Rangers Vs. Hurricanes: That Was Ugly

Grant Halverson

Notes from the Rangers' loss to the Hurricanes.

- If you're the New York Rangers, and you're in that kind of a fight for a playoff spot, you cannot lose a game like that against a team like that. I don't care about this "trap game" mentality, the Rangers need to be prepared for every team they face from this point forward, and that effort was disgusting. Or, as the headline accurately describes, ugly.

- I can think of only a few players that actually showed up. Henrik Lundqvist, who was hung out to dry in style on the first two goals, was one of them. Martin St. Louis (who caught a classic case of "can't finish itis") was another. Mats Zuccarello was OK in spurts. Same for Benoit Pouliot. Give the fourth line some props, and Cam Talbot some too because, well, he at least looked like he was ready.

- Everyone else? Yuck. Rick Nash was non-existent. Derek Stepan was better but by no means was he good. Chris Kreider was at least physical, but he didn't do anything either. Carl Hagelin, Brad Richards and Derick Brassard? Nowhere to be found.

- Marc Staal had one of his worst games of the year (actually, that might have been his worst game in years) and Dan Girardi wasn't great either. Anton Stralman had his problems, Kevin Klein looked OK (and scored his first goal as a Ranger) and I don't remember seeing John Moore which has to be a good thing after a game like that.

- The good news? That's one of the worst games I've seen the Rangers play all year. Remember when the Rangers went through that spell where they were dominating opponents but not finishing and they were losing games? I kept saying, "trust me, losing like this is better than getting dominated the entire game." Not many people believed me. Just look at that effort and ask yourself the same question again. It's a tough game to rebound from.

- Why is the above good news? Because it's really not a performance you see from this team often. They're often much, much better than that. And I do believe this team is disgusted by that performance and I do believe they will bounce back. It's just a result you want to avoid, especially against a team like that.

- A quick note on St. Louis: I'm not worried that he's not finishing those chances. And people who are suddenly saying he looks "old" and "slow" and "over the hill" are (as usual) making knee-jerk reactions over a very small sample size. Like I talked about when Nash was going through his spell in the middle of the year: I don't worry when guys aren't finishing chances as much as I worry when guys aren't getting chances. St. Louis is getting chances, that breakaway was a Grade A chance, he just got stoned. It happens. Eventually he'll break out of this little funk, put the puck into the back of the net, and the goals will come in bunches. The panic some people (not really here, mind you) is funny sometimes.

- The Rangers now have a single point lead over Columbus and Philadelphia for second place in the division. Both teams have one game in hand. The Rangers do have one more ROW, though.

- Which is why that's such a tough two points to lose.

Thoughts on that mess, guys?

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