Going into the series I predicted the New York Rangers to defeat the Ottawa Senators in five or six games. The Rangers can still beat the Senators in six games, but the blueshirts have a long road ahead of them.
What I didn't expect coming into the series was the blatant lack of effort from some of the players. Not only is it unacceptable, but it stands a very strong chance of getting the Rangers eliminated from the playoffs.
After being ejected from game two for defending his teammate, the comments about Brandon Dubinsky were all positive, such as that he would "come out with fire in his belly," or he would "have the game we have all been waiting for him to have." Nope. Besides a few drives to the net here or there, Dubinsky has been absolutely horrendous.
Not only has Dubinsky not played his usual defense, but on offense he has been completely lazy. In game four the Rangers had a scoring chance as the puck was loose by the boards, and rather than going after the puck, Dubinsky stood, watched Brian Boyle fight off two players for the puck, and just watched. The Rangers lost the puck, and the Senators almost scored.
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While Dubinsky needs to step it up, he is not the only player. Derek Stepan needs to Derek step up! (Had to get a corny joke in there) Stepan has played mediocre offense at best, but has at least made up for it with solid defense. Ruslan Fedotenko has thought too much. Brad Richards hasn't exactly been a star. Artem Anisimov had an off night in game four, he is excused.
Outside of Marian Gaborik, Ryan Callahan, Brian Boyle, the defense, and Henrik Lundqvist, this team does not look like a team that is fighting for a spot in the next round. I know it's a narrative and it's cliche, but the Senators are playing like the team that wants it more.
That has to change, or we will be discussing our off-season plans soon.