Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Thrashed (Again)

It’s not fair. We took 48 shots last night. 48 shots. 47 in regulation. 2 PowerPlay goals. You'd sign up for a performance like that every night if you could. Because when we work that hard - we're supposed to win. But we didn't. The Atlanta Thrashers beat us 3-2 on a Shoot Out.
One even-strength goal would have won this hockey game. One! But the New York Rangers are finding ways to lose right now. At least we got a point - got to the OT - and even got to the Shoot Out - before losing.

The return of Brandon Dubinsky ended up a lot like the 13 games we played without him - with the Rangers playing hard - but unable to find that 3rd goal - and with Hank having his moments - but getting outplayed by the opposing goalie.

I'm feeling sorry for John Tortorella and Glen Sather right now. They make two moves - (1) demoting P. A. Parenteau to make room for Dubi and (2) making Christensen a healty scratch. Parenteau had one area where he excelled on the Rangers - he was 2 for 2 in the Shoot Out. And Christensen is 17-31 lifetime in ShootOuts. Torts and Sather take them both out of the lineup. And sure enough - the game goes to Shoot Out and we can't score.

And I was surprised we did so poorly in the Shoot Out. I thought we we're built as a shoot out team. Higgins is supposed to be a shoot out expert - he never even shot. Kotalik is also supposed to be good at this - but never got the shot off. Gaborik is now 0-2 on shoot outs.

Nothing is going well right now. This is a dark period for the team. We do get a point - but man, we should have won this game.

The Goalies: I hate to say this – but look no further - your game was lost right here. Hank was good – Hedberg was better. Hedberg faced an incredible 48 shots and saved 46 of them. An amazing performance. Lundqvist faced 27 shots and saved 25 of them. And in the shoot out - Hedberg saved both shots and Hank let both shots in. You can't have a clearer indicator than that.

I think you have to say - if you flipped the goalies here the Rangers would have won. And that is a very sad truth to be facing today.

Special Teams: Again - the whole game played out in special teams - there was no even strength scoring. The Rangers were 2 of 5 on the PowerPlay - but also let up a backbreaking shorthanded goal. The Thrashers were 1 for 3. That included a great PK by the Rangers at 5 on 3 that had the Garden on its feet.

The New Veteran Rangers Who else? Marian Gaborik scored in the third period to tie the game at 2-2. I think he’s the best scoring Ranger I’ve ever seen.

The Kid Rangers contributed with Michael Del Zotto notching assists on both Ranger goals.

Your Returning Rangers contributed the goal and an assist by Ryan Callahan.

Defense on Offense: Two assists for this unit.

In conclusion: Okay - let's focus on a few positives. Let's see.... There has to be a few positives around here somewhere.
We got a point. The team clearly has not quit on Tortorella. They are playing hard. 48 shots is some pretty good work.

And for a few moments - when Lundqvist was brilliant during a Rangers 5 on 3 Penatly Kill - the Garden was yelling "Hen-Rik Hen-Rik" and it was just like old times.

And Hank did not surrender a late goal - which is good. He hung tough twice while we were behind to let us catch up.
So there's that stuff. But how many big efforts can we come up with - and still lose - before the team starts breaking down? Some how - some way - we need to win a hockey game.
Where we stand: The point moves us nominally into 11th place – up one notch. But in reality we are now tied at 31 points with the Islanders, the Flyers, the Maple Leafs, and the Lightning between 9th and 13th place in the Eastern Conference. One more point sure would have come in handy.
Next Up: One rest day and then 2 in a row against the hated Islanders.

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