Apparently the announced attendance of the Ranger 2-1 loss to Nashville was just over 13,000. That is a lot of no-shows for the Garden but the most important people who didn't show up were the Rangers. Outside of a handful of players, the Blueshirts put in a half-hearted effort without Marian Gaborik. Henrik Lundqvist was great. Ryan Callahan skated his ass off but had a case of Higgins-itis. Enver Lisin got several great scoring chances but bless him, he just isn't good enough to take advantage of them. The rest of the team ... meh. It was as lackluster as always where many of the players disappeared for long stretches before making a late, ultimately futile push for an equalizer.
All that being said, credit must be given to Barry Trotz, Dan Ellis and the Nashville defense. They were all great with Trotz outcoaching Torts, Ellis making some good saves and the blueline helping him clear rebounds before the Rangers eventually decided to go after them. Torts decided to play seven defensemen for some reason, claiming that the other six guys were banged up. Well, if they are banged up then they shouldn't be playing, especially at the expense of being able to roll four lines. Cally played 27 minutes. That is insane! And he will be playing at least three extra games over the Olympic break so let's work on burning him out now, right?
It would have been nice for some other player to come through in the clutch ... you know, some player. I don't know who. Perhaps the one that had that "Captain Clutch" nickname before he came to New York? The one making over eight million dollars this season. You know who, right? Nahhhhhhh. That guy is only on the ice on power plays and in big situations, when he could possibly come through? The captain continues to underwhelm and Tortorella should keep him on the fourth line rather than bouncing him around the lineup so he can waste important ice time. Don't get me wrong, I will root for the guy in Vancouver, I just wonder why he will be there.
*And why the hell is he sent over the boards again and again on the power play? Drury has one power play assist and no goals in over his last 32 games. And our power play sucks. You do the math.
*The lone Ranger goal came off a lucky bounce, with the puck rebounding off the boards back to Dan Ellis and Vinny Prospal blindly swinging his stick at it to knock it in. It may have been the only time in the match where a Ranger was that close to the crease.
*Predators go-ahead goal was a power play goal after Michael Del Zotto was given a double minor. MDZ took a borderline penalty and then argued with the referee and got a unsportsmanlike. After the Rangers killed the first two, the Preds scored on the next two (more on that in a sec) and Torts blew a gasket on the kid. Was MDZ wrong to argue? Sure. Was it a rookie mistake? Sure. The kid was upset - which is something Redden and Rozsival don't seem to be despite constant mistakes and blunders.
*And it was a blunder by Rozy that gave up the power play goal. Now I don't know about you guys, but when I learned to play defense I was taught that, like crossing the streams, clearing the puck up the middle was baaaad. Rozy blindly launched the puck up the middle and it hit Cally, bounced to Colin Wilson and Carey's kid scored. Did Tortorella yell at Rozsival? Not that we saw...
*Jordin Tootoo had a goal on six shots. Sean Avery had no goals and one shot. Just sayin'.
*Considering how tightly knit the Nashville defense was, it would have been nice to see Prust and Boyle (and Voros if he was dressed) to go in and knock some heads around for a shift or two. They were used sparingly by Tortorella and played like they were on a tight leash.
*Voros was out so Torts could dress the extra defenseman - going back to the aforementioned 'banged up' starting six. Seeing as none of them played any worse than they usually do, I have to ask if it was just a chance for the Rangers and other teams to get a look at Corey Potter. Torts has never trusted him to date so what changed? Well, the trade deadline is coming up and Potter will be a RFA this summer. What a co-in-key-dink.
*I know many of you guys like Arty Anisimov but this kid is just infuriating me more and more. There is skill there - that is for certain - but there is something missing that just has kept him from putting pucks in the net. Perhaps the break will help, perhaps a trip to Hartford would. Just FYI, the AHL operates as normal through the Olympics.
*As I mentioned on Twitter, when MSG showed Hank's Team Sweden mask, Sam Rosen pointed out the "Olympic Circles" on the back. Seriously. Olympic Circles. They are rings Sam, rings. I guess after a while a bit of Micheletti had to wear off ...
*And speaking of the Olympics, I am heading west on Thursday to spend a few days in Seattle prior to Amtraking up to Vancouver. I will do my best to catch Friday and Sunday's game but no guarantees. As for as the Olympics go, I have tix to eight games in four days before I have to head back so I should be posting something each night, so stay tuned!
*PHW Three Stars
3-Henrik Lundqvist - 34 saves.
2-Colin Wilson - one goal.
1-Dan Ellis - 37 saves.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Dan Hamhuis - Best of the Predator blueliners, Hamhuis looked better than Weber and even Klein (the guy who took the shot that scored the first goal of the game).
2-Ellis - The dude did the splits to make a save late in the third period. That has just gotta hurt ...
1-Hank - MSG caught the goaltender walking down the tunnel and hitting the garbage can with his stick for the umpteenth time this season. The poor guy has been hung out to dry so often it is just embarrassing and this night was no different as he could not be blamed for either goal against.