Come on everyone, sing it! Shots! Shots! Shots! Shots! Shots! Shots!
20 shots tonight compared to Florida’s 38. The Rangers came into the game ranked last in the NHL in shots per game (25.1) and lowered that average tonight. It’s one thing to get outshot in a winning effort. Usually a losing team will fire as many pucks to the net as they can in a desperate attempt to tie the game. So that is not so much of an issue. However, tonight the Rangers were losing yet still got outshot 17 to 8 in the third period. That is beyond unacceptable. The Rangers clearly have enough talent to generate offense. So what’s going on here? Tortorella dedicated a whole practice to getting shots on net and forced the team to do pushups when they failed to do so. The onus is on the players to respond. At least show you’re trying to do the right things.
How long ago does the seven game winning streak feel? Losses are going to happen, but the Rangers have looked pretty pathetic in back-to-back efforts now. Granted, tonight was an improvement on what happened in Montreal, but it still was not a good effort. The Rangers got significantly outplayed by the Panthers, who are a good team but are not an overwhelming presence. The Rangers looked more like the same team we saw in the beginning of the season; stupid penalties, unable to gain possession of the puck in the offensive zone, and not enough shots. Let’s look at some post-game thoughts:
Henrik Lundqvist- Thanks for showing up Henrik. It’s unfortunate that your best effort since the Vancouver game was completely wasted by an incompetent offense. Lundqvist made 36 saves on 38 shots and was the only reason the Rangers had any shot of coming away with points. He specifically came up big during the Rangers’ 5 minute penalty kill, not allowing Florida to get a single puck past him. Henrik gets his first loss of November as a reward for his great play.
Andre Deveaux- He seemed genuinely upset at what happened post-game and I believe that it was simply a heat of the moment thing, but that hit to the head by Deveaux was absolutely awful for multiple reasons. It reminded me of Matt Cooke’s elbow on McDonagh last season and he is very lucky that Fleischmann is apparently not hurt. From a Rangers’ perspective, it was a devastating penalty to take. The Rangers had just scored to put themselves back into the game and Deveaux erased the momentum generated. The Rangers lost five minutes they could have spent trying to score, and if not for some big saves from Henrik and some timely defensive plays the Panthers could have put the game out of reach. We can not afford to have 4th liners affecting the game negatively like that. Deveaux will most likely be suspended and the Rangers will have to call up a forward in his place. I’ll don’t know if we’ll be seeing Deveaux in the lineup again.
Ryan Callahan- Ryan was playing the best hockey of his career during the Rangers’ winning streak. The past two games he has not been good enough, though. Two penalties tonight to go with two against Montreal and little offensive activity. The Rangers have played like garbage the past two games, and while Callahan might not be the worst player on the ice, he is the captain and thus is expected to step up when nobody else is. We need him to play smarter.
Brandon Prust and Brian Boyle- These two played over their heads last season and I never expected them to match it this season, but they need to be better than this. A combined three goals this season is not good enough, but overall they just aren’t making their presence known like they did last season. These two were monsters on the forecheck last season, but so far this season they’ve been inconsistent on the forecheck. They need to play a little more recklessly. Throwing their bodies around and diving in front of shots. They need to start being catalysts, even if they’re not the ones who put the puck in the net. The Rangers aren’t gaining any momentum from these two like they did last season. Time to pick it up.
Artem Anisimov- I’m not going to get on his case too much because he has been very good this whole season, but Anisimov got dangled pretty badly by Fleischmann on Florida’s second goal. Anisimov is one of the best defensive forwards in the NHL but he was pretty brutal there, and it ended up being the game winning goal. He did nothing of note offensively, either, so just an all-around bad game for Anisimov.
Well done by Gaborik to make a play by himself, and good job by Stepan to put a perfect shot on net. Girardi also made an effort to put pucks on net from the point. Other than that, just a pretty miserable offensive effort by the team. Make sure to check out The Rat Trick for a review of the game from the Panthers’ point of view. The Rangers play again on Friday in Washington in a rematch of last year’s playoffs.