Rangers Vs. Avalanche: Rough Finish Costs Rangers A Point

Doug Pensinger

Notes from the Rangers shootout loss to the Avalanche.

- Let me start off by clarifying something I was wrong about yesterday (shocking I know). The Rangers' magic number is two (which means yesterday's "the magic number is three" post is still accurate) but even if the Washington Capitals lose in regulation tonight, the Rangers don't clinch a playoff spot. The one thing I didn't take into consideration was the Toronto Maple Leafs winning in addition to a one-point game from the Rangers. So the next time the Rangers win a game they're in the playoffs. Outside of a Rangers' win, the Capitals need to drop two more points and the Maple Leafs need to drop one. Or the Rangers can just win. You know, doing things the easy way.

- The other hockey game that mattered was the Flyers hosting the Blue Jackets. We talked about this yesterday, any result would help the Rangers, but avoiding a three-point game was the most important thing. That happened, with Columbus earning a 2-0 victory. Now the Rangers have a five-point cushion over the Blue Jackets (six, if you count the Rangers having the tiebreaker) and a four-point lead over the Flyers (five, if you count the Rangers having the tiebreaker).

- I always take the high altitude into consideration with Colorado. The Rangers looked gassed in the third, couldn't seem to get anything going, and it was night and day from the way they played in the first. Some of that, I'm sure, had to do with it being the final game of a West Coast swing, but some of it might have had to do with the altitude as well.

- Something I do think this game shows, however, is one of the things Alain Vigneault teams have done in the past. One of the biggest complaints coming from Vamcouver when I was asking around about him in the beginning of the season was his team's tenancies to "lock down and try to hold leads late in games." It's something he's gotten away from in New York, but when the Rangers are tired sometimes they revert back to that. They did on Thursday and it cost them.

- And then they found their legs in overtime, but it wasn't enough to end things.

- I thought Henrik Lundqvist was really good, and he only gave up one goal in the shootout. He ended up making 37 saves (15 in the third period) against the Rangers only mustering three shots on net in the final frame. That's a lot of time your defense has to worry about the opposition. Same goes for your keeper.

- I tweeted this last night, but I will reiterate it here. I know it's been an up and down season for him, but I really do think John Moore is going to be a special player. He's young (remember, defenseman take longer to develop), blazing fast and is just an amazing skater. He also has a great shot when he uses it, and he used is Thursday and scored the opening goal of the game.

- Appreciate Derek Stepan. That's all I'm saying about him since it's still Lent, but appreciate him.

- I thought Martin St. Louis was OK. He got two really quality chances and got stoned on both of them. I thought both shots were right where they needed to be, he just got countered with two great saves. If one or both of those go in, we're looking at him differently today.

- Rick Nash was active, I thought, and had a few good opportunities in the game. He's been a little up and down of late, too, but I don't have many complaints about his game.

- Derick Brassard is growing into last year's playoffs Brassard. Vital to do it now, too. Great to see.

Thoughts on this, guys?

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