed between periods of the last game he played and was asked about his hip. He said “I am in the lineup” listening between the lines you could hear he was still hurt. Why was he playing? Why did cally return when hurt? What was the point? How many EXTRA games are they going to miss as a result of coming back before they were ready? Stupid decisions that are proving to be costly.

    I thought biron made some great save in the first. Staal sucks.

  65. I honestly believe Dubinsky will not be on our roster next season. Also I wonder about Staal too.

  66. Dan Shea,

    That’s probably true that no team can exactly match them. Then again Datsyuk and Zetterberg did a good job on them the first time the Wings played the Pens. They’re a bit older now and Crosby and Malkin are more in their prime years than they were even when they won in 2009.

    But others could match the Pens a bit better in terms of being able to control the play. The Rangers even when they’ve been at their best this year aren’t a dominant puck possession team and if they’re not playing air tight defensively you get results like last night.

  67. In their last 15 games the Penguins are 13-2 (26 out of a possible 30 points).

    And in that stretch, the Penguins have 7 forwards with double digit scoring. Rangers have 3.

    Malkin: 10 goals, 13 assists, 26 points
    Staal: 7 goals, 11 asissts, 18 points
    Neal: 3 goals, 14 assists, 17 points
    Kunitz: 7 goals, 7 assists, 14 points
    Dupuis: 7 goals, 6 assists, 13 points
    Sullivan: 4 goals, 9 assists, 13 points
    Cooke: 5 goals, 5 assists, 10 points

    Here are their bottom forwards:

    Adams 1 goal, 4 assists, 5 points
    Park: 2 goals, 1 assist, 3 points
    Asham: 2 goals, 0 assists, 2 points
    Vitale: 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 points

  68. DJK,

    The Pens probably should have won a 3rd in 93 if not for the Islanders. Then injuries really started to hamper Lemieux for basically the rest of his career. Also their supporting cast was getting older (Francis, Mullen, Murphy, Tocchet). This Pens team is built a bit differently. Their top 2 guys are basically the same age whereas Lemieux’s absolute peak years were a few years before Jagr arrived. And Fleury and Letang are also still reasonably young. I look at the current Pens as similar to the Avs from the 90s, and yes they only won 2 Cups despite all that talent.

  69. >>Sam and Joe were DISGUSTING last night.

    Wow, what a disaster that pair was last night?! What did it for me was when Sam said [TWICE], “Sidney Crosby on the ice for Pittsburgh’s goal.” My goodness, how silly does that sound?

  70. I kinda don’t hate the Flyers as much as I used to now that Clarke and all the losers who came in with him are gone. The Penguins and Devils bear the full brunt of my hatred now.

  71. eddie eddie eddie on

    the pens announcers and producers are so byfuglien bad, they didnt mention the ranger scratches after discussing the pitt scratches

  72. Lloyd,

    Beyond the streak that their top forwards are better than the Rangers top forwards a big reason why the Pens have been winning is also their defense has tightend up dramatically. In their 10 game win streak they’ve only allowed more than 2 goals once. The Rangers in their last 10 have allowed 3 or more goals 7 times.

  73. Stranger Nation on

    Ex3 – in ranking of pure hatred, where do you slot Icelanders, Debbies, pens and Filth?

  74. … and the winner for the dumbest NN remarks of the day goes to E No (who seems to come around after losses). So the team has only one line, and everybody else stinks, but the coach was outclassed, which is not hard to do?

    which is it? Because if you don’t have enough talent and you’re playing against the best skill in the league, what can a coach do?

    and for those who are all nuts that they didn’t do anything to Crosby — and I thought they might have pulled up a few times — what difference did Crosby make in this game, exactly?

  75. Watch what you say, Carp. I think Rinaldo lit the scoring lamp last night by netting his second goal of the season. He’s tied with Gomez, right?

  76. eddie eddie eddie on

    rangers are a tired team…..it makes sense……a guy like girardi cannot play 24-25 minutes a game for 3/4 of the season and expect to have any gas in the tank. There is a reason the rabbit doesnt win the 1500 meter race. In fact, the rabbit usually doesnt even finish the race….they get paid to run 1/2 the race, set a blistering pace, then fade away…

  77. CT:

    Well, sure, but if you look at overall scoring, the Rangers top 4 scorers would sit 3, 4, 5 and 7th on the Penguins, which isn’t too shabby considering Malkin is going to win the Hart, and Neal, who is turning into one of the best players in the sport, only has 1 more point that Gaborik. So those numbers aren’t terrible. If you compare scoring totals lately, however, he Penguins have really ramped up their performance down the stretch, while the Rangers are going in the opposite direction. But what you said is accurate: the Rangers are getting nothing out of the majority of their forwards while the Penguins are getting production out of the majority of their forwards.

  78. Stranger Nation on

    Gomez out with concussion, so Dubi is safely coming in 2nd place for seasons most underwhelming performance

  79. The Habs couldn’t wait to get Gomez on LTIR, eh? How’s that whole Kaberle situation working out?

  80. eddie eddie eddie on

    s. nation……hard to hate the islanders…they suck, but from ’75-’85 i really hated the fishsticks

    i dont hate the devils until game night…….if other teams are playing the devils, i obviously want them to lose…but, its not like i hope marty spontaneously combusts….

    the flyers and the pens however…its a whole another level of hate……i am ashamed to say, i hope every player on both teams breaks a leg every game….

  81. eddie eddie eddie on

    lloyd – there sure are getting that one and done look to them arent they?….

  82. Lloyd,

    The Rangers weren’t really blowing teams away when they were winning. They weren’t allowing as many goals as they are now either. And given how the Rangers play, it’s probably easier for them fix their defensively woes than try to squeeze more scoring out of guys that aren’t built to score in bunches. The Pens are winning it both ways right now, but I honestly don’t care how the Pens win their games, especially against teams not named the Rangers.

  83. eddie:

    some of these recent performances sure make you wonder how this team is going to beat anybody four times in a series. the only thing I can point to right now is that they have been playing shorthanded and hopefully, when some of these guys come back, they’ll get back on track a bit. the problem is that I’ve doubted all years this team’s ability to play successful hockey if they don’t have everything work perfectly for them; there just isn’t the offensive depth to bail them out if there are any lapses whatsoever.

  84. eddie eddie eddie on

    I still argue that MDZ and Cally rushed back WAY too soon from their injuries…..FOR WHAT?….

  85. what makes it more frustrating is that nobody really seems to know what is wrong with those guys or how long they’ll be out. based on what you said earlier, I’m guessing you didn’t hear Rosen and Micheletti last night, but even they were forced to say something about how the Rangers organization doesn’t talk about Michael Sauer anymore.

  86. I think they may have too E^3. But they’re both probably bored not playing or skating. Maybe they’re online waiting for the new ipad to kill some time.

  87. Wicky©No pears, No apples, Where's my pineapple?! on

    Morning ILB and all!

    Carp
    I agree 100% that girardi and bickel we the only two D men that played a decent game by a long shot, I thought staal and mcdonut were horrible!!

    That game was pretty off judging by the standard our boys have set the majority of the season.

    Still first in the East, win the game they should win and it will all sort out fine…wonder what the injury situation really is???

    I still think I would rather get nash in the off season over parise, depending on cost!!

    Off to work, later aasens!!

  88. It’s actually funny that they might be, CT. Hockey players are so down to earth that they wouldn’t send someone to go in their stead. They would actually go themselves and tweet about the experience with each other.

  89. Well maybe because the Rangers don’t operate the same way the Penguins do and like to give updates every 10 minutes on players that are taking their time coming back from a serious injury. Granted Sauer isn’t Crosby, but if there’s nothing to report on him then there’s nothing to report.

    I don’t understand why the fans have to know what’s going on with injured players, I figure as long as the coaching staff knows the progress of these guys that’s all that really matters.

  90. eddie eddie eddie on

    Lloyd – it has been a great season so far…and as carp mentioned a week or so ago, who wouldnt have signed on to be where we are?….Looking at the Gmen, you realize tho, it isnt the regular season that matters…its the postseason……as good a run as its been, and i am very happy overall, i dont think we will be playing deep into may…..the rangers will probably slip to 4th at best and have to face the flyers….and wouldnt it be ironic, as it was last year versus the craps, to win the season series handily and lose in the playoffs…

  91. The Rangers Organization on Michael Sauer: “You’re dead to me. You’re more dead to me than your dead mother.”

    (quote courtesy of Zoolander)

  92. Callahan and Del Zotto are practicing which is good news

    Anisimov isn’t practicing which isn’t good news

    Fedotenko isn’t practicing which doesn’t really matter

    Here are the line combinations from practice. And I really wish Tortorella would stop forcing Dubinsky into spots he doesn’t deserve right now.

    Hagelin-Richards-Gaborik
    Dubinsky-Stepan-Callahan
    Mitchell-Boyle-Prust
    Zuccarello-Rupp-Scott

  93. Wicky©No pears, No apples, Where's my pineapple?! on

    manny?

    Depending on mcilrath’s development and erixon’s, sauer may never play for us again..

    A laurel…damn!

  94. Stanger Nation on

    Last night was one of the few games where the Rangers were out-fore-checked (new word! – double hyphen: out-hyphening Miami – ha)

  95. eddie eddie eddie on

    CTB – i agree……MDZ and cally would be much further along with their injuries if they had just rested …..i think letting hank have time off is smart too…….girardi, prust, and boyle sure could use some time off if it were possible……fed needs to be scratched…he is not adding anything…….

    staal is flat out horrible……he might not have healed…..poor sauer, i really liked him….he may be done…that hit was god-awful…

  96. Stanger Nation on

    Pens Schedule is not an easy one save for the back to back against the Icelanders

    MARCH
    SUN MAR 18, 2012 PENGUINS FLYERS
    TUE MAR 20, 2012 JETS PENGUINS
    THU MAR 22, 2012 PREDATORS PENGUINS
    SAT MAR 24, 2012 PENGUINS SENATORS
    SUN MAR 25, 2012 DEVILS PENGUINS
    TUE MAR 27, 2012 ISLANDERS PENGUINS
    THU MAR 29, 2012 PENGUINS ISLANDERS
    FRI MAR 30, 2012 PENGUINS SABRES
    APRIL 2012
    SUN APR 1, 2012 FLYERS PENGUINS
    TUE APR 3, 2012 PENGUINS BRUINS
    THU APR 5, 2012 RANGERS PENGUINS
    SAT APR 7, 2012 FLYERS PENGUINS

  97. look, I know he won’t scratch Dubinsky, but 5 points in the last 25 games? drop the guy to the 4th line and give Zuccarello a game on a higher line. if he stinks, you can go right back to putting a guy who scores once a month on the 2nd line and no one will notice.

  98. eddie eddie eddie on

    tired hockey players wave their sticks and dont move their feet……same with tennis players….reach for the ball and dont move their feet……the rangers wave their sticks a lot lately.

  99. Are we getting the angry version of E^3? Did someone not have their daily “cup” of Maui Wowie?

  100. eddie eddie eddie on

    dde – :) ….this has been a great season, however, it looks like its the swan song that is playing and not the prelude to act I

  101. eddie all them bodies resting who we suiting up Graves, Gilbert and Shoney. lol seriously we do need to get the boys healthy. I for one was happy that Hank had another night off as bad as the D was. Doubting Mark Staal will ever be the same, there I said it is it wrong to have that observation?

  102. eddie eddie eddie on

    CTB – i switched to pills….. herb brooks just doesnt do it anymore…..But seriously, i am not angry …..or sad…….more pragmatist than anything……this has been a wonderful season……just not overly optimistic given their play over the last 3 weeks….

  103. Carp-

    Not saying everyone else sticks on this team, just saying that like in previous years when we have only had one line that really produced, the remainder of the lines disappear. Where has Step Gone? Is he that reliant on cally to produce? If as stated by a few people on this stream, AA and Dubi have terrible hockey sense and hinder Step, why not switch up Dubi or AA( before Injury, and with injury i guess we will see if he is worth it) with MZA who has issues, but is creative and can possibly do what is needed to spark Step. Yes Pitt is talented, and easily seen much more talented then we are, but we were simply outclassed all night in all aspects of the game including coaching… The stats show that we out hit Pitt, Won more Faceoffs, got more shot blocks, shut down their PP, yet still watching the 60 minutes it looked like we were a step or two slower.. The Inconsistency is what makes me think and say things about Torts..
    I just wonder if Torts’ message is getting old. You know how coaches run their course and I wonder if that is the case here. You know none of the players will ever say it as thay have said the right stuff all year, but do they think it? That is the more important aspect and their play of late, in the last month or so shows it…Yes Injuries are taking its toll right now, but no matter who you are and how hard you think you are, constand hounding can be a burden on a team and its players.. Has he lost his motivational ability? I am just putting it out there as a fan who is not around the team and can’t really say its the truth or not..
    You say I only come around after losses, thats mainly becasue its easier to bring up issues in losses rather then victories.. Its really that simple, most skeptics like myself will come around and complain more than they will congratulate and I admit that.. I thought and I am pretty sure I have been consistent with this, that once we failed in our bid to land Nash and were unable to get any other players that could add to our depth and help with secondary scoring, that we were in deep trouble.. I hate to say it, but I am sure I will be proven right shall the Rangers not get the top seed in the east… Looks to be like another early NYR year for you Carp… HAHAHA

    P.S. I’m glad i at least got a mention from you even though it was negative… Thanks man… You make me feel so warm inside…

  104. eddie eddie eddie on

    hedberg – i know…good point…..i was thinking one at a time …not all at once….

  105. eddie eddie eddie on

    Did sam mention anything about skid being on the bench for the goals that the pens scored when he wasnt on the ice?….as in…..

    Sam: “its a penguin goal, and crosby was on the ice”

    Joe M: “he sure was wasnt he?”

  106. “…its easier to bring up issues in losses rather then victories.. Its really that simple, most skeptics like myself will come around and complain more than they will congratulate and I admit that…”

    count to 1,000 and then keep it to yourself next time

  107. Carp = look outside, If you do you will see a group of chickens looking toward the sky ;)

  108. The stats show that we out hit Pitt, Won more Faceoffs, got more shot blocks, shut down their PP, yet still watching the 60 minutes it looked like we were a step or two slower..

    ***

    You’re going to have more hits and block more shots when you don’t have the puck as much as the other team.

  109. E No, that’s kookie talk about the coach losing the team, and inconsistency, and running his course. Utter nonsense.

    After one game?

    Please.

  110. eddie eddie eddie on

    in december and january, regardless of opponent, i sensed victory was 60 minutes away…..these days, regardless of opponent, not so much….

  111. Not saying it would magically solve all of our problems but I am officially on board with calling up Erixon. The way the D is hurting why not give it a shot. He would bring in fresh legs, some energy and another guy that can move the puck. Are we really going to miss Stralman or Eminger all that much. Definitely worth a shot imo.

  112. eddie eddie eddie on

    carp – not sure i have shared this….but when you mention me, i get tingly inside

  113. Not to say that either of those guys have been especially bad but I think there is a chance Erixon COULD be a decent upgrade.

  114. Deep trouble? First place in the conference, moonwalking into the playoffs for a change, clearly one of the favorites in the East.

    and, if you really want to think about it, this Pitt team has pretty much steamrolled everybody for three weeks now, and is 100 percent healthy right now, and has a goalie playing at the top of his game … and you expected what minus Lundqvist, Callahan, Del Zotto? Seriously?

  115. geez Carp
    did you have to get in the cindy spirit too.
    i mean, showing pens celebrations as the top 2 pics?!?!?
    yeah, i know there wasn’t much to show with Rangers but even a dejected Ranger
    is better than showing a pen enjoying the moment.
    sheeeeeesh!!

    and then to include the “Skid” audio?!?!? WTB?!?!?

    i think people here on the blog are more interested if the media covering the game had
    a collective orgasm the moment cindy hit the ice or had the vapors on his first shift. wouldn’t be surprised by either.

    yeah, didn’t watch a second. as much as i tried to be positive i’m way too used to the good fortune (and yes, talent that’s also bred by good fortune — i.e. all the high #1s that have panned out as one example). still, trying to get out of my funk that everything, as usual, is working out in their favor (again).

  116. Love the idea that the team is first place team in the east and the coach’s message has gotten old and he has run his course. Do you seriously think the players have forgotten how they got there because of a couple of bad games? C’mon.

  117. eddie eddie eddie on

    carp – moonwalking into the playoffs – absolutely – but they look more like train slowing down pulling into the station as opposed to accelerating away….

  118. and you expected what minus Lundqvist, Callahan, Del Zotto? Seriously?

    ***

    Honestly Carp with the way the Pens have been playing the last few weeks, I was expecting pretty much the same if those 3 had been in the lineup. But I do remember the Pens in 93 after Mario returned running off a pretty long unbeaten streak, rolling over the Devils in the first round and then getting stunned by an Islanders team who’s best player had been cheap-shotted out of the playoffs.

  119. Stanger Nation on

    “ Coolness and absence of heat and haste indicate fine qualities. ”

    — Ralph Waldo Emerson

  120. Andy Pettitte is back with the Yankees!!! Im not expecting much but this is awesome. Came out of nowhere.

  121. eddie eddie eddie on

    1940 – i dont sense the rangers will be first by end of season….tho, i sure hope i am wrong….penguins are an impressive team……and that was only the 5th time all season, syd, geno, and poon-tang have played together all season…..makes you wonder….

  122. I can only imagine if this was a Bruins blog, who haven’t won more than 2 in a row since Dec. 28th

  123. eddie eddie eddie on

    S. nation – RWE wote in “nature” back in mid 19th century…”people don’t notice things like birds singing as they are too busy with other things”…amazing that was written 150 years ago, yes?

  124. Call me naive. Barring any more injuries, I think they will hold onto the east……….not that it matters all that much, imo.

  125. eddie eddie eddie on

    1940 – i sure hope so….but that penguin express is trucking right along with no end in sight…and how i despise typing those words…

  126. I saw nothing but sweeping sticks and playing catchup the whole game. Keystone Kops is what it looked like. Like I read before, we finally have a scoring 1st line.. and 3 4th lines.

  127. Ria(the silent bonehead) on

    Just saw on the widget that AA & Eminger are “hurt” and won’t play tomorrow (: Think they’ll be any call ups?

  128. Tiki XLII XLVI on

    Go Trip Eddie!

    We lost a game against the most talented team in the East, without our Captain, our best offensive defenseman and our best goalie in the world. You cant take anything from last night’s game.

  129. Sure, I mean you could probably just not count all the losses the Rangers have had against talented teams all year, really. Since the Rangers aren’t that talented, they really shouldn’t beat anybody and are lucky to even be in the playoffs, right.

  130. I’d love to see Erixon called up. I’m afraid we could see more of John Scott……….maybe we don’t hold onto the East.

  131. Most frustrating game of the season, but why? Are the Pens simply superior? Would we have had a chance with Hank, Cally and DZ? Not a chance in this one. Our mental game broke down so many times it was difficult to keep track of. And I’m sorry, but Brian Boyle does not belong on a PK unit against Crosby, Malkin, etc. Despite loving many aspects of his game, Torts is using him in too many situations where he is clearly so slow on his feet, so slow to react, and so slow to get a stick on the puck, it’s kind of embarrassing. He is a true 4th liner on this team, and has no business on the 3rd line against world-class opponents.
    McD was also terrible tonight with mental mistakes, as was (sorry Carp) Girardi. Our entire defense stunk along with Bickel and Staal, who certainly is not what he was pre-concussion.
    The Pens dominated this game so thoroughly, it appeared they KNEW where the puck would go off the boards, and basically everywhere. Forget about the puck bouncing at MSG. They were so much quicker to the puck and much tougher when they got there. This team is self-destructing before our eyes with injuries, a total lack of balanced scoring or even scoring threats. Actually Carp, I don’t even blame Biron on any of the 5 goals. And now Artie appears to have separated his shoulder or broken an arm. We’ll be very lucky if we beat the Pens in the playoffs, because they are a better team.

  132. I’m staying positive. A bad game – you bet. But it’s over & we move on. The Byfuglien Pens WILL lose a few before the season ends. We’re rebounded before & I think we’ll do it again.
    But … how come no news on Cally & MDZ ? That worries me.
    With that said, MSG was blacked out in AZ & we had to watch the NBC feed – HOLY CARCILLO – those guys did everything but wipe his assen .
    A SID CAM – REALLY ??

  133. Lloyd, Tiki didn’t say you shouldn’t count last night. All he’s saying is that they lost and it was to a good team, end of story.

  134. I believe NBCSN just picked up the Pitt feed for last night, which explains the Cry Baby iso-cam.

  135. CT, except that Callahan is usually a monster against the Penguins, they sure could have used somebody to get the puck out the way Del Zotto can … and maybe Lundqvist steals a couple of those goals while it’s 1-1 and/or 3-2. Because as badly as they were outplayed and outmanned, they were in the game there.

    Just sayin’ they might have had a shot with those guys, but they had almost no shot without them.

  136. CT:

    Again, you can’t use excuses about talent level at this point in the season. I’ll freely admit the Rangers were shorthanded last night, but the same way you can’t use the “overachiever” excuse to justify any slip in the standings, you can’t say the game last night showed nothing. When you’re first in the conference on March 16 and have been there for a while, the onus is on you to show why you belong there. I do believe the Rangers would have fared better against Pittsburgh last night if they had Lundqvist. There’s not a doubt in my mind that the Kunitz goal Biron allowed was a back-breaker and Hank wouldn’t have allowed it. But at the same time, the team shouldn’t have been embarrassed, and wouldn’t have been if they hadn’t suffered so many defensive lapses.

  137. cally del zaster hank it would not have made a diff and it wont in april. get to the conf finals lose in 5 to pens and load up for next year.

    carp you could write your season ending recap now

  138. Carp

    As I stated I have been consistent with that thought since the WC game and watching the 24/7 series. Take what you want from my words, but the stats point out exactly what I am saying that the team has been wildly inconsistent over the last month. Whether that had to do with coaching, injuries or talent, that is open for each individual interpretation. I have my view and you have yours.. We will see who is right in the coming weeks.

    As for what I would have expected from the team minus cally, mdz, and hank, at least a little bit more grit and determination. They truly looked lackadaisical out there for most parts of the game. The whole team with the exception of the top line looked overwhelmed. Do you think they threw in the towel because of the injuries? Why do you think over the past month they have been playing so up and down? Just curious..

  139. eddie eddie eddie on

    allright – enough of the woe is me…lets go out and get ready to kick some assen……who is with me?

  140. E No, you can say they were outmanned, because they were. You can say they were outplayed, and you can certainly say they played lousy in their own end. But grit and determination? Threw in the towel?

    This had nothing to do with effort, and if there was even a little bit of towel-throwing it wasn’t until it was 5-2.

    Then a lot of people who don’t understand the game equate poor play with effort, heart, grit, all those buzzwords. Next you’ll be telling me about body language.

  141. It’s not an excuse Lloyd it’s a fact. The Pens are a more talented team at full health. The Rangers aren’t as talented even when they’re at full health and certainly not even close when they’re banged up (including not having their best player in net and their captain that does just about everything you want from a player) and the Pens are at full health. Why does that seem so hard to understand?

    And the season is 82 games. I’m sure there have been plenty of seasons where the team leading the conference this late in the season didn’t end up leading the conference at the end of the year. In fact I think the Flyers looked liked the class of the East last year until the last quarter or so of the year when they nearly dropped from 1st to 5th.

    The Rangers have for most part been where they are because they’ve played good to very good hockey for long stretches but they haven’t been overly dominant and most importantly they’ve avoided going into prolonged slumps. It took them 60 something games this year to go more than 2 games in a row without picking up points. Nearly every other team that’s got a chance to make the playoffs have experienced longer skids than the Rangers have (including the Pens having a 6 game winless streak).

    To me they’ve proven that they’re a good to very good team but they probably lack that extra gear that the great teams tend to have. So they lose a game to a team playing at a higher level than any other team in the league is playing, there’s still enough games left in the season to make that a temporary blip.

  142. eddie:

    I think Colorado is a winnable game, definitely, especially with Callahan, Del Zotto and Lundqvist coming back.

  143. Every team in the league goes through a stretch like this at some point. Notice we are 2nd in the entire league. What team hasn’t had at least one up and down month?
    #everybody panic!

  144. Stanger Nation on

    The sad truth is take away the ‘R’ and the ‘S’ and all people have is ANGER, so

    come back off the ledge and shut the window,
    put down the jar of sleeping pills,
    take the rope off the rafters,
    remove the bullets from the gun,
    do not fill up the tub,
    turn off the car and open the garage door,

    you get the picture…

  145. Does anyone have a guess as to what team in the NHL could have beaten the Penguins last night? Seems like they were pretty good.

  146. oh, yeah, and “wildly inconsistent” as opposed to just inconsistent? That first three-game losing streak of the season sure points to “wildly inconsistent.”

  147. go ahead, continue to delude yourselves that this defeat was due only to Hank, Cally and DZ’s absence though. Our team is fine. We lost because our defense and team at large made inexcusable mental mistakes throughout this game. Hank does not stop those 5 goals. Or even 2 of them.

  148. Probably the 97 Red Wings Manny. Russian 5, Yzerman, Shanny, Lidstrom. Yeah maybe them.

  149. Colorado is going to be a tough game, they’re fighting for their playoff lives out West. I’m expecting a big game from Landeskog.

  150. They sound good, CT. Do they still exist? Can we sign that team and play them instead of our guys?

  151. If you told me back in October that we would be !st in the east by 4 points on March 16 I would have been excited.
    Today, I’m still excited.

  152. CT:

    When phrases like, “best team in the conference,” “team to beat,” etc., etc. are bandied about as they’ve been for the past few months, that implies that the team is the best regardless of talent deficiencies. Top to bottom, the team dynamic is strong enough that they’ll overcome whatever talent disparities exist between them and their opponents. To then say, “well, the Penguins are the more talented team so it’s ok for the Rangers to fall off,” makes a lot of the earlier boasting ring hollow, especially when we heard for months and months how little it mattered the most of the Ranger lineup can’t score. Supposedly the team dynamic trumped everything else.

    If it’s just a question of a somewhat middling lineup playing way over their heads for most of the season before the league corrected itself, sure I can buy that. But we’re also hearing about how this last month of mediocre hockey is just a typical part of the hockey cycle. Does that mean the Rangers will get back to being the best team and beat everyone, even the more talented teams? Or has a middling roster peaked and whatever they can do in the postseason is gravy?

  153. N.CountryNYRFan on

    Hey everybody, this team has beaten all expectations IMO. It could be a lot worse. We could be Islander fans!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Have a Happy and safe St. Patty’s Day everyone!

  154. Tiki XLII XLVI on

    Thats exactly what what I was saying. Simply put, we weren’t on a level playing field with the Penguins last night. And if you wanted to take anything from last night’s game, it’s like Carp said, we hung in there all night, without 3 of our main pieces, and Anis for an entire period.

  155. Tiki XLII XLVI on

    I dont know why its so difficult for you to comprehend, Lloyd. Its not about *TALENT DEFICIENCIES*, it about *HEALTH DISPARITY*.

  156. Lloyd,

    I’ve never spoken about this year’s team in those terms. And certainly I’d never declare that a team is as good as the standings say they are in the middle of the season let alone a championship caliber team before the playoffs have even started. If you had those expectations based on 40, 50 or 60 games then I guess we have a difference of opinion of when to declare that a team is the favorite to win.

    I’ve appreciated the season they’ve had but I also think they’ve benefitted from having some teams that were previously stronger fall off this year like Philly, Caps and the Pens were a middling team for most of the first half of the year. Give credit to the Rangers that they took advantage of other teams slumps to bank a lot of wins but while there’s a lot to like about how this team has stayed on point pretty much the entire year there’s also a decent amount of competition that can play just as well and even better than the Rangers have. It’s not the Rangers necessarily stinking up the joint, it’s just other teams playing better.

  157. Tiki:

    The third sentence of his post is that the Rangers are a less talented team than the Penguins when both are at full health. And if you’d bothered to read the rest of what he wrote, you’d see he’s not saying the Rangers have slipped solely because of their “HEALTHY DISPARITY.”

    All the bold text in the world doesn’t make your point any more valid.

  158. breaking news

    scoring assist changed to crosby gives him second assist last night.

    who gives a freaking hell

  159. In the last month my friend not all season.. 9-6-1 since feb. 14th, which is a .59% point percentage. Now normally we would look at that and be happy, in past years we would be ecstatic, but the pace we set prior to that in the first 54 games which was 35-13-6 for a .70% point percentage lead us fans to believe. The play of late IN THE LAST MONTH HAS I think brought us back down to reality… That’s my point, we need to get back to where we were in the first 4 1/2 months of the season…

    On current pace we get 109 points, does that win the eastern conference or get us 4th? Pitt would have to get 70% of the points they have left to get to 109 as well.. Will be interesting to watch down the stretch to see if we can elevate our game a bit and get healthy for a playoff run.. I would be satisfied with 7 points out of the 10 we have left on the homestand… Anything more would be a gift for sure a seal up that top spot, hopefully… That’s for the spirited conversation, it’s taken my mind off all te crappy stuff going on with me… Till the next time..

  160. CTB:

    I can’t argue with any of that except I do feel most of the team has been pretty poor during this recent skid. But other than Stepan and Anisimov (who’ve been average not terrible lately), most of those guys have been poor all year long.

  161. In all likelihood Pitt has to get more points than the Rangers to get 1st. If they’re tied in points the Rangers hold a pretty hefty edge in regulation/OT wins.

  162. Tiki XLII XLVI on

    I wasnt arguing on behalf of CT, Lloyd. He’s more than capable of doing that for himself. I was making my point. And my point is valid. Last night’s game didnt convey anything to us other than the fact that this team’s got balls as big as the building, and can hang in a game without the best goalie in the world, our captain, and our best offensive defenseman.

  163. Great point E-No. It must be Torts’ fault!

    I have been saying this forever: You can blame underachieving on the Coach. You can credit overachieving to the coach. It’s not possible to point to the coach when a team stops overachieving. RELAX. Torts has not lost the team. That notion is so ridiculous

  164. N.CountryNYRFan on

    Imagine if Dubi actually showed up this season! We have talent but we a few players playing well below their talent levels. Namely Dubi, but also Boyle and Anisimov (even though he has shown spurts of talent).

  165. Lloyd,

    You keep going back to the scorers. Outside of basically Gaborik and Callahan, the entire team has been either inconsistent or having off years. The Rangers are where they are in the standings because their goal prevention has been elite for basically the entire season save the last 10 games. I guarantee that if the Rangers go back to their usual ways of allowing very few goals, they’ll get back on track.

  166. so 9-6-1 as the absolute low point of the season is wildly inconsistent?

    if they end up with 109 points and the fourth seed, you should be celebrating, not complaining.

  167. eric, only the Penguins, the NHL and NBC would go searching for an extra assist for a guy who was a non-factor in a game.

    could you imagine them searching for an extra assist for Gaborik or Callahan?

    they’re just so far up his … i’ll leave it at that.

  168. Too much doom & gloom today.
    And I have a few shine boxes if things get too nasty !

    AND .. fourth seed is not as bad as trying for 8th seed on April 7th !

  169. N.CountryNYRFan on

    amen Carp, at the begining of the season I was worried we would be scratching to get into the playoffs at this time of year. I think we will get healthy and get out of this funk just in time to kick assen in the playoffs!

  170. CTB:

    Sure, but you can’t win games if you don’t score, and that Tortorella called out Boyle and Prust last night suggests that he’s noticing it more now that only one line is producing. I don’t think you need four lines of scorers to be successful, but you need to get something out of more than 1 line. For the last month, they’ve basically gotten nothing from all but 3 forwards. The Penguins in that same stretch are getting solid contributions from 7 forwards. So, while I agree with you that defense is (and has to be) their m.o., they need more than they’ve been getting from their forwards if they want to go deep into the playoffs.

  171. Manny

    I am just throwing it out there.. As to your point when the team stops overachieving who do you blame? Is it just that they can overachieve for 3/4 of the season and then fall flat on their faces an it’s no ones fault just the way of the world or the sport? In the world we live in now, someone is always to blame, it’s that simple. I’m not sure ita torts, but I am throwing out ideas for all of us crazy fanatics to talk about. Only time will tell I suppose..

  172. Again, this Ranger slump started with the loss to Chicago where Biron couldn’t keep his legs closed for the first 10 minutes of the game. They are 7-6-2 from that game on. Not terrible, not very good ether.

  173. Lloyd and CT … and when they were flying through the season, they had the GAS line and Richards-Callahan … so two lines scoring some, but neither scoring a ton. and still were getting not much from the third and fourth lines offensively.

    i’m agreeing with both of you, I guess.

  174. Lloyd, there is some middle ground between “best team in the East, rolling everybody over” and “massive overachievers who are now being found out” (paraphrasing slightly).

  175. E NO
    “Did anyone Notice how Dan Bylsma kept switching Sid on lines opening up crazy matchups for the other potent lines. I am by no means a pittsburgh fan, but man he is a good coach. He totally outclassed Torts, but let’s be honest that is not too hard…”

    Wow
    What else does Torts needs to do for some people to realize he is a great coach.
    The season is almost over, the team is in first place. That’s a good sample size to think it’s an accident. Give some credit to the man.
    He has top 2 D-men out, Cally out our MVP out. And still getting the best possible matchup.
    Bylsma is excellent coach, but just switch top 2 centers between this teams and see how we do.
    I think we can beat them if we have home ice. We need first place.

  176. Carp,

    Their scoring has been adequate, probably even a little more than adequate, but they weren’t winning by blowing the doors off teams. They were scoring enough (sometimes a little extra) but doing an exceptional job of keeping the other teams from scoring a lot. Gaborik and Cally are kind of a class of their own on this team as far as their consistency goes. I think Richards recent revival is about him playing with Gaborik moreso than things finally clicking for him. I could be wrong though.

  177. N.CountryNYRFan on

    The top two teams in the league right now, the Rangers and the Blues. Goals for 194, and 186 respectively. The top team in goals for isn’t always gonna be the BEST team, so I don’t care if we win everygame 1-0 as long as we win which we have done a lot more than lose this year. I am not worried as much about the scoring as some are hear, it’s about winning. When our defense is bad we don’t win, not because we don’t score enough. Our team is a defense first kinda team, when that breaks down we are in trouble, as it has from time to time this season.

  178. There is one reason why they love Skid so much… they feel he is the only marketable person they have. Especially now with all of the Manning new, NBA gossip with the Knicks and the Magic, and the NCAA tourney. They are trying to manufacture some hype to try and grab at least a little TV time. Ovechkin was always the more interesting person to market. They are trying to pass off Skid as Wayne or Mario, and he is not close to either.

    As for MZA and putting him on the top lines, I would agree to a point. MZA is super creative, but he only works well with space and he is not the kind of player who can make his own space. You need to pair him with someone who creates space for others to make him succeed. The guys who make the most space for others on the Rangers are Gaborik and Hagelin. Step and AA don’t create space for others, so putting him on a line with those guys is useless. I would be hesitant to break up the first line because they are doing so well. Cally is really the only answer on that second line. The biggest problem with having Step and AA on the same line is that neither looks to shoot first. Step needs to have shooters with him, and he needs to be willing to shoot more and let some rebounds create some chances.

  179. Carp

    Do you remember being this level of disdain amongst opposing fan bases for Gretzky and Mario as there is for Crosby?

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