You knew it was too good to be true. A Ranger team that can fly, that goes to the net, that battles whistle to whistle and can score seemingly at will? Yep, too good to be true. The Baby Blueshirts played a lot like the big boys when they faced the Hurricanes on Tuesday afternoon: they blew a lead, blew power play after power play, took bad penalties and played down to their opponents. The box score of the 4-3 double OT loss is here.
Some credit should go to Carolina for weathering a 23-5 storm in the third period but for all of the Ranger shots, few challenged the Canes kid in net. However, we need to be pleased that the Rangers put on that onslaught as it shows they responded to Ken Gernander's intermission speech. While Gernander offered a stern message to the guys to pick up their play, you can be sure John Tortorella would have lost his top - and just imagine how they might have turned things around.
*Christian Thomas had a great first period but ultimately gave the game away with his giveaway in the second OT. Trying to pull-up at the blueline on sloppy ice while being closely covered in a three-on-three situation was just dangerous. Thomas is a solid sniper who needs to be smarter.
*J.T. Miller got a ton of ice time and clearly gave it his all every second he was out there. It amounted to nothing. His senseless post-whistle fight was as punchless as his shot. If he can keep his intensity up while refining his game over the next two, three seasons we might have a player there. Might.
*Shane McColgan was a constant threat but sadly did not get a shot to decide it in the overtime. Not sure why.
*My fav Dylan McIlrath was among those who responded to Kenny G for the third period but his penalty in the overtime was inexcusable. Mac is big and he is tough but he can not be reckless.
*If there was any doubt Carl Hagelin and Tim Erixon sealed their spots in the big training camp by singlehandedly dominating action at times.
*Jonathan Audy-Marchessault continued his outstanding tournament but I stand by my Corey Locke comparison. A quick, tenacious offensive player who needs to be better defensively to make the next step.
*Sam Noreau - the kid who is supposed to be this big project - was the most solid of the Blueshirt blueliners. Jyri Niemi - who has a full year of North American experience - has done nothing to stand out in this tournament to date.
*Michael St. Croix and Collin Bowman were both awful. St. Croix seemed utterly lost out there again while Bowman just couldn't handle the competition.
Despite the disappointment the boys have a chance for redemption in tomorrow night's final. Let's hope they can bounce back and take home the title.