OK, let's start with a positive.
For starters, last year the Rangers wouldn't have even made this game competitive. And while a loss is a loss, regardless of wether it's 4-0 or 3-2, the fight of this team is one of the points that makes them special.
With that being said, there are some serious issues that need to be worked out. The Rangers are now 2-33 on the power play in their last 10 games. That needs to change and it needs to change now. The power play is starting to cost the Rangers points again, and something needs to be done about it. Maybe the next practice should be nothing but power play work.
The effort, while amazing in the third, needs to be there all game. Normally I would excuse the lack of effort for the three games in four nights that the Rangers played; but this has been a problem for the past two weeks. No excuses anyone, be ready to play from the drop of the puck to the final whistle.
It was the Rangers lackluster effort that put them in a 1-0 hole seven minutes into the first, then 2-0 by the end of the first and 3-0 just five minutes into the second period.
The Rangers came back on in the third, scoring two goals in a span of 2:24 and breathing life back into the Garden. Wojtek Wolski started it off with a lucky goal, although his move around the defenseman was jaw-dropping, and it started the flood.
Then Derek Stepan buried a brilliant (how did Mats Zuccarello see him??) feed from Zuccarello to make it 3-2. That would be as close as the Rangers would get however, and they would lose despite dominating the rest of the period.
But there is a silver lining in their late (too little too late) rally. When the Rangers are on their game, they can hang with anyone in the league. They proved that tonight, now they just have to be on their game for 60 minutes.
Join me after the jump for my empty netters.Empty Netters:
- The more I see the kid play, the more I like Wolski. His hands are amazing, and his play around the net is top-flight. His two point night tonight (goal and an assist) gives him three points in four games for the Rangers, and his chemistry with Zuccarello and Stepan is fantastic to see.
- Speaking of Stepan and Zuccarello, how good are these two? I see nothing that tells me that Zuccarello (two assists) should be sent down anytime soon and Stepan (goal and an assist) just gets better and better as time goes on. The best part? They're getting used to each other, and their play is actually making a HUGE difference on the ice.
- Maybe I'm jumping the gun here, but color me "officially worried" about Marian Gaborik.
- The Rangers brass admitted that they were taking a risk trading Michal Rozsival and going "young" on defense. But thus far that young defense has done just fine (especially against Vancouver) and will only get better with time.
- Greatest picture ever for this story. If anything perfectly captures the Rangers Flyers rivalry it's this one.
OK guys, Maple Leafs up next. Rangers need a win. But for now, thoughts on tonight? The floor is yours.