We all knew that this was a must win game for the New York Rangers. Here at the Banter specifically, we outlined that the Rangers have won two or three games before, but crumpled when it mattered. That couldn't happen tonight. Not without delivering a serious blow to the Rangers playoff chances, which is exactly what happened tonight. The Rangers have proved all season that they can be a good team, maybe even a very good team (at times), but they continue to show flaws that a playoff caliber team would not have.
One of those flaws is the lack of offense, which once again killed the Rangers tonight. Marian Gaborik hasn't been able to get onto the score sheet, Olli Jokinen looks lost half the time he is on the ice, and no matter what line combinations John Tortorella brews up they never deliver.
Aside from an accidental leg deflection by Sean Avery, the Rangers wouldn't have even gotten a goal. They finished the game with a mere 20 shots on net, which is a joke within itself. I can understand if the team is snake bit, I can understand if the puck just isn't bouncing their way, but when a team only musters 20 shots on net, they don't deserve to win.
This is the first time that I will do this but it's time to call out Gaborik. It's games like this where he needs to shine, and I would have expected more from him tonight. Obviously he has been the only reason (barring Lundqvist) that has kept this team afloat, and we can't expect him to score every game, but he was pretty invisible tonight.
Henrik Lundqvist stood on his head tonight, again. For everyone who has been on his case, stated that the Rangers should trade him, or have claimed that he isn't a number one goaltender; I have nothing more to say. If you need any proof that he isn't the problem, just watch the games, his play speaks for itself.
The end result of this game is not good for the Rangers. They are now three points behind the Boston Bruins for the 8th spot in the East, and now they are five points behind the Montreal Canadiens for the 7th spot. Boston has one game in hand on the Rangers.
I'll be curious to see what Tortorella has to say after the game. Whatever he has been doing thus far hasn't worked, let's hope he shakes things around. Not too much more to say on this, thoughts guys?