Rangers Vs. Flyers: And That Couldn't Have Gone Any Worse

USA TODAY Sports

Notes from the Rangers loss to the Flyers

- That day literally could not have gone any worse for the New York Rangers. They lose to the Flyers in regulation while the Islanders, Jets and Senators all win. That's a doomsday scenario right off the bat. The Rangers - now tied with Winnipeg for 8th place - are three points away from 7th and four points away from 6th. To say those two points left on the table Tuesday night were huge would be a massive understatement.

- Which is why it's shocking and scary that the Rangers didn't have any real jump or compete until the final 20 minutes of the game (where they were the better team by a mile). That's a game a playoff contending team has to win. They simply need to get those two points. I don't care how unlucky things were, you need the points. Note: I'm not making excuses -- the Rangers didn't play well enough at all -- but two decisive plays went against the Rangers. Brad Richards hits the post instead of tying the game at two, and a horrible roughing penalty gives the Flyers the power play they capitalize on to make things 3-1. You can't deny that the game is different if either of those two things doesn't happen. Then again, that's hockey and you have to find a way to bounce back. The Rangers didn't and now we're here.

- The power play was also an issue. 0-for-5. I'll repeat that: 0-for-5. In a one-goal game that's the difference right there. And to be honest, the Rangers would have been 0-for-10 the way they were playing last night. Of those 10 power play minutes, they might have been set up for about 90 seconds.

- And the other issue was the penalty kill being 1-for-2, including a sequence where John Tortorella removed Derek Stepan from the dot and replaced him with Richards, who immediately lost the faceoff clean for the Flyers' third and decisive goal.

- Speaking of Richards, I have no idea what's happened to him. I don't think he has any idea what's happened to him. He was really bad Tuesday, even worse on the power play - although he did hit the post - and has just been off all year. I still think the Rangers don't use their buyout on him until next season, but notice how that thought process has changed from "if the Rangers buy him out" to "when the Rangers buy him out." Not good.

- Rick Nash had a rough game and for whatever reason wasn't on the ice to start two or three power plays. Why? It's one of three things: 1) with the Boyle injury Tortorella didn't want to run Nash into the ground and wanted to give him a rest (as it was, Nash played 22 minutes). 2) Tortorella was sending a message. 3) Nash is hurting more than people think. My guess would be answer 1, but answer 3 wouldn't shock me, either.

- I have a funny feeling people will start appreciating Brian Boyle for everything he does now that he's out (if he's out for an extended period of time). No one was there to take defensive zone draws and guys like Taylor Pyatt and Darroll Powe were seeing big minutes in the third because there was no Boyle to soak up some of those minutes. Some people don't know what they have until it's gone.

- Same goes for Michael Del Zotto. Boy did the Rangers dodge a bullet that he wasn't more seriously injured. I'm sure many will focus on the horrid giveaway on the power play early, but he didn't have a bad game at all.

- Some good things now. Mats Zuccarello had one of this best games as a Ranger, scoring his first goal of the year and was active all night. He played 17 minutes and made a few things happen on the power play. At times I think he tried to force things on the man advantage, but who didn't?

- Derek Stepan scored another goal, nearly scored another and made a few glorious passes that could have been finished as well. Ho hum.

- I thought Derrick Brassard was really, really good. He had an assist on the Stepan goal, was a decisive part of a really pretty give-and-go to set up John Moore for a brilliant chance and used his frame well down low and in front of the net. You would love to see him shoot the puck more, but I think he was making the right decisions last night.

- Speaking of Moore, I'm loving this kid. I really am. He is such a good skater that he creates offense with and becomes remarkably dangerous out of his own zone. He started and finishes rushes two or three times last night and finished with an assist. I have a feeling this kid is going to be something special.

- I expected a huge game from Ryane Clowe, but he was mostly invisible to me.

- Back to the drawing board, I guess. Rangers have some "easy" games coming up on the schedule. 5-0-1 still puts them in the playoffs no matter what happens. You just hate to lose a game like this.

Thoughts?

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