This evening the Winnipeg Jets cruised in from north of the border as they looked to stop the New York Rangers from climbing two games above the .500 mark.
So far this season it has all been about consistency, or lack there of. The Rangers have come out onto the ice and played some terrific games, but then made basic mental mistakes and poor judgement plays in the next. Alain Vigneault has been preaching for more consistency from his team.
Tonight was one of those nights for the Rangers, as they dropped a 5-2 decision to the Jets in front of a packed Madison Square Garden crowd. Vigneault made the decision to start goaltender Cam Talbot for the second straight game. Talbot did not have a good night, as he surrendered more than two goals for the first time in his eight starts in 2013-14.
The teams were deadlocked at 2-2 heading into the third, with Mats Zuccarello and Ryan Callahan holding the goals for New York. 7:18 remained in the third when former Ranger Olli Jokinen notched a goal which would eventually become the game-winner. He scored once more with 1:54 left and Blake Wheeler added an empty net to send the Blueshirts on their way to a disappointing defeat.
The Rangers came out and played well in the first period, but collapsed in the final two where it mattered most. Derick Brassard found himself demoted to the fourth line at one point as he attempted a cross-ice pass in the offensive zone during the second period which led to John Albert’s first goal in the NHL.
Again, consistency is hurting the Rangers. They have been teetering around the .500 mark for a couple of weeks now, and a 14-14-0 record is nothing to be proud of.
The Rangers need to solve their woes and quickly, because the rival New Jersey Devils are gaining ground quickly. The Rangers and Devils meet this Saturday at MSG.
Not all is bad however, because the Rangers are only 28 games into the season, which leaves 54 still to play, plenty of time to fix things and right the ship.
New York now has two days off before they are at First Niagara Center to face the Buffalo Sabres. All are assuming that Henrik Lundqvist will be in net for that one.
Lundqvist hasn’t had the best of starts in his so far successful career, but he told reporters this morning that he has to be better. Knowing Henrik and how competitive he really is, I am assuming he will stick to his word and do everything in his power to become the number one man the team expects (and needs) him to be.
Here’s the scoring summary from tonight’s game:
|02:49||NYR||Mats Zuccarello (4) Tip-in – ASST: Ryan McDonagh (10)||1 – 0 NYR|
|08:16||WPG||Devin Setoguchi (7) Snap shot – ASST: Olli Jokinen (11), Chris Thorburn (1)||1 – 1 Tie|
|10:00||WPG||John Albert (1) Snap shot – ASST: Dustin Byfuglien (16)||2 – 1 WPG|
|15:50||NYR||Ryan Callahan (7) Backhand shot – ASST: Brad Richards (13), Benoit Pouliot (3)||2 – 2 Tie|
|12:42||WPG||Olli Jokinen (5) Snap shot – ASST: Chris Thorburn (2), Devin Setoguchi (8)||3 – 2 WPG|
|18:06||WPG||Olli Jokinen (6) Snap shot – ASST: Michael Frolik (9), Jacob Trouba (2)||4 – 2 WPG|
|19:09||WPG||EN – Blake Wheeler (6) Wrist shot – ASST: Jacob Trouba (3), Bryan Little (14)||5 – 2 WPG|