I am going to be short and sweet with this one as I am sure Torts was with his post game talk with the boys last night. I had a premonition that this game was going to be a typical trap game for the Rangers, one they have fallen into many a time over the last few season. Everything was set up perfectly, two of the Flyers better scorers out with injury, perhaps their best young gun out due to suspension and a fragile goalie to say the least. The New York Rangers should have come in riding a high off the Boston game where there were plenty of mistakes, but a win none the less, and steamrolled the Flyers right out of their own building. Instead they came out FLAT again. This needs to stop and now.
The Gabby-Nash-BR line didn’t have the same flow as the night before and torts made some early changes to try and get them going, but give much of the credit to the Couturier line as they pestered the big three all night, not allowing them the space an time to create the way they need to. Derek Stepan needs to step it up and fast or he will be on the trade block really soon in my opinion. At this point he should be ready and willing to take the reigns as the second line center, however his first 4 games prove otherwise. Pyatt continues to impress, but the Rangers can’t rely on this guy to score as many goals as Gabby and more then BR and Nash that’s for sure. Cally is Cally, Boyle needs to wake up as he looks lost without Pruster, and the remainder of the guys need to pick up their games a bit. I never would have thought it would take these bunch of veterans this long to gel ad come together, but I guess I was wrong about that. Oh and Hags, can you please use your speed to do something that resembles playing hockey? Even though CK hasn’t been producing, his presence was missed last night for sure. I say either send the kid down to the Whale or let him ride out the cold streak on the team and play through it. Yes Coach, I said play through it. Also enough with Bickell, give Gilroy a shot either up front or on the back end for Eminger. This has always been a thorn in my side with the way Torts coaches, his patience level is way to low.
With my thoughts on the Offense last night covered, lets now look at our back line. Its quite clear that Stall wants his top two spot back from Mac or DG and he is playing like it. I would like to see him get some more time on the point on the PP and use his elusiveness to get a shot away and cause some issues in the front. His blue line partner, MDZ is playing decently, but just not contributing the way we need him too. I have yet to see one of his patented Brain Leetch type up in the offensive play rushes or end to end plays, he needs to get more aggressive. The coaching staff needs to take the reigns off of him and let him go, he is going to make mistakes, but with him offensive upside we can live with that. Mac and DG are going to log the minutes, block shots, be in the correct places, but need to step it up even more and lead the team forward from the back end. The pass from DG last night across the middle of the ice that almost lead to a goal was flat out inexcusable. Not much to say about Eminger and Stallman as they only get a few minutes to play in Torts’ system. Oh and Hank looked more like himself last night which is always a good sign. All six d-men have to make some more plays to spring some odd man rushes and or lay a guy out once and a while to spark the team.
To sum all this up, last nights game should have been a W and convincingly at that, but it quite clearly wasn’t. I would love to hear from you all as to why you think the rangers have been flat in 3.5 of their 4 games with the exception of the first period, parts of the 3rd and of course OT against Boston. Most of the ranger players did not play over seas and should have been and should be ready for the sprint ahead, but it seems otherwise. We’ve seen them play just about every other night so far and they seem to be flat, have heavy legs and most importantly, they are not making smart decisions with the puck. The game on Saturday should at least afford them the right to break out of the slump as Toronto has been giving up more and more goals each game and the NYI put a 7 spot on them last night. They have a bunch of offensive talent so the D will be tested, but I believe we will come out ahead and get moving on the right track. If I am wrong, Rangerland will be in an uproar and trade talks will begin.. Gabby for Ovechkin, any takers?