These notes aren't going to be so much a notes from the New York Rangers' loss to the San Jose Sharks but more of a collection of thoughts I have about the team overall. Some thoughts from the game will be sprinkled in, but we all know the bulk of what happened Sunday afternoon.
- I refuse to accept the Rangers have an offense problem. They have no issues creating chances, getting good opportunities and making sure they have more of those moments than their opponents. The Rangers' problem comes in the final stage of those opportunities: Finishing them. The Rangers have a finishing problem, and yes this is an offensive problem when you boil it down, but this team doesn't have the same problems last year's team did. The Rangers didn't get chances last year, they're getting chances this year, they're just not finishing them.
- One of the biggest factors for the above? The Rangers don't know how to utilize quick shots, apparently. Against the Sharks the Rangers had four opportunities where taking a quick shot would have resulted in a probable goal. Instead, the Ranger on the scoring side of things stick handled the puck just long enough to give the goaltender or the defense enough time to make a play. Look no further than Ryan McDonagh taking an extra two seconds to handle Dan Carcillo's cross-crease pass. It's the difference between a 1-0 scoreline and a 1-1 scoreline.
- Some of the above has to do with puck luck too. Derick Brassard gets stoned on a play where Antti Niemi didn't even realize he made the save. Toronto once again put on an amazing disaster by making the decision that Carl Hagelin's goal wouldn't count because they couldn't prove the puck was over the line. I understand the decision, actually, but that call easily could have gone either way. And with the way decisions have been going for the Rangers this year, you had to know it was going to go against them.
- And those two points might be the difference between making the playoffs and not making the playoffs. The Rangers can't seem to find a win, the Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets can't seem to find a regulation loss. That adds up to anxiety for Rangers fans.
- It's not just about making the playoffs either. It's about avoiding Pittsburgh or Boston in the first round, which means avoiding the wildcard spots.
- The defense, I think, hasn't been bad. And the goaltending certianly hasn't been bad. The Rangers are just giving up goals at the wrong time, and then their offense can't bail them out.
Not much more to say really. Thoughts on all this guys?