First, let me say I'm not breaking down the play by play of last night's game. There is enough of that going around concerning the PP's lack of effectiveness as well as suddenly the PK. Unless, of course, Montreal's Wednesday night win affected the Rangers more than we suspect. I will however, suggest a few observations and throw them on the table for debate.
Continue reading after the jump.
1. Certain Rangers started last night's game not to play hockey, but for revenge. It was obvious PK was seriously under Dubi's skin. He must have been reading this site and decided that he was the best guy to go after Subban. Some others seem to be involved in this as well, early on Boyle went out of his way to chase Subban, Sauer played with a little chip, but not too many others. The rest seemed flat, kind of like elementary kids gathering in the schoolyard expecting the fight that never happened. This is all a little understandable, as revenge is a young man's emotion and the Rangers are a young team. I think Dubi learned his lesson, as he spent way too much time off his game and sitting in the box. My concern is what lesson we learned about the team.
2. This is no longer Chris Drury's team. Sure he's the captain, but I'm not sure he's a locker room leader. If he was, then the team would have decided, as a team, to either forgo the 2 points to send the fighting message, of let it go and play hockey. Since my view, from watching Drury's entire career, is that he is not the vindictive type this decision was not made as a team. Also since Prust, one of the best (and most often) fighters on the team, never even considered dropping the gloves. If this was the early 90's, I could see Messier calling the players only meeting before the game and willing the team to send a message - forget the two points. If you remember the Pronger era in Anaheim, they were prone to this behavior. My point here is last night the team did neither.
3. Avery's time is gone. Last night screamed for a game for Avery to get involved. After all the chippiness of the first period, and Hank doing his best Billy Smith/Ron Hextall impersonation, the game was primed for an agitator. Nothing from Avery except long wrist shots and cycle behind the net. Not even a ridiculous 2 minute minor suggesting he was skirting the boundary of agitation, nothing.
4. Speaking of Hank, he obviously had enough. Enough of the lack of intensity, enough of getting run over, and enough of the D not coming to his aid. He provided the spark that the team needed last night to play hockey. If there was vengeance slated to be done last night, Hank obviously didn't care. He saw the team playing flat and either made a statement, or like I said earlier, was fed up. Notice how much better hockey the Rangers played after that moment. By the way, because of Hank, they almost (or could have) won that game.
5. I'll just pose the question, is Gabby the game breaker we need? If the team and I contest as a team they did not, decided to seek revenge, Gabby would know he had no place it that type of game. He had to decide to take that game over. Either he chose not to or couldn't.
Ok, so now that all that is on the table, a few Hockey observations. I'm not mad or frustrated after last night's game. If one of those hit posts or crossbars bounces in it's a different game. In my opinion once the Rangers really started to just play hockey they were the better team. Granted, Torts and the coaching staff need to head back to the chalkboard and work out how to beat teams with speed. Teams like Colorado, Tampa and Montreal continue to give us fits. Also a little special teams work might be nice. Overall, I think last night could be a real big learning experience, as well as a turning point for a few players; and maybe the Captain. We'll see how they bounce back against Philly tonight.