Rangers Vs. Sabres: Wait, What Happened?
Notes from the Rangers loss to the Sabres
- I'll start with something I tweeted last night: I don't think the Rangers played a bad game, they got a few unlucky breaks and ended up losing the game. Now, I will also say that the Rangers should have won Tuesday night. If they fancy themselves as a Cup contender, that's a game you need to win, and they didn't. I don't think it was as bad as some made it out to be, but it was a loss, and those are two points the Rangers needed.
- Since I'm complaining, I'll put this up here, too. John Tortorella is a coach I respect, and I think he's the right man for the job. However, there are a couple of things he does that I strongly disagree with. Putting grinders on the top lines late in games when the Rangers are losing is one of them. Micheal Haley didn't play bad at all, but he shouldn't have replaced Marian Gaborik on the second line. When Tortorella does that it hurts so much more than it helps. I get that guys have to earn their time, but you're basically giving minutes to someone who doesn't have much of a chance to tie the game. Not worth the risk in my book, and I can't remember a time that it's ever worked for the Rangers under Tortorella.
- The power play (in it's one opportunity) looked really, really good despite not scoring. They created chances, took good shots and even got robbed twice by a backup goaltender who played the game of his life. One of those pucks goes in and it's 2-2 and we're not even having this conversation. But they didn't and here we are.
- I don't care how amazing Ryan Callahan's pass was (and it was amazing) but Derek Stepan keeps scoring goals. He was one of the Rangers best forwards in the game by a mile.
- The officiating was bad. Not horrid, but bad. The Sabres had five power plays to the Rangers one. We're the Sabres angels? Nope. Not even close. But if the ref doesn't put his hand in the air it doesn't count. Nothing you can do about it, and it's not an excuse for losing the game, but it doesn't help.
- J.T. Miller looked really good. I love the poise and confidence this kid plays with. However, he did make a critical error when the score was 2-1 (although it might have been 3-1 at that point, I can't remember). He was at the blue line and tried to slide the puck through a defenders' legs and take it out the other side. The move didn't work. That wasn't the problem, though. The problem was that Miller had cycled high and only had one defenseman back. The result? A 3-on-1 that created a good scoring chance. You can't make mistakes like that in a close game, they'll kill you.
- First game in a long time Rick Nash wasn't dominant. He still took six shots and created some chances, but he wasn't his typical do everything self. Still a good game, but not what we've grown used to.
- Brad Richards still looks like he's getting better. Good to see.
- Henrik Lundqvist was really, really good. The save he made when the game was 0-0 was so stupid I don't even know how to describe it other than stupid. Nothing he could do about the first, second or third goals. Defensive letdowns on every one of them.
- Speaking of, not a great game from Dan Girardi (although there was nothing he could do about the Thomas Vanek goal) and Ryan McDonagh. It happens.
- Steve Eminger and Matt Gilroy looked lost. Roman Hamrlik is an upgrade over both, I think. But he needs to get in shape before he can prove me right or wrong.