Following their disappointing loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night, The Rangers travel to San Jose to face the Pacific Division leading Sharks to finish out their short 2-game West coast swing. Pretty late in the season to be having one of these, eh?
New York will be looking to rebound off a loss where most players admitted to not putting forth their best effort and their coach Tortorella had a rather frank assessment of his own. And with the team struggling to hold a playoff spot as well as having fewer games remaining than any other contending teams, it sure is a discouraging time to not play your best.
No excuses can be made for it either. Prior to Wednesday’s game, the Rangers’ last contest was Sunday’s disarming of the Eastern Conference leading Philadelphia Flyers; momentum, going into the game, was on the Rangers side. Plus, other than Marty Biron being out with a broken collarbone, this is the healthiest the Rangers have been all season.
Your Boys in Blue had the opportunities in the Anaheim game to at least stage a comeback. But, as it has been for most of the season, the puck just wouldn’t bounce in the Rangers favor.
Two Rangers, including Brandon Dubinksy, had wide open nets on Ducks G Dan Ellis, but instead shot right into the net minder; negating the glorious scoring chances they were given. Even Anaheim’s first 3 goals were the beneficiaries of good luck, having pucks go off of Artem Anisimov, Dan Girardi, and Marc Staal.
San Jose is no slouch of an opponent either. They’re 3rd in the West with 85 points and always play tough in the Shark Tank. If the Rangers thought the Ryan-Getzlaf-Perry line was a handful, wait till they have to defend the likes of “Jumbo” Joe Thornton, The All-Star Dany Heatly, Patrick Marleau, and Dan Boyle.
The Rangers can ill afford another lackadaisical effort against San Jose; their playoff livelihood depends on it. Which team will show up? The lunch-pail, blue-collar bunch that exceeded expectations in the early going and had everyone believing “playoffs?” Or the team that has frustrated Rangers’ fans since the calender moved to 2011?