1) The homestand to hell. At some point, if not soon then later, the Rangers will rue the points they hacked up on this nine-gamer, whether it be the points that make them fight for their lives the final days of the season or the points that keep them out of the playoffs, or the points that cost them home-ice, or the points that give them a worse matchup. They will. Book it.
2) Because the 2-6 start, horrid as it was, had all sorts of legitimate excuses around it, and came mostly against superior competition. This homestand has been loaded with patsies and cupcakes. And, yeah, there are a couple of injuries, but the Rangers really haven’t done squat to deserve a single win in regulation, and only one in a freakin’ shootout. Imagine if they didn’t get that one?
3) I’ve said it before, this team is softer than boiled eggs, and loaded with flaws. The more games like this, the more you realize that the roster is woefully inadequate, or at least it will continue to be so if Henrik Lundqvist plays like this, and Rick Nash, and Dan Girardi, and especially without Marc Staal (for who knows how long?) and Ryan Callahan. Coming in, you had to figure you’d get a lot more and a lot better out of all of those guys. Every one of them.
4) Don’t worry, though. It’s not like Nash is signed through 2017-18 at a $7.8M cap hit. Or Lundqvist through 2020-21 at $8.5M per. Oh, wait. They are.
5) I’m not passing judgment. Really I’m not. I just find it interesting that Alain Vigneault doesn’t get ticked off after a game like this, or at least doesn’t show it, and that he believes they are playing hard for him, and that he believed they played well at 5 on 5 based, I believe, purely on scoring chances allowed. And I find it interesting that this team gets so many days off—an optional Thursday, a horrid loss Friday, a day off Saturday. I understand, the schedule is taxing and the athletes need a break, but geez, when the coach comes right out and says on Wednesday that they haven’t practiced the 4-on-3, and it cost them that game, and then another 4-on-3 contributes to this loss, don’t you at least get the guys on the ice for a light workout today? Just saying, this coach is a different cat.
6) I’ve said this before, too. It might be a nice time for those players who went crying to Glen Sather that the previous coach was too tough to show up and support the gentler, nicer coach now.
7) Going back to the soft thing. I’m not talking about fighting. I’m not. I’m talking about winning battles. And I understand that Matt Martin=Monster, and he’s going to pound you all night, and the Rangers don’t have guys like Matt Carkner or Eric Boulton, both of whom were non factors. Just saying they lose an awful lot of battles for pucks in all three zones, and then they get shoved around pretty good after whistles. For the second game in a row, a Rangers opponent was called for unsportsmanlike conduct for giving Lundqvist a snow shower (they called Boulton, even though I thought it was Martin who flung the snow). The Rangers at least reacted. I guess now the refs are calling it, apparently.
8) Probably should have said this earlier, but that was one really, really bad team (which some thought was going to join the elite; I didn’t) against a less-than-mediocre struggling team that couldn’t play much worse. Was tough on the eyes and the senses.
9) I though that was about as good a crowd as the Garden has had this season. I really do. Maybe it was all the goals and the breakaways.
10) The officiating in the NHL really is reaching crisis levels. Referees are guessing now. They are calling stuff they couldn’t possible see, every single night, both ways. That penalty shot was one of the worst calls ever. You’re not allowed to defend any more? Even Butch Goring, the biggest Islanders homer on the planet, thought it was a bad call. Thought the non-call on Ryan McDonagh on the Sidney Crosby breakaway was more deserving of a penalty shot than that one, by a lot.
11) How about that 4-on-3 sequence where Derek Stepan and Brad Richards consecutively missed the net by five feet and the puck came right out? Awful. Not that the 5-on-4s were much better. The Stepan goal was a mistake, a pass meant for Nash that got tipped over to Stepan. The Benoit Pouliot goal was by the “second” unit which is the better of the two. And maybe it’s time to put two defensemen on the points, especially if the puck really is bouncing as much as the Rangers said it was, and especially if the opponent has so much speed, as the Rangers coach said the Islanders have.
12) Derek Dorsett sure showed up. Scored a big goal, albeit a shot that was headed wide, drew a couple of penalties.
13) Girardi. Yeesh. Could you make a worse play against a better opponent than the one that resulted in two big saves by Lundqvist on John Tavares? And then the one on Grabner, who hit the crossbar short-handed. Guy is really fighting it.
14) One of these days there’s going to be a fight break out when those kids with the shovels come out during TV timeouts, and then there’s going to be a bad situation. Almost happened last night with Brian Boyle, Martin, Boulton and Dorsett milling about.
15) Two more days until Festivus. I’m going into the crawl space to get the aluminum pole today.
My Three Rangers Stars:
1. Derek Dorsett.
2. Derek Stepan.
3. Dominic Moore.
Your poll vote for Three Rangers Stars:
1. Derek Dorsett.
2. Benoit Pouliot.
3. Chris Kreider.
Photos by Getty Images.