Rangers Vs. Maple Leafs: Well, That Was Disappointing
Notes from the Rangers loss to the Maple Leafs.
- There are certain times in sports when you make a judgment on something based off of the "sniff test" or "the eye exam." It's things you believe where there is no statistical date to prove or disprove the conclusion you've come to, it's just based off a gut feeling. Last night's team passed the sniff test for me. Pre-deadline, I would have assumed the game was over at 3-1 and probably been thinking "I doubt we come back" when it was 2-0. Post-trade? I had complete faith the Rangers would find a way to come back - and they did, they just didn't finish. There's no way to prove the pre-deadline team would have tied the game, but I just don't see it happening.
- And you can see some of the differences post-deadline. This group of guys won't go down without a fight. They simply won't quit. And Monday night, they used that grit and grind to tie the game. That's nice to see. The battle level is there now, the intensity and toughness is, too. So is the offense. Things are better.
- That being said, when you're down 3-1 and score two goals in the third period to tie the game on the road, I fully believe you have to win that game. You just have to. The Rangers are fighting for a playoff spot, they had a chance to catch the Maple Leafs in the standings (if they won Monday and again on Wednesday) and they let these two points slip off the table. That's not good.
- Lots of blame to go around in this one. Both Michael Del Zotto and Dan Girardi were victimized all night by the Maple Leafs. Basic mistakes by both cost the Rangers the game, especially after the game was knotted up. That's not good either.
- I will throw this in here as well. The same people who were demanding Derek Stepan be traded and assuming there was no way he would reach his potential are the same people saying those things about Del Zotto. Del Zotto is 22, defense is the hardest position to learn in the NHL and post Marc Staal injury, Del Zotto has been one of the Rangers best defenseman. Cut the kid a break, he had a bad game. It happens. But patience is a virtue. And I'll never understand people being happy a player on their team is doing poorly. It makes no sense to me.
- Rick Nash, I mean, what else can you say? The guy single-handedly tried to pull the Rangers onto his back and give them two much-needed points. He scored two goals, and was one of the Rangers two best offensive players last night. Too bad the defense couldn't bail him out.
- The other top player? You guessed it. Stepan. A shorthanded game-tying goal and an assist on one of the Nash goals. There's not much else you can say about him. He's been fantastic.
- Derick Brassard, Brian Boyle and Carl Hagelin all played from 10-13 minutes in the game. I don't like that at all. Two of those three players can be counted on for offense. Let guys like Ryan Callahan, Ryane Clowe and Brad Richards sit a little more and give those guys a few more minutes. The Rangers have depth now, use it.
- Speaking of Hagelin, why is he exempt from the Rangers fans' ire? In the past 15 games he's scored a goal and added two assists. I'm not saying people should get on him (everyone slumps and he's still young). Just curious why some players get a free pass and others don't. Needless to say, the Rangers miss his offense. When he comes back alive watch out, because it's another guy who can put the puck into the back of the net.
- My goodness the Rangers miss Staal.
- John Moore had an assist on the Nash goal in nine minutes of ice time. I wish he was playing a little bit more, too. My gosh that kid can skate.
- Overall, the Rangers are probably gunning for the sixth seed. That's going to be the easiest matchup of the playoffs for a non-top seed. The Rangers can get there, but they have to grab those precious points when they're in front of them. They missed that chance last night. Hopefully they take care of business Wednesday.