The Rangers continued their trend of struggling on home ice as they were blanked by the visiting St. Louis Blues. Ty Conklin did his best Jaroslav Halak impersonation and picked up his first shutout of the year. The pivotal moment in the game came when Derek Stepan was drilled from behind by B.J Crombeem drawing a 5 minute major. For the second time in as many games, the Rangers failed to convert on a five minute power play. Their best opportunity came when Ty Conklin was dead to rights after making the initial save but Artem Anisimov shanked his chance at an empty net and the Rangers came up empty-handed.
The Blues game winning goal came in the second period on a pee-wee mistake by Derek Boogard. With Derek Stepan and Evgeny Grachev both down low on the forecheck, Boogy wrongly pinched and went for the hit instead of staying high in the slot. The Blues took advantage as Alex Steen picked the corner on the ensuing odd man rush. Boogard shoulders the majority of the blame for the play, but the fact of the matter is that there was also a lack of communication between Stepan and Grachev as only one of them should have been so low on the puck .
It's ashame when the referees need to be discussed in a post game but Alexander Frolov's no goal was inexplicable. Bill McCreary was wrong twice on the same play and robbed the Rangers of what would've been a 1-0 lead. McCreary called a high stick -which didn't happen- and then blew the whistle as if the Blues had possession of the puck - which they didn't - as Frolov scored what should have been the first goal of the game. It's irresponsible to say McCreary cost the Rangers the game as there is no excuse for not capitalizing on a 5 minute power play. However there is little doubt that McCreary changed the course of the game with not one, but two blown calls on the same play.
Quick hits after the jump.
- How does a team get shutout by Ty Conklin? The Rangers had little to no sustained pressure throughout the game as they resembled their Newark counterparts in the offensive zone. Marian Gaborik is targeting this current home stand for his return and it could not come soon enough.
- It's Official: Alex Frolov has Christopher Higgins syndrome. The comparison was brought up during the game thread and it's dead on. Frolov has played well but has yet to be anywhere near the offensive force the Rangers had hoped he would be. Maybe Gaborik's return will change things but it would help even more if Frolov can have a goal bounce off his ass to get him going.
- When John Tortorella was asked about Derek Stepan and whether or not he needed some time in Hartford, Torts responded saying "No, not now". It's pretty clear that Tortorella has a certain level of trust in him since he was one of the Rangers six players on the ice with two minutes left in the third. Stepan had a game in which he can build upon as he did some good things and created a few scoring chances. He took the big hit from Crombeem and soldiered on and didn't miss a shift. Says a lot about the kid.
- The Rangers flat out suck on face-offs. It was very evident during their power plays as I do not recall them winning a single face-off in the offensive zone. People ask where Chris Drury will fit when he returns. That question remains to be answered but they sure as hell miss him in the face-off circle.
- Sean Avery was likely the best Rangers forward tonight. He did the yeoman's work along the boards and in the corners and created some of the Rangers best opportunities.
- It was a disappointing game for the homegrown line of Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, and Ryan Callahan. They were nowhere near the threat they had been the past couple of weeks. I guess they were due for a clunker.
- Yet another blown call by the two blind mice came when Brandon Dubinsky was clipped in the face by Erik Johnson's stick at the end of the second period. Dubinsky was cut and the Rangers missed a chance at a four minute power play. Not that it would've mattered as the Rangers power play was nowhere to be found tonight.
If I omitted anything, have at it in the comments.