Rangers Vs. Senators: That Was Underwhelming
The Rangers failed to clinch a playoff berth against the Senators on Saturday.
- Last night was a game of opportunities for the New York Rangers. Not only could they have clinched a playoff berth with a single point against the Ottawa Senators, but they also could have put more distance between themselves and the Philadelphia Flyers in the race for home ice thanks to the Bruins beating the Flyers earlier in the afternoon. The team did neither, and now it's another waiting game.
- The Flyers will host the Buffalo Sabres tonight, which is the only game of note for the Rangers to keep an eye on. A Philadelphia win will push the Flyers a point behind the Rangers for second with a game in hand. The next important games don't happen until Tuesday when Philadelphia and Columbus play.
- That's a pretty anti-climatic game, really. Playing at home, a chance to clinch the playoffs against a team who played the night before and the Rangers came out like that. Blerg.
- Things got better in the second and the third but it was another example of a "too little too late" effort from the team. The power play -- much like Martin St. Louis -- continues to get chances without scoring. Derick Brassard (who I thought was fantastic) had the puck on his stick with the net wide open and it hopped over his stick. Some of it was luck, some of it was the team not doing what got them to 3-2 in the first place.
- Some of that? The Rangers had success scoring with bullets from the point with men in front of the net. John Moore and Marc Staal both had their point shots deflected in by Mats Zuccarello for the only two goals of the game from the Rangers. After that, the Rangers looked like they were loath to shoot the puck from the point. Why? I have no idea. But in a game like that you stick with what works and the Rangers didn't.
- Rick Nash had a rough game in my book. More than a few times he had the puck on an even rush down the ice and rather than try to drive it to the net he peeled off to the outside to try and make a pass. You're the goal scorer, Rick, go to the front of the net please.
- Zuccarello -- who did have two goal and a great game -- might pass the puck on a breakaway.
- I don't even know what to say about the final three minutes of the game. Chris Neil (you know, straight-shooter Chris Neil) hits Marc Staal late, Staal tries to drop the gloves with him and Neil punches Staal multiple times while he's on the ice helpless and Staal gets the extra two minutes. Nothing for the late hit, of course, though. It was an atrocious call by the officials who had a remarkably bad game. Ho hum unfortunately.
- Henrik Lundqvist fought the puck the first 40 minutes, a lot. But in the third period he made three glove saves that brought the building to its feet.
- So now we wait. Again. The Rangers can back in with a Capitals dropped point or do it themselves and just win a game. Or even bring a game to overtime. That's it.