1) I’m not talking anybody off ledges today. I’m just not. Because, though I still think the Rangers will make the playoffs, there’s not a lot to like about this team big picture.
2) Last year’s team wouldn’t have many starts like that, and if it did, Brandon Prust would start a fight, or somebody would clobber somebody with a big hit, or something would happen and they’d be all over the opponent the rest of the night. That team would let an opponent like Florida know it was in for a long night, and sometimes that opponent would see that and not be really interested in competing at that level.
3) This team, not so much. This team’s not nasty at all. Not difficult at all. Not saying this team’s terrible, or even bad, or doomed. Just that this team is so not last season’s team. Not even close.
4) Chris Kreider. Did some nice things. Didn’t accomplish much. His line with J.T. Miller and Brian Boyle played some good minutes. Nice little dirty play there late second, cross-checking Skille into the goalie. Would like to see more of that from the kid.
5) These Rangers sure make nothing out of something so often, whether it means Marian Gaborik trying to stick-handle through three opponents at the blue line, or Brad Richards making a blind wish pass, or somebody trying to make a pass in an obvious shooting situation, or somebody not shooting and instead throwing the puck to the corner, or somebody forcing a shot into shinpads (like Gaborik at the end).
6) I’m putting this one on the Big Line. Or the Little Line. Nash lost a battle that led to the second goal. He threw a big hit and made a nice play to Gaborik for the late goal. But that line has to do a lot more. A lot. I’ve said it before, if Richards and Gaborik were playing up to their levels, this team wouldn’t be where it is. And this team is still in a decent spot despite what those two have, or haven’t, given them. But mostly, if those two don’t produce, nothing else matters. They’re done.
7) Any time the Panthers felt even a little pressure, they’d just ice the puck, the Rangers would send out Richards, Nash and Gaborik against the gassed Panthers, and they would epically fail to make Florida pay.
9) No excuse here, but the Rangers are really, really missing Marc Staal. And the more minutes their bottom three guys play, the more apparent it becomes how much they miss Staal. Plus he’s probably the best at knowing when to join the play, and the offense, when it’s sputtering along the wall and behind the net, needs somebody jumping in.
10) Speaking of what the Rangers need, I had a chat with The Little Ball of Hate (Pat Verbeek) between periods. He was telling me how in his first NHL game he started a brawl by running Dave Maloney, and he was gleefully telling me that he had just told Maloney that.
11) John Tortorella pregame pretty much said that the Rangers need a power-play point man. Trade deadline April 3. I don’t think that’s the only need, or that the Rangers could possibly make moves that will fix all their flaws.
12) Martin Brodeur scored a goal, thus was tied with, or ahead of, seven of the Rangers in last night’s lineup. Seven. Insert your own punchline.
13) Nice game to follow up the season ticket-holders’ notification of playoff ticket prices.
14) To go back to points 2, 3 and 10 … loyal blog reader ddebened noted last night that missing from the current roster are those responsible for 49 of the 65 fighting majors last season, and of the 12 fighting majors this season, only one of those was in last night’s lineup, Brian Boyle.
My Three Rangers Stars:
1. Henrik Lundqvist.
2. Dan Girardi.
3. Marian Gaborik.
RangerJHW’s Three Rangers Stars:
Hon Mention: Sid Farkas.
Your poll vote for Three Rangers Stars:
1. Marian Gaborik (15.09 %).
2. Henrik Lundqvist (13.21 %).
3. Ryan Callahan (12.26 %)
Photos by Getty Images.