Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Another Reason To Hate Dallas - Ranger Win Streak Busted in 3-2 Loss

Well, it was close.

Realistically – we weren’t going to win the rest of our games this year – the streak had to end sometime.  And the Rangers made a game of it – fighting back to a 2-2 tie before losing the lead in the first minute of the 2nd period.  But then – they just couldn’t score over the last 40 minutes and the 8 game winning streak came to a sad end in Texas tonight.  (Why do they even play hockey in Texas by the way?)

The Rangers looked a bit sluggish and Dallas was hustling all over the ice.  Still, we had our chances – but a bounce here and a post there and we only got 2 goals when we needed 3.
Along the way we wasted a nice goal by J.T. Miller – who wristed the puck past Kari Letonen for the Rangers only lead of the night.  And in the second – Kevin Hayes made a big time deflection off a Marc Staal shot to give the Rangers their final tie of the evening.

But Hank let up three.  The 2nd had some extenuating circumstances (Editor – that means it wasn’t Hank’s fault).  Ales Hemsky (And that is a great first name by the way) backhanded the puck at an impossible angle from behind the Ranger Goal line – but Marc Staal inadvertently tipped the puck on (and actually in) net and it got by Lundqvist. 

The game winner – 54 seconds into the 2nd period – was also a backhanded shot – and I don’t really want to talk about it.  For the Rangers - assist for Zuccarello and three defensemen:  McDonagh, Staal, and Boyle

The game did have a few interesting moments.  The Stars managed to miss 4 or 5 shots at an empty net in the final two minutes – in one case with Mats Zuccarello making a very professional looking save.  And Dallas goaltender Kari Letonen made a save in the final minute – dropped the puck deliberately on his stick and took a good look down the ice – clearly thinking about scoring an empty netter of his own.  But he reconsidered and fell on the puck for a faceoff.  In the end the Rangers outshot Dallas 30-26 but it just wasn’t enough.

Did Special Teams Determine The Outcome Of This Game?  Not exactly.  The Ranger were 1 for 2 with the extra skater and killed 3 of 4 shorthanded.  In fact – at times the Dallas powerplay looked like event strength because the Rangers were getting more rushes and chances than the Stars were with the extra man.

Where We Stand:  Well, the damn Capitals more or less kept pace with us through the winning streak.  And tonight they fought back from 3-0 to tie the Islanders before falling in OT.  So the extra point moves Washington into 3rd place in the Metro, one point up on the Blueshirts, who still hold two games at hand.  We tumble into the last wild card slot – one point above the line-of-death.

Now What?  One day off and then the Rangers will close out the year on New Year’s Eve in Florida taking on a Panther team that is just 2 points behind us for the last playoff spot.  We’ve got to reach down deep and stop the bleeding at just one loss.  If the win streak is dead – let’s close out 2014 by starting a new one.  Thanks for reading - Dave Pucks out.


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