Monday, April 2, 2012
50-22-7: Arrogance Is Not Attractive
All the Rangers needed on Sunday was a point. One point. One point and the regular season was all sealed up for them. Get that one point and have three games left to rest key guys, to practice in real game situations and get ready for the real season to start.
Needless to say, they did not get it.
Instead the Blueshirts blew an early lead and limply let two points skate off the Garden ice. The Boston Bruins beat them 2-1.
Perhaps the team figured the B's would roll over. Perhaps the team figured that their earlier success against the B's would just happen again. Perhaps the team thought that their last four wins - against franchises out of contention for the postseason - actually meant that they could cruise against the reigning Stanley Cup winners.
But whatever they were thinking is irrelevant as their actions spoke volumes - the Rangers didn't want to win this one nearly as badly as Boston did. That simple. That sad. Now they have to somehow find the motivation to get back in gear against Philly, Pittsburgh and Washington - all franchises that have found success against the Rangers when it has counted in the past. The Blueshirts were handed a reality check by the Bruins: you can't take anything for granted - not ever, but especially not in April.
*Aside from being unable to properly motivate his team, John Tortorella also failed the franchise by continually fooling with the lines. By game 79 you would think he would have allowed the guys to develop some kind of chemistry but instead he threw random guys over the boards and it cost them. Case in point: Carl Hagelin (Bork!) couldn't tell if he was coming or he was going. The kid clearly had no clue who was out on the ice with him, and where those linemates may have been.
*In beating Boston earlier this season the Rangers matched the Bruins intensity and physicality. So why did Brandon Prust see two shifts in the second period and just one in the third? John Mitchell got two and Mike Rupp none (not that Rupp should ever be on the ice, or even allowed to wear a Ranger jersey, but I digress). Prust played 5:29 - his second lowest total of the entire season - and one minute of that was killing penalties. Even his Boston counterpart, Shawn Thornton, saw more time and Thornton didn't get special teams time.
*Nice penalty and power play work Del Zaster. DZ qb'd the power play for nearly five minutes and it went 0-3 while managing two shots on goal. Two shots. Two. Two shots in four minutes and 53 seconds to be precise. Two.
*DZ's stupid penalty led to the game-winning goal but responsibility on the goal itself goes to Dan Girardi. Not sure what Dan-O was thinking right there (or how Hank got beaten short side for seemingly the umpteenth time this season).
*Arty received a home-run pass, made a power move to the outside and wasted the scoring chance it gave him. As always, we see flashes of brilliance from this boy but he just can't put it all together.
*Too many Bruin fans at MSG.
*The usual hard work from captain Callahan but it just wasn't enough as Boston clearly was expecting it.
*Didn't get to see the replay but was Hank screened on the Seidenberg goal? He had to be, right?
*Congrats to Gabby on number 40. The goal came on a beautiful play with a swift and easy finish - long rebound comes all the way out to free him for a breakaway and the Slovak Sniper just blasted it past Tim Thomas.
*Every time Thomas came out of his crease to stretch during time outs I prayed for Sean Avery to just skate by and hit him in the back of the head again. Ah well.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Marian Gaborik - one goal.
2-Zdeno Chara - one assist.
1-Tim Thomas - 33 saves.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Cally - At least there was one Ranger who really wanted to win.
2-Thomas - Sure he was under fire more from the media in the wake of the Obama nonsense then he was from the Rangers in this one but he still did his job.
1-Patrice Bergeron - Outstanding work by the (certain-to-be) Selke finalist. Not only did he take advantage of Girardi's mistake for the game-winner but he also played in all situations and won 17 of 19 faceoffs. That is outrageous.