The Rangers got a point. Yea…. It should have been two. Chad Johnson played ridiculously well in his first NHL start. Two of those saves were world class. And the two shots that beat him in the shootout were legit. Nor was there fault with the team’s effort (or result) in regulation and OT. There was something critically wrong with the Rangers this game though — it’s coaching.
I don’t understand Tortorella at times. Well, often. Tortorella’s choice of shooters in the shootout was, at best, strange. It started off fine. He led with Christensen. Statistically, one of the best in the NHL and he has been playing very well of late. But from there, there were some serious question marks. Second was Callahan. I love Cally, but really??? He never looks good on breakaways. Not a horrible choice, but pretty close. Third was Gaborik. I suppose you go with your studs, but he is not good in shootouts. Not Jagr bad, but close. It’s shocking but true. 0-3 going into last night. Granted he scored, but still a weird choice. (Sidenote: Didn’t Gaborik look real off last night? He definitely had a noticeable lack of key minutes and was not on the final power play. Unusual.) Fourth was Kotalik. A shootout stud. You have to use him. My problem is waiting to use him fourth. He should be in the top three. Always. Without exception. Then fifth was Del Zotto. DZ’s got potential . But a rookie defenseman, in his first ever shootout attempt, in a must score situation? Strange. It wasn’t akin to using Marek Malik, but we weren’t in the 15th round yet either. How about Higgins? Or Lisin? Or Dubinsky?
Some highly questionable shooter choices, and even more so, ordering questions. Tortorella likes to coach constantly. Here, his overcoaching probably cost the Rangers a win, and Johnson his first NHL victory. The team and its goaltender — and its fans — deserved better.