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Rangers Vs. Canadiens: Is There A Goal Shortage Or Something?

Notes from the Rangers loss to the Canadiens.

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

I have a minor rant to go on, so please give me the next few paragraphs to release the poison. What's that, you don't mind at all? Thanks!

- When you don't dress your best lineup on a given night (assuming everyone is healthy, which was the case yesterday) you open up the door for countless questions about what could have been. In a game where the Rangers managed to score as many goals as you or I did sitting from our couches, don't you think it's a regretful decision to sit a guy like J.T. Miller who can actually provide offense to the team? Tanner Glass has one point (an assist) in 33 games this year. That's a 0.03 point per game percentage. Miller has 10 points (five goals) in 24 games. That's a 0.41 point per game percentage.

- And while there's no tangible way to prove Miller being in the lineup would have made any difference last night, like I said above, by not dressing him you have to ask the question. Does the top six need to be better? Absolutely, and we're going to get to that in a minute. But when you look at the potential results both players could provide, why wouldn't you bet on a guy who has nine times the points in nine less games?

- There's also a ripple effect. Jesper Fast and Kevin Hayes (Glass' linemates) saw less ice time than they've seen in about a month, because Alain Vigneault smartly shortened his bench because that line was having issues all game. Both Fast and Hayes had a rough go all night; want to take a guess as to the difference between that line succeeding and what happened yesterday? Go ahead, I'll give you two tries.

- And finally, this has nothing to do with Glass the person. Said this before, will say it again. He's an active member of the You Can Play movement, he seems like a genuinely good guy and teammate, but that doesn't translate to the ice. The Rangers are a four-line team without him. With him, they're a three-line team. Oh, any by the way, when the Rangers do have a competent bottom six, usually one line carries the other depending on the day. Last night when the third line struggled, Vigneault couldn't lean on the fourth line to pick up the pieces because they couldn't handle the minutes. If you don't see that as being a problem I don't know what to tell you.

- Also, Glass had his best game as a Ranger last night without question. Miller still would have been a option and it's not even close.

- Now, for the top six. I'm excluding Rick Nash from this discussion because he carried this team all season as was bound to cool off eventually. Nash is still getting chances -- which is how I quantify a slump being a red flag or not -- they're just not going in. Whatever, it happens. But Martin St. Louis (who to be fair is also getting chances) is having his slump stretch to scary lengths. Mats Zuccarello has been in a funk for a couple of weeks now -- but the advanced stats paint a prettier picture of him, so I'm not totally worried. Still, not having his offense come through hurts.

- Derick Brassard and Derek Stepan were active all night -- Stepan was a beast defensively -- but they still remain guilty of being too fancy. On the rare 2-on-1 with Nash, Brassard passed. I have no issues with him passing, but I do have an issue with him turning to Nash (away from the net) from the top of the circle telegraphing his pass for a good two seconds. At least have the threat you're going to shoot.

- The power play was dreadful again. Forget about it not scoring, you need to generate something. There's been so much standing still the past few power plays I'm beginning to suspend while AV was sick he let John Tortorella and Mike Sullivan substitute teach for the team's power play class. Do something, guys. You have space, use it.

- Wouldn't it have been nice to have Miller to try and fire up one of the power play units?

- Anyone blaming the game on Henrik Lundqvist is missing the point. Yes, it's a really bad goal at an even worse time. He needs to stop that, plain and simple. But, there were plenty of other shots in the game he didn't need to stop that he did. So the fact the game even got to that point was because of him. Just like in the loss to the Islanders, you need to bail your goalie out in that situation.

- To be fair to the offense, the Rangers have run into two really hot goalies. Jaroslav Halak stood on his head Tuesday and Carey Price is one of the elite goalies in the league. I actually thought the Rangers were better Thursday, but they still need more out of their top six.

- Marc Staal played a great game, I thought. So did Kevin Klein. Dan Boyle? Not so much. A lot of people are panicking about Ryan McDonagh's "drop off" but I really don't think that's fair. Dan Girardi has had a really tough stretch of hockey and sometimes it looks like McDonagh is playing two positions at once. Can't stretch him that thin and not expect something to happen.

- I forgot how easy it is to hate Montreal. P.K. Subban dives, takes little cheap shots and does his normal thing, and Habs fans are still crying over the Chris Kreider incident last year that, you know, their own defenseman made happen. Let's just say I don't miss playing those guys. Enough tears to leak through my computer screen and break my keyboard. That doesn't even take into account Brendan Gallagher pushing the net over on Lundqvist or the six or seven guaranteed Tomas Plekanec dives. Imagine if Kreider pushed the net on Price like Gallagher did last night? Habs fans would have called the cops. Not like they've ever done that before.