This losing thing is really starting to get old real fast, and it's almost becoming an everyday occurrence for the New York Rangers. Tonight, the Rangers fell to yet another team sporting a back up to the back up goaltender, and they couldn't generate much of anything. I'm not sure if anyone noticed, but coming into tonight's game, the Nashville Predators were losers of five straight games. They sure looked leaps and bounds better compared to the Rangers, and that's where things are starting to get a little scary.
For the first time all season Alain Vigneault actually admitted that the roster, as it stands right now, is not capable of handling an uptempo offensive style. They have the speed, but aside from Nash, the Rangers really have no other go-to guy that can find the back of the net more times than not. I'd assume this means some major changes are coming for the Rangers, as they cannot afford to play .500 hockey for the rest of the season, and expect to have any shot at the playoffs.
For a team that was just simply outworked this past Sunday, the Rangers sure didn't do a whole lot to gain some early momentum in this game. The Predators were able to put up two goals in the first period, which would have been enough to win the game alone. Just prior to Nick Spaling putting the Preds up 1-0, Ryan McDonagh made a spectacular play on the back check, which eventually sent him flying into the back boards.
With McDonagh wincing in pain behind the net, the Predators were able to put on a passing clinic, which eventually lead to a tap in right at the top of Henrik Lundqvist's crease. Then just four minutes later, the Rangers were in a deep 2-0 hole as Rich Clune collected a saucer pass from Matt Hendricks, and deposited it into the back of the net.
Two mental breakdowns for the Rangers, and two goals that ended up in the back of their net. The Garden finally had something to cheer about in the second period, as Rick Nash made a nifty move around Carter Hutton to pull the Rangers back within a goal. Following Nash's tally, the Rangers appeared to have some life back in their game, but that was all said and done in the third period.
Matt Hendricks swiped away all the momentum gained in the second period, as he tapped in his second of the season to make it 3-1 Predators. Paul Gaustad eventually capped off the game with an empty net goal from center ice, and that was basically all she wrote.
All jumbled up in that mess was Ryan Callahan being diagnosed with an MCL sprain, and he is expected to miss the next 4-6 weeks. This is the second time Callahan has been injured for a lengthy period of time, and that's not even counting his off-season shoulder surgery which held him out for all of the preseason. Couple that with the Rangers recent struggles, and it's almost a given that some sort of shakeup is in the works. Whether it be a trade for some skill, or some more call ups from Hartford, the Rangers can't keep sitting around and hoping their lineup will cut it.
As Joe said in his article earlier today, how about scoring some goals instead of worrying about fighting and more grit. There are a lot of glaring issues with the Rangers right now, and something has to eventually give. We'll likely see what that is in the coming days.