Brandon Dubinsky & Marcus Johansson getting more acquainted. (www.espn.com

Offensively Challenged: Rangers Ineptitude Costs Them Game 2, Lose 2-0 to Caps

Vinny Prospal's frustrations must be at a boiling point: his team is down 2-0 to the Eastern Conference's best team. (www.espn.com)

Down 1-0 in the series, the New York Rangers came into Game 2 looking to atone for their lack of offense from Game 2. They approached the game having a sense of confidence knowing they could play with Washington. Early on, it looked as if the Rangers were going to be more of a threat for rookie goalie Michael Neuvirth. However, it was more of the same as the Washington Capitals were able to come away with a shutout by a 2-0 and take a 2-0 series lead into Madison Square Garden.

After a solid road period  by the Rangers, it would be Jason Chimera who would draw first blood after a great tic-tac-toe play set up by teammates Marcus Johansson & Brooks Laich. Minutes later, with the Rangers on the PK after a questionable interference call on rookie Ryan McDonagh, Jason Arnott converted on a lucky bounce straight to his stick and gave the Capitals a 2-0 lead. It would be all Washington would need to come away with a win.

Let’s take a closer look at what went down in Game 2…

Sadly, there isn’t a lot of positives to take away from this game. Were they horrific? No. But this was not a 60 minute effort. The Rangers started out well but eventually faded. And when they got behind 2-0, that was it for them. They were a step slow all night. They were out-muscled at times. They consistently were beaten to loose pucks. Credit the Capitals for shutting down the Rangers attack.

I feel for Henrik Lundqvist sometimes. The man plays with so much passion, so much heart yet not one of his teammates can ever match what he puts out or bail him out. Once again, and it feels like a broken record, Hank was the reason this game was even close. Its a testament to just how good Lundqvist really is; he’s an elite goaltender in the NHL and he’s on a team where he’s the only superstar that brings it night in and night out.

The Good:

If the Rangers could copy period 1, this game has a much different outcome. They need to find a way to play that game the rest of the series to have a fightin’ chance.

The defense isn’t to blame for this loss. They held their own, shutting down Alex Ovechkin & Alex Semin for the most part. It was the Caps 3rd line that gave the Rangers fits. Plus, Washington was the beneficiary of some lucky bounces.

John Tortorella inserted Sean Avery into Game 2 in exchange for Mats Zuccarrello to give the team a “different look.” To give the team some more grit. Avery did show some energy in his 10:22 of ice time. Could be something to monitor next game.

The Bad:

This offense has no synergy, no flow to it. For whatever reason, the Rangers have had a difficult time getting their forecheck going. You can’t blame it on Ryan Callahan being out. The onus is on the team to find a way to get the job done in his absence.

The Rangers are making Michael Neuvirth look like Patrick Roy circa 2001.

The officiating was questionable at best. The penalties served to Ryan McDonagh & Ruslan Fedotenko seemed a bit flimsy considering playoff hockey is usually penalty free.

The Ugly:

I’ve had enough of Erik Christensen. Forget the fact he has a great shot & some skill, the man plays with no heart or consistency. He’s a shootout specialist and thats it. The only thing Christensen is consistent at is being invisible. Moving forward as a franchise, I feel he has no spot on this team.

When will Marian Gaborik show up? Is he ever going to show up? Say what you will, but Gaborik is paid to be an elite goal scorer and at the moment he’s currently producing like he’s a 4th line grinder.

So far, the Rangers PP has been a non-factor for them. Part of that falls on Bryan McCabe, who I had to double check the box score to make sure he was even playing. Granted, he wasn’t expected to completely revitalized once we arrived. But, he’s done nothing to get the PP working so far.
What’s the Pulse?:

Going down 1-0 was at least stomach-able. Going down 2-0 and showing barely any signs of life on offense is cause for concern. According to Andrew Gross, the Rangers have been down 2-0 in a series 20 times before and have only rallied once to win, that occurring in 1996 against the Montreal Canadiens. Now, the Rangers have to try and even up the series in their own building; a place where they had their troubles all season long. Is it impossible? No. Anything is possible in the Playoffs. Is it likely? With the way the Rangers are playing right now – no.

However, if you’re looking for positives, the Rangers won Games 1 & 2 back in 2009 before Washington came back to win the series.

Next Game:

Game 3 comes to MSG on Sunday at 3:00PM

Make sure you check out Capitals Outsider, whom I sure are happy to be up 2-0.

Next Rangers Game Full schedule »
Saturday, Nov 11 Nov7:00Winnipeg JetsBuy Tickets

Tags: Alexander Ovechkin Capitals Erik Christensen Henrik Lundqvist Marian Gaborik Michal Neuvirth New York Rangers Rangers Sean Avery Washington Capitals

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