Rangers Vs. Penguins: Two Losses In 24 Hours

Bruce Bennett

Notes from the Rangers' Game 3 loss to the Penguins.

- I know some of you will disagree (a million people wanted to kill me on Twitter last night), but I don't like that battle level/level of urgency from the Rangers last night. The first 40 minutes were better than the last 20 (not saying much), but the Rangers got that "oh woe is me" look to them when Mats Zuccarello's shot was reviewed and determined to not be a goal. And in the playoffs, against a team like that, you can't play that way.

- Alain Vigneault coddled this team after the game, which I think is absolutely the right decision. The room is tired, they're frustrated and fragile. They don't need someone to walk in, kick the doors in and throw punches. They need some supporting words, a day off and a fresh outlook tomorrow.

- And I'll fully admit I think most of the problem on Monday was the Rangers simply being gassed. This entire playoff schedule was bad when it happened, but it's worse now. The Rangers are the first team in the NHL to play seven playoff games in 11 nights since 1989. Read that last sentence again. What sense does that make? Every other playoff series has at leas one series of a two-day rest. The Rangers played three games in four nights. Unreal.

- The shot totals aren't a good representation of the tide of the game. The Penguins were more than happy to sit back and stop playing offense after their second goal. They were happy to ice the puck, clog up the neutral zone and destroy the flow to the game. It helps that the Rangers forecheck wasn't great, but still.

- I don't think Marc-Andre Fleury has been that good. The Rangers have made his life awfully easy these past two games. 120 minutes of hockey, exactly zero goals for the New York Rangers. Yes, they hit three posts, and yes, if any of those had gone in we might be looking at a different game. But I thought the Rangers hung their head in this game, I really did, and you won't win many playoff games like that.

- Rick Nash continues to be snakebitten, but at some point great players fight through it and put the team on their backs. I'm beginning to wonder if he's that type of player. Right now he isn't. The Rangers need him to be.

- Martin St. Louis is also pretty snakebitten. Either way, those are the Rangers' biggest guns and they've been no-shows in the Second Round. The power play, which is another major issue to the Rangers' current predicament, was also a no-show. Not surprisingly, the Rangers have scored no goals in 120 minutes.

- About the power play: it looked better on Monday, but didn't finish. I am a believer in a dangerous power play leaving a mark regardless of it generating a goal, but when a team is 0-for-33 it doesn't matter how good the power play looks. At some point, you need to score.

- Hopefully the team is resting tonight and they're ready to go on Wednesday, since that's now become a must-win game.

Thoughts?

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