How many Rangers’ fans woke up this morning and hoped the embarrassing game they witnessed between the Rangers and Islanders last night was a cruel, unfunny April Fool’s joke? Well, unfortunately, it was all real. Your Blueshirts went in to Nassau Coliseum still clinging on to solid footing for the playoffs and left with the realization that the post-season may actually not happen with a disbelieving, effortless 6-2 loss.
Conventional wisdom would dictate that the Rangers, coming off a questionable effort the night before in Buffalo, would come out with a sense of desperation in a critical game to try and right the ship. Apparently, the Rangers do not believe in conventional wisdom. Or giving 100% effort right now.
Vinny Prospal gave the Rangers an early 1-0 lead in the 1st period. But, it was downhill from there as 4 different Islanders scored in the 2nd period (only the 2nd time all season the Rangers have given up 4 goals in a period) and 2 more in the 3rd to seal the game in favor of the Long Island. Brandon Dubinsky scored a ho-hum goal to make the box score 6-2. Once the score got out of hand in the 3rd period, the Islanders showed their true colors and decided to unleash the rough stuff as several fights broke out.
Let’s take a took at how the game unfolded, even though it may be too painful to relive…
There is absolutely nothing positive to take away from this game. Period. As Sam Rosen posed to John Tortorella in his excuse for a press conference, this game is one where you burn the tapes and forget it ever happened. Although, if the Rangers do miss the playoffs, it will be looked at as one of the key reasons for not making it in.
Where do I begin?
How about an 0-7 job on the power play, including botching a 5-on-3 power play that lasted more than a minute. This, in my opinion, was the turning point of the game. The Rangers were already up 1-0 and had the chance to turn the game in their favor with the Islanders reeling from boneheaded penalties. Instead, they fail miserably, let the Islanders stay in the game and eventually relinquish the lead.
And to add to that point, I understand both Marian Gaborik and Bryan McCabe were off for penalties on that 5-on-3. But Mats Zuccarello and Erik Christensen have no business being on the points there. They looked completely clueless. No business whatsoever. I have to question what John Tortorella was thinking.
There was no defensive coverage whatsoever. The Islanders had the freedom to roam wherever they chose to. Radek Martinek could have had a 2-hour nap before blasting his shot past Henrik Lundqvist. Matt Moulson was left alone to play pepper in front of Lundqvist on his goal. Inexcusable defensive effort from a normally reliable defensive team.
What’s troubling is that the malaise over the Rangers right now is team wide. Key players like Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky, and even Marc Staal and Dan Girardi are all playing without their competitive edge and usual drive. Specifically, Ryan Callahan, which is even more troublesome. It’s no surprise as Callahan goes so goes the Rangers. Callahan needs to find a way to get his tenacity back before it’s too late.
5 goals in 5 games now. There’s nothing more that needs to be said.
All ranting aside, the Rangers playoffs hopes are in serious jeopardy after these 2 stinging losses. At least in the Buffalo game, the Rangers put up some sort of 3rd period effort to get the tying goal. In this game, there was no sense of urgency, no hustle. If this is the type of effort you’re going to put forth with the playoffs no guarantee yet, then you don’t deserve to be in the playoffs. It’s a shame to say that considering how good of a season overall the Rangers have had and how few and far between efforts like the one witnessed have occurred.
The fighting in the 3rd period was a joke on both teams ends. For me, it seemed like the Rangers were trying to make up for 2 1/2 period of listless hockey by fighting in a way to exonerate themselves. Play 60 minutes of tough, hard-nosed hockey and you won’t be down 6-2. For the Islanders, I’m not surprised they wanted to drop the gloves. When you employ thugs like Trevor Gillies, Zenon Konopka, and Michael Haley its the type of behavior that’s expected. And after the Brandon Dubinsky goal late in the 3rd to make it 6-2, why is Gillies even out on the ice other than to pound some flesh. I’m glad the referees ushered him to the locker room. A bush league move by Isles coach Jack Capuano, who I thought was a better coach than that.
Where They Stand:
These past 2 losses are crippling for the Rangers (41-32-5 87 pts) as they still remain 8th in the East tied with Buffalo (39-29-9 87 pts), but Carolina (37-30-10 84 pts) is right behind them and have a game in hand.
Is not until Sunday against the Eastern Conference leading Philadelphia Flyers in a 12:30PM NBC Game of the Week down in Philly.
Make sure to check the Eyes On Isles blog here on FanSided to see their thoughts & opinions on last night’s game.