Mar. 15, 2012; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers right wing Marian Gaborik (10) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the second period against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE
Here is why sports can be so funny: If the New York Rangers played the way they did Saturday night the rest of the season, they clinch the No. 1 seed. Then again, they probably won't be that dominant the rest of the year. Then again, they lost Saturday.
Sometimes that's just the way it goes. And, unfortunately, that's the way it went Saturday night.
Ryan Callahan, Michael Del Zotto and Henrik Lundqvist were all back in action in the loss to Colorado, as was rookie defenseman Tim Erixon who was called up on Friday night. Both Del Zotto and Callahan played over 25 minutes in the loss, neither looking the worse for wear at all.
Erixon only played for about 10 minutes, but I have a feeling that was more John Tortorella allowing him to get his feet wet, and then not wanting a rookie on the blue line when he team was taking significant risks in the offensive zone. I think we'll see more from Erixon as time goes on. Honestly, I like his game, I thought his positioning was better than it was during his first stint with the team as well; I just think he needs a game or two at the NHL level to get a bit more comfortable.
Join me after the jump for more notes.
- I was, once again, impressed with Mats Zuccarello. I thought he played a smart game, got to the right areas of the ice and scored a goal as a result. He's getting a little more comfortable in the system, and because of that, he's starting to create chances. He played close to 15 minutes last night, with over 7 of those minutes coming on the power play. As of now, Tortorella is using him as a power play specialist. We'll see what he's used as when everyone is healthy, especially if Chris Kreider comes to Broadway.
- For his first game back from the flu, I though Lundqvist looked good. Nothing he could have done about the first goal, and in the end he only gave up two goals on 19 shots.
- The power play has to be more consistent. If the Rangers' power play can't find some form of constancy they aren't going anywhere in the playoffs. At least not on a deep run. 0-for-5 in a one-goal game? Sorry, that's just unacceptable for a team trying to be the No. 1 seed in the east.
- One more quick note on Erixon. I want to see him finish out the year with the Rangers. He's been dominating at the AHL level, he's adapted to the smaller ice surfaces (he even said he likes it more, which makes sense since he's a defenseman) and he has the potential to be a real offensive threat. Why not, at this point in year, give Erixon his NHL minutes? Would you be that much more comfortable going to war in the playoffs with Steve Eminger over Erixon? I don't know if I would be. I think I need to see him play a little more, but for right now it's a tossup.