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Rangers Vs. Blue Jackets: Not Good Enough

Notes from the Rangers loss to the Blue Jackets

Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

- Before we go any further I would like to remind all of you: The Rangers are missing their number one center, a top four defenseman and they played their backup goaltender Saturday night. That's not exactly the group Alain Vigneault is going to be using in the playoffs, now is it?

- There's so much bad we may as well focus on some good at the top. Anthony Duclair had two assists, sported a 58 CF% and had a really strong game all around -- including a drawn penalty and a brilliant steal and shoot that hit the crossbar. Lee Stempniak might be the Rangers best player the past two games. Ryan McDonagh was Ryan McDonagh, that's about where the positives end.

- The penalty kill continues to be a bright spot for the Rangers, and the power play looked good without converting.

- Rick Nash had a pretty good game and scored a goal. He made a perfect pass to Martin St. Louis that got denied on a brilliant save. Chris Kreider looked good all night, but took a 2/5/10 for his instigator penalty (which was the right thing to do at the time). That line got eaten alive at times, though. Keep in mind Kreider was only able to play nine minutes.

- Mats Zuccarello and Derick Brassard? Well, Brassard was far better than Zuccarello but that's not really saying much. Zuccarello got smacked around like a pinball all night and -- in a scary moment -- hurt his shoulder that forced him to go to the locker room. Brassard looked good on the power play and had a few chances. In the defensive end both Zuccarello and Brassard puck watched on two goals. I know it's a horrible stat, but Zuccarello was a -4 and Brassard was a -3 in the game.

- I like Kevin Klein as a third pairing defenseman. Last night should be all the proof you need, however, that he is absolutely not a second pairing defenseman. My word did that pairing (Marc Staal on the other side) look bad. I'm not sure how much blame I'm able to assess to Staal, since on at least two of the Blue Jackets goals it was Klein who was out of position and unable to contain the forward.

- I think Hagelin will work with Zuccarello and Brassard eventually, but it might make some sense to move Duclair there. He's just as fast as Hagelin is, has much better offensive instincts and should love being paired with two pass-first teammates. Just a thought.

- Cam Talbot didn't have a great game but the defense in front of him most of the night was horrid.

- Jesper Fast might actually be better than Brian Boyle defensively on the fourth line. His speed is a massive factor here, coming back to break up plays from the neutral zone. I've liked what I've seen from him.

- St. Louis won 40% of his faceoffs. Pretty nice jump from the 36% he won in the first game.

- Not much sure how much more detail I can go in. The Rangers got outplayed and outworked. That can't happen. Bounce back tonight.