What an opportunity the Rangers let get away in Sunrise, Fla. Beat the worst team in hockey, whether in regulation, overtime or the tiddly-winks contest, and the Rangers would have clinched a playoff spot and jumped over the Islanders into the sixth seed.
They should thank their lucky stars that Winnipeg lost in regulation in D.C. and the Islanders lost in a breakaway contest in Raleigh. So their magic number is two, but now the Rangers are technically eighth and looking at Pittsburgh in the first round … if they make it. They will need help to finish any higher.
Also, they now may not know their fate in terms of seed and first-round opponent until the day after their season ends, because Ottawa has that make-up of the postponed game in Boston Sunday.
1) This is a classic second-guess, and I admit it, but I don’t ever like the pulling the goalie with that much time left and a power play, ever. Just too easy to backfire, and when it backfires, the game’s over. Let the PP play out. That said, if the Rangers score 6-on-4, it’s a great move. That’s why it’s a second guess.
2) I can also sort of understand why they tried it, even if I don’t like it, because the power play has been disappointing in big spots, and let the Rangers down earlier in the game when they really needed a PPG.
3) Weren’t these the same guys who, earlier in the day here on the blog, were beating Pittsburgh in the first round?
4) I thought the Rangers tried in this game, but they weren’t the same team that went out and thumped the Devils on Sunday, physically, with an edge. They skated hard and defended hard, but they sure weren’t nasty.
5) I was thinking during this game, how many (or how few) times has a Rangers player intentionally deflected a puck into the net all season? (and was reminded that Derek Stepan did so Sunday).
6) And the Rangers’ offensive players were off. Stepan had one great chance. Ryan Callahan was off. Ditto Rick Nash, Carl Hagelin, Michael Del Zotto and Ryan McDonagh, and to a lesser degree, Brad Richards.
7) This Taylor Pyatt guy they got at the trade deadline has really sparked the offense.
8) Seriously, you know who is probably the best addition the Rangers made? Mats Zuccarello.
9) John Moore just continues to impress, and you wonder when he gets a shot at the rotating and often-failing PP point.
10) The 1-0 goal by Kuba wasn’t even a legit scoring chance. It was a wrister that deflected by Tomas Fleischmann and past Henrik Lundqvist. Michael Del Zotto needed to do a better job tying up his man. He was right there.
11) John Tortorella insisted post-game that it was the two failed clearing attempts on the critical 2-1 power-play goal that killed the Rangers, and I don’t disagree (not sure who had the first one — McDonagh, Dan Girardi, Callahan and Stepan were on the ice — and McDonagh had the second one for sure). But both McDonagh and Stepan can’t allow that guy to be so alone in the slot.
12) The two best chances, I thought, that Florida had through two periods came off turnovers by the way, by McDonagh and Stepan.
13) The Rangers’ four best chances, through two, though, were by Zuccarello (post), Darroll Powe, Pyatt and Stepan. And that’s not good enough.
14) That giant goalie Markstrom takes up a bunch of net, but geez, he probably had to have his logo replaced between periods because the Rangers kept trying to shoot through it. Softly, I might add.
16) MSG+ or MSG2 or whatever it was – again – came back late from local ads to miss live action and/or interviews. Which makes for a pleasant evening.
17) We’re planning a Live Chat for Thursday at noon. Should be fun. Be there. Or else.
My Three Rangers Stars:
1. Taylor Pyatt.
2. Mats Zuccarello.
3. Derick Brassard.
RangerJHW’s Three Rangers Stars:
Brad Richards…dumb penalty…the kind you’d expect of a player with a low hockey IQ…not a team leader…shameful..just shameful! We expect more!
Your poll vote for Three Rangers Stars:
1. Mats Zuccarello (30.3%).
2. tie, Taylor Pyatt (15.15%).
2. tie, Henrik Lundqvist (15.15%).
Photos by Getty Images.