Justin K. Aller
Notes from the Rangers' loss to the Penguins
- Well, that's three straight games with no offense, no real jump to start the game, poor defensive coverage and ultimately another two points left on the table. The Rangers are slumping right now. Seriously slumping. And when that happens sometimes the pucks don't bounce your way (which has been evident during this three-game losing streak). But the Rangers aren't helping themselves either. There's no jump, guys are bailing on defensive coverages and the team is getting down on itself. That's a problem.
- I will put this at the top as well. Firing John Tortorella isn't going to happen, nor should it happen. It's not Tortorella's fault that this team isn't getting production from Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik. It isn't Tortorella's fault that the top two lines aren't producing.
- However, I do think Tortorella should tweak the system. I don't think these Rangers have a good enough bottom six group to be the grinding team they were last year. I think Tortorella should open things up a little more, this team isn't the grinding group last year's team was.
- Confidence is also a huge issue for the Rangers. Don't underestimate how much that can hurt a team.
- Henrik Lundqvist gave up two rough goals and a goal he could do nothing about. It doesn't help when your team doesn't score, but it also wasn't a great way to start the game.
- Michael Del Zotto has turned into one heck of a defenseman. He's doing a little of everything, and was one of the best players Saturday afternoon. WIthout a doubt.
- The defense did shut down Sidney Crosby. He had chances but Lundqvist was there to shut him down.
- Another loss in another game where the Rangers got off to a horrid start. When is that going to end? The Rangers played a good second period, and they entered the third down 1-0. If they start the game like they played in the first it's a totally different hockey game. But they didn't, and the offense never jumped out of the hole.
- The Rangers are at a critical point in the season. There's still 22 games left, tons of hockey to turn this around, but this team can't fall into a trap they can't get out of. Right now they're a delicate group, they're hurting and they don't have much confidence. Last year's success threw a ton of pressure on this group. To this point they haven't lived up to it. There's time, but they have to find their way soon.