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Rangers Vs. Lightning: More Of The Same

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Notes from the Rangers Game 3 loss to the Lightning.

Mike Carlson/Getty Images

- You can very easily say the New York Rangers got what they deserved, again, after playing "stupid and selfish" hockey as their captain said after Game 2 again in Game 3 on Thursday night.

- You're always going to be in trouble when your best players make mistakes or don't play their best. Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi? About as bad as those two have played this postseason both individually and as a pair. Henrik Lundqvist gave up a super soft overtime goal that very simply can't go in (more on this in a bit, though). Rick Nash had his worst game of the playoffs. Martin St. Louis getting booed every time he touched the puck didn't seem to make much of a difference at all. Derick Brassard still took some bad penalties and the team's defense as a whole was atrocious. Chris Kreider almost deserves his own paragraph for how bad of a game he played -- proving that sometimes being physical is a bad thing.

- But again, it starts at the top. There is no excuse for how poorly McDonagh played last night, there just isn't. Girardi is not a shutdown defender -- his spectacular play against the slower Washington Capitals is probably because how how much slower they were, Tampa is a much faster team and they have no issues running through him. The penalty kill was horrific even if Tampa makes it seem like they're just good at breaking it open. And deep defensive communication? Good luck finding any of that.

- I really do get the sense that we're where we were last series against Washington with Alain Vigneault. It's remarkably clear to everyone involved that Girardi isn't quick enough to handle the triplets. So why not move Marc Staal to that line and then move Girardi to Steven Stamkos so that he has someone he can focus on directly? Again, these are the little adjustments that need to be made this deep in the playoffs. The Lightning are a very good hockey team. They need to be treated as such.

- The power play has looked fantastic in this series. It's too bad the penalty kill has completely dropped off the table.

- In the same line of thinking, the offense finally erupts for five goals, seems to bail out the defense but then the defense drops the ball. So it goes.

- Positive Outlook: The Rangers, despite losing these past two games, can easily hang with the Lightning. The Rangers played terrible in Game 2 and could have won that game scoreline be damned, and they were better but still nowhere near good enough in Game 3 and they lost in overtime.

- Negative Outlook: It seems really, really daunting to have to beat the Lightning in three of the next four games. Makes Game 4 a must win, with all the pressure sitting on the Rangers shoulders.

Thoughts?