Rangers Vs. Senators: From 60 To Zero In One Game Edition

USA Today Sports

Notes from the Rangers loss to the Senators.

- That's one of those "shrug my shoulders" games from the New York Rangers. They're so up and down this year you simply don't know which team is going to come out. Is it going to be the Rangers that played on Tuesday and ran the Philadelphia Flyers out of their own building? Or the team that can't muster a single goal against a backup goaltender? This year, there have been far more of the latter, which is obviously an issue.

- Consistency is the name of the game, and from the get-go the Rangers simply haven't had it. Rick Nash and Derek Stepan are the only two forwards on the entire team providing a consistent stream of offense. Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin have been good this year, but they haven't been consistent at all. Every other forward? Up, down, up, down, up, down.

- The biggest number to take from last night. "0." And that's not for the number of goals the Rangers scored, it's for the 0-for-4 they went on the power play. They had chances to take the lead and tie the game, they didn't come close to capitalizing.

- The Rangers play their power play like their penalty kill defends opposing team's man advantages. The Rangers never pressure the point, and are always collapsing down low when they're killing off a penalty. On the power play the Rangers never know what to do when the puck is at the point because other teams pressure them so much and there's usually not an outlet. My solution for both is simple: Play the point more aggressive on the penalty kill, and work the puck down more on the power play.

- Speaking of the power play, why is Brian Boyle seeing any minutes there? I get John Tortorella giving his big guys some minutes when nothing is working, but there is so much more benefit in putting a guy like Chris Kreider there.

- It's games like that which should make you happy Mats Zuccarello is on his way into the lineup. No, he's not going to fix all the problems, but at least he has some creativity.

- I still think John Tortorella is the right coach for this team, and I still think the Rangers can turn things around -- they've shown me enough flashes of brilliance to let me see what they can do when everything clicks -- but something is obviously wrong. I'm not saying the Rangers have tuned Tortorella out, but major questions are surrounding this team. Why are they starting off games so flat? Why are they giving up the first goal far more often than they're scoring it? Why are they losing games they should be winning? Right now, I don't think Tortorella has an answer to those questions, and that's a problem.

- Be very thankful Carolina and Winnipeg lost last night as well.

- At some point the Rangers have to show their true colors. Thursday is what the team looks like when they're not playing well, Tuesday is what the team looks like when they are playing well. Which team is the real Rangers? A lot of you will guess the bad team. I'm not so sure. In this shortened season, though, there's not that much time to find out this year.

- That still doesn't mean this team can't win as presently constructed, and I really can't stress that enough. If Marian Gaborik (bad last night) and Brad Richards (better but not good enough last night) go back to last year's levels this team is so much better than they are right now you can't even imagine it, even with the lack of depth. For whatever reason that hasn't happened this year. Can it happen between now and the playoffs? Of course it can. Is it likely? That I don't know.

- I still think the Rangers make the playoffs. Call me crazy. How far they go? That's a different story. I'll let you know when we get there.

Thoughts?

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