Rangers Analysis: How will the Rangers respond?

When the Rangers lost two days ago against the San Jose Sharks the Rangers lost a lot more than just two points. In fact there five streaks broken last night when the final buzzer went off. Here they are:

  • The Rangers had their 7 game win streak snapped
  • Vinny Prospal had a 7 game point streak snapped (3g 8a)
  • Marian Gaborik had an 8 game point streak snapped (6g 6a)
  • Steve Valiquette had no longer shut out every team he has played
  • The Penalty Kill no longer looked unstoppable

You know what? Good! That's right, good. During the game when the Rangers were down 5-2 I was in the live chat reading you guys hoping that "Gaborik scored to keep his streak alive" or that "Prospal assists on Gaborik's goal so that they can keep their streaks alive." It's not your fault, I was thinking the same thing. And I'm willing to bet my bottom dollar that the Rangers were too. Those distractions cannot be there if the Rangers truly expect to make a splash in the NHL this year. They have to focus on just playing hockey and not worrying about winning every night, because at the end of the day even the best hockey teams drop 20 or so during a season.

In my opinion the Rangers were a hot team that got overconfident. Call this game a wake-up call, at least it better have been. You can't keep taking an exorbitant amount of penalties and expect to win games. The Rangers have taken at least 6 penalties in all of the past 5 games. In the first four the penalties didn't come back to bite them, last night against the Sharks it did.

Another problem that the Rangers are now facing is John Tortorella. It is pretty apparent that Torts does not like using his backup--and after a game like last night who can blame him. It would not surprise me at all to see Tortorella give Henrik Lundqvist the nod over Steve Valiquette a lot over the course of the season--especially if Valiquette continues to play the way he did against the Sharks--which would be a problem. We here at the Banter, and many of you as well, have all been in agreement that Lundqvist needs to be rested more this season--so that the extra burden of being the goalie for the Swedish Olympic team won't wear him out like it did in 2005-2006.

Tomorrow nights game against the New Jersey Devils is going to be a big one. If you want to look at measuring sticks through the season mark this game down as one of them. Can the Rangers rebound from a bad loss to the Sharks or will they drop one against their Hudson River rivals? How will the youth respond after the teams worst game of the season?

So what do you guys think? Let us know in the comments!