Friday, February 22, 2013

8-6-2: Losing Leads

The Rangers continued their latest trend of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory on Thursday night by blowing a lead on their way to a 3-2 shootout loss to the Ottawa Senators.

The Blueshirts scored two goals in less than a minute of the third period to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead, but then they endeavoured to erase their own advantage. Over the next two minutes they iced the puck, gave up one-timers from the slot by Erik Condra and Stephane Da Costa, threw the puck into their own bench, let Chad Greening get an open shot, let Mika Zibanejad get a chance at the rebound, took a dumb penalty and then left Zibanejad alone for the one-timer that tied the game.

It was like a bad horror flick: we got to enjoy the cute coed taking her top off, but then had to watch as she proceeded through a comedy of errors that resulted in her inevitable, bloody doom. And, like the horror genre, it happens again and again and again. The Rangers inexplicably become complacent as soon as the score tilts in their favour, and it can't go on for much longer if they are to have a chance this season.

Changing metaphors, John Tortorella has a thing for dogs - quite fitting considering he is all bark but no bite - and it is on him to to turn this team of mercenary mutts into a pack of pit bulls that will bite down and not let go until June.

Late Hits:

*Speaking of mercenary mutts, Rick Nash and Arron Asham didn't bother to play. Given that neither one has visibly been injured this season and the team won't release any info, they leave a lot of cause to wonder what is keeping them off the ice. Could it be Tin Man syndrome?

*Was Brad Richard$ out too? Didn't see him.

*Looks like Marian Gaborik is going through the Jaromir Jagr lack of confidence in the shootout. It is tough watching someone so skilled give such half-hearted, uncreative efforts in the skill competition. Jagr started begging out of his opportunities to go, will Gabby soon do the same?

*Del Zastrous, simply Del Zastrous. Amid his nearly five minutes of power play time he turned the puck over for Silfverberg's goal and blew a wide open backhand. He missed the overtime with that alleged injury, and without him the team played their best hockey of the night. Coincidence? Hmmm.

*Chris Kreider is a young, skilled forward. His hard work earned two power plays and took out Ottawa's starting goaltender. So why did he only see 12 seconds of power play time and no shifts in overtime?

*Even though I attempt to avoid all blogs until this one is written, I saw some folks are blaming the stripes for  the loss because of two blown Blueshirt goals. The NHL officiating is a joke and has been butchering calls all season across the league, but they are equally inept and their errors aren't what are keeping the Rangers down.

*If it wasn't against us, it would have been great to celebrate Kaspars Daugavins game-winning goal. Latvians love their hockey so very much that it is wonderful to see one of their own succeeding. (Even if he may have simply mishandled the puck, rather than intentionally slipping it through Hank's legs.)

*What a shot by McDonagh to thread that puck into the Ottawa net for the go-ahead goal. Defensemen who can get pucks on goal from the point ... craziness.

*Marc Staal had a good night, but to see him trading punches postconcussion is nerve-racking.

*One of Super Jew Jeff Halpern's best performances this season. As mentioned before, he looked like he was one of the vets who was hurt by the lockout - now he is getting his legs back and getting going.

*Remember when the Rangers had someone to offset Chris Neil? What was that guy's name again? But seriously, Ottawa had a distinct edge in the physical game last night and that can't be allowed to happen to often.

*PHW Three Stars:
3-Henrik Lundqvist - 35 saves.
2-Jakob Silferberg - one regulation goal, one shootout goal.
1-Craig Anderson - 21 saves.

Scotty Hockey Three Stars:
3-Hank - The Sens kept him busy but he kept the Rangers in the game until they could take the lead, and then he helped them at least leave with the one point.
2-Ryan Callahan - So if you work the slot, good things happen? The team needs to learn from their captain's lead and battle down low. Plus he knew in the shootout to go around a thick-padded 6-foot-7 goaltender, rather than through him.
1-Silferberg - Any surprise that this young Swede knew how to solve Hank? Went gloveside twice, scored twice. Silferberg has a big future ahead of him and is in a prime position right now, learning alongside Daniel Alfredsson. Stud.

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