For everyone who started carving the Cup during the seven game streak, are you carving up your wrists now that the Rangers have come back to Earth? After blowing through seven easy opponents the Blueshirts faced a pair of tough tests and failed both. (It also just happens that each coincided with trips to party towns but I have no hard evidence so I will just leave that accusation hanging in the air. Just want to say that it is a good thing the next game isn't in Vegas ...)
This visit to South Beach saw the Rangers wither in the sun, losing 2-1 to the Panthers. Dale Tallon has done magic remaking the kitty cats into a hard team to play against with some offensive bite. Sadly the most offensive thing on this night was the Rangers' play. You know the team was in trouble when their captain (yet again) took a bad, undisciplined penalty early. Not sure what Callahan's problem is but he has taken penalties each of the last four games. As the captain and one of the team's top penalty killers, he has to be smarter and he has to be a leader.
*When Callahan was in the box Kris Versteeg was going back and forth in front of the crease, distracting Hank. And Jason Garrison took advantage by blasting a slap shot through the traffic to open the scoring. It is not rocket science.
*The Ranger power play was actually cycling early on but they kept on cycling players out and around the net. No one bothers to set up in front and the goaltender sees every shot. Having a man advantage means there is an extra man to counter the opposing goalie, make his life more difficult. Versteeg did that. The Rangers did not. Instead they used their extra attacker as just another person to pass to - perhaps hoping that having that extra option will eventually get someone an open shot. Except open shots are easily stopped when the goaltender can see them in this day and age. Not rocket science.
*After helping Garrison get his goal, Versteeg scored Florida's second himself. Del Zaster decided to just stand in the slot and watch the play while Tomas Fleischmann embarrassed Arty and fed the open Versteeg. It is getting tiring taking apart Del Zaster night after night as he just seems to find new ways to make mistakes. Said it before, will say it again, the Rangers screwed up his development by taking him away from Dale Hunter one season too early. Instead they allowed him to take advantage of all New York has to offer while everyone inflated his ego. Maybe someday he will have a moment of clarity and come to his senses but that day doesn't seem to be coming anytime soon.
*How is it possible that Anton Stralman is a slower skater than Jeff Woywitka? Stralman's decision making was almost as slow as his feet so he certainly is not the solution to the Rangers' lack of defensive depth. But his presence allowed the Rangers to limit Girardi's ice time so Dan-O only got 27 minutes of ice time instead of 28 or 29 ...
*Also embarrassing was everything surrounding Andre Deveaux's elbow to Fleischmann's head. I was standing at a bar wondering what the hell happened and MSG made the disappointing decision to dump to commercial. Once they came back and showed the replays it did not seem as egregious to me at all - a big guy hitting a little guy who was bent over. Deveaux definitely had his elbow out but it definitely did not appear to be an attempt to injure. If Deveaux really wanted to injure Flash, he would have just ran over the Panther when the guy had his head down with the puck - instead he just stupidly tried to make some contact. Worthy of an elbowing penalty for sure, but not a match. But with Flash playing up how hurt he was, it was inevitable that the big fourth line former AHLer would get the gate. Reputation goes so far with refereeing.
*With Deveaux out for a while, perhaps we will finally get to see Carl Hagelin get a shot. The addition of the speedy Swede will be a boon for Sean Avery as Avery was way too fast to be stuck with the cement skates of Boyle and Deveaux. Boyle has just been bad this season, his much publicized skating lessons haven't seemed to stick and he refuses to use his big build to his advantage. By the way, Sean went shot-less in this one, which shouldn't happen.
*Happy for Step to score in his 100th game, too bad it was the lone highlight of the night.
*When will MSG give up on the horrid 150 seconds of bad, loud drum and bass music? Poor Bill Pidto was drowned out by the terrible tune as he struggled through the highlights - it just is not a good gimmick. Most painful 150 seconds in hockey.
*It is ok for Fedotenko and Prust to be invisible offensively. It is not ok for Richard$ to be MIA. Dubi and Cally as wingers haven't been helping B-Rich of late but trying him with Feds and Prust? Torts grasping at straws.
*Dubinsky played nearly five minutes of power play time and 21 and a half minutes overall. He had one shot and 10 hits; neither statistic helped the Rangers. Hopefully Dubi can get his game back together before his old foe Sidney Crosby comes to town next week.
*The official scorer somehow gave the Rangers 50 hits. Fifty! Wonder what game he was watching.
*Maybe if the Rangers were able to tie things up and force a shootout Erik Christensen could have justified being on the roster. They weren't and he didn't. What a waste of a Ranger jersey.
*While the Blueshirts were definitely embarrassed yet again, at least they didn't do it wearing terrible jerseys. Seriously Islanders, you make it too easy.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Jason Garrison - one goal.
2-Henrik Lundqvist - 36 saves.
1-Tomas Fleischmann - two assists.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Hank - The King came through with his his usual solid effort, too bad he can't score too.
2-Garrison - Solid defense and a great shot.
1-Versteeg - The former Blackhawk got his nose dirty down low and was rewarded for it, twice.