Notes from the Rangers loss to the Panthers.
- Chalk this up as yet another game where the Rangers dominated their opponent and failed to create any offense. Don't let the shots fool you -- the Rangers took a season-high 46 shots -- the Rangers really only had five or six true scoring chances the entire game. This act where the Rangers are only dominant offensively in the final three minutes of the game is getting old, and it's costing them points. The Rangers scored one goal against the worst team in the league Thursday night. One. That isn't a game a playoff team loses.
- Speaking of the playoffs, I'm still not concerned, and I have a feeling I won't be for awhile. I'm not saying the team that played Thursday deserves to make the playoffs, but things are simply too close for the Rangers to be out of it right now. That being said, they can find themselves out of the playoffs if they keep this act up.
- The third line was the best line for the Rangers. And that's not really a good thing. I think J.T. Miller was involved, I liked Brian Boyle's play and Chris Kreider did everything expected of him (aside from scoring). It's good to see the Rangers' third line play so well, but the top two lines have to be better, they just have to be.
- Quick note on Kreider. I thought he found himself playing the way he did in the playoffs last year. He was active, used his speed, fought for the puck and had a few chances. He also had a really nice, crisp, right-on-the-tape pass to Miller that rung off the post. He keeps playing like that he should see some pretty nice minutes.
- One more but on Kreider. He played 12 minutes, which is right about where I truly want to see him. I want to see Kreider around 12-15 minutes a game. I know it was his first game back, but if he's going to be up he has to play.
- Rick Nash played pretty well, and will probably sit for a game -- or at least get a fine -- for his hit in the third period. I wouldn't be shocked if he only got fined, I also wouldn't be shocked if he sat for a game or two. Either way, it was a frustrating play by a guy who knows this team can be better. That doesn't excuse the hit, mind you.
- Marian Gaborik created chances all night. But that finish he usually has simply isn't there. He scored a good goal, but it was too little too late. He had a few chances throughout the game -- and again, at least he's creating them -- but there was no finish. Honestly, I can see him being moved at the deadline. I just do. I'm not saying it's definitely going to happen but I wouldn't be shocked either way.
- One of the reasons why I think the Rangers have been dominant in the final minutes of games they're loosing is because they looses up a little in the offensive zone. They push harder, crash the net and go into the tough areas of the ice. It's amazing what a little pressure will do for the defense.