For those counting, this was the second loss by the Blueshirts to the Putty Tats this season and it came just five days after the lone win, a 6-1 curbstomp at the Garden. So the Rangers could very well have entered the evening overconfident, overlooking their injury-plagued opponents. They could have also soaked in too much sun and were too sleepy to play some puck. Or, having won eight of their previous 11, they could have over-indulged over their two nights in Miami and - without a morning skate to sweat out some of the booze - had to handle raging hangovers as well as Kevin Dineen's kids.
No matter what, it was an inexcusable failure in a season chock-full of them. You know, just being in this position is ridiculous. Sure, there was no way the Rangers would repeat last year's performance with a largely new cast of characters, but to be behind the Islanders, to be praying for Winnipeg to lose and to be (still, always) praying for important power play goals is ... preposterous.
So, I believe to make the playoffs the Rangers need to take two points out of their last two games or for the Jets to lose to Montreal on Thursday. Go Habs Go.
(I feel dirty saying that, but the Canadiens probably have a better chance than the Rangers do.)
*The boys really responded to the beating Asham took at the hands of the best mustache in hockey, didn't they?
*Del Zaster is continuing to be a massive liability. On the all-important first goal he let Huberdeau into the zone untouched, stopped, picked up another Panther to cover and screened Hank as Kuba's shot came in. His own-zone awfulness aside, DZ is hardly helping on the other side of the ice. He has just one goal in his last 38 games and four assists in his last 14 - three of which were secondary.
*Taylor Pyatt scored the game-tying tally after Mats Zuccarello earned the blueline and found a driving John Moore. So, of course, Torts had the team relying on his favourite gameplan the rest of the game - dump, chase and grind.
*Pyatt was standing in the crease when he scored, Brassard was standing in the crease when he scored. Amazing what happens when guys are willing to work the slot, right?
*The Rangers successfully killed all three of their power plays. Man, are they good at doing that.
*If Torts doesn't trust Kreider to play more than four minutes against the worst team in the league, when is he ever going to trust him?
*On the topic of ice time, nearly 28 minutes for Girardi. Ludicrous. In the off chance the Rangers even make the playoffs, they can't possibly last long in that torture test thanks to all of the milage on Dan-O and Hank.
*PHW Three Stars:
3-Marcel Goc - one goal.
2-Tomas Fleischmann - one goal and one assist.
1-Jacob Markstrom - 36 saves.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars:
3-Huberdeau - A consistent offensive threat, this kid could have himself one helluva NHL career if the Cats build a team around him.
2-Zuke - The best of the Blueshirts on this night, the fearless 25-year-old carried the offense.
1-Markstrom - Why not give him some credit for not allowing any soft goals?