Rangers Vs. Penguins: Just Not Good Enough
Notes from the Rangers loss to the Penguins in Game 4.
- There was a lot of ugly in that game, but let's start with the real ugly. If you were one of the people who booed Rick Nash in the third period you should be ashamed of yourself. I've been going to games for a long time, and that's the first time I can say I was appalled. That was a disgusting display. There's no way around it. As Alain Vigneault highlighted after the game: ultimately the fans can do what they want. But if that's the image you want to portray as a fan, I don't want to be associated with you. Booing the entire team is one thing. But signaling out one of your own players? At home? It's a disgrace.
- The other ugly, obviously, is the way the Rangers played. That's not the effort you want from your team with their backs against the wall. I'm not saying the season is over (and I mean that) but they're quite clearly on life support. Then again, you win a game in Pittsburgh and you come back to New York for Game 6. There's an opportunity there, but you have to come out better than they have all series.
- The real "this team just isn't good enough" moment happened about a minute after the Mats Zuccarello goal. You know, when Martin St. Louis (more on him in a minute) completely ignored his man, and Chris Kunitz buried the Penguins' four goal, killing the Rangers.
- St. Louis admitted it was the worst playoff game he's ever played. He's been bad all series. Much worse, may I add, than the player that was booed by his own fans, mind you. But logic never goes far with those folks anyway.
- I'm not going to run up the list of who was bad. Everyone was. Ryan McDonagh better be hurt, because he's not playing good hockey. Dan Girardi was just as lost. I've said this about three million times since the playoffs started: When your best players continuously make mistakes you're going to lose hockey games.
- Case and point: Both Nash and St. Louis screwing with the puck and making insane decisions at the blue line (either during, or right after the power play) that resulted in goals. Marc Staal playing lackadaisical hockey behind his own net, and then finishing the job by accidentally deflecting the puck past Henrik Lundqvist. Bad and worse.
- I actually don't think Lundqvist was bad at all. There's really nothing he can do about the Evgeny Malkin goal where the puck hits two players and falls right on his stick (although he should have had the pads squeezed). Two goalies couldn't have stopped the second goal. The third goal was another horrible break. The fourth goal was a defensive breakdown special and left Kunitz all alone in front.
- The offense was horrific. 15 shots. Four shots in the third period. Four. That's the battle level of this team right now. Be it fatigue, injuries, horrible luck and fatigue again just to drive the point home. Or maybe all of the above. Probably all of the above.
- For what it's worth, I'm happy with the way the room rallied around Nash after the boos. They're probably happy to go play in Pittsburgh. And if you can't recognize that to be a problem I don't know what else to tell you.
- That may have been Brad Richards last game at home as a New York Ranger.