On January 20, I had the great displeasure of being at The World's Most Famous Arena to see the Rangers put up a stinker, a near-shutout against the Boston Bruins. If Brandon Dubinsky didn't score in the final minute of play, it would have ended 3-0 Boston.
The Rangers were in a funk, with the loss dropping them to 2-6-2 in the last ten. In fact, they only had two wins in January until this point, home wins against Buffalo and the Canadiens.
Since that time, the Rangers have gone 14-3-3.
The loss to Carolina after the All-Star break wasn't an awful game, but would have been a huge two points, especially at the time. Brendan Shanahan scored early on with a power play goal, but Carolina scored twice in two minutes in the second to break the game open. The Rangers had a second period letdown which cost them the game.
What was taught: Stop having second period letdowns.
This lesson has not been learned yet. See: Win over Islanders, 3/6/08.
Then they put two stinkers up right after the comeback win in Montreal on Super Bowl Sunday. In another game I wish I wasn't at, they lost to LA 4-2 and then 4-1 to Anaheim, in a game where I turned off my TV because I was so disgusted. Both games were awful but showed a big flaw.
What was taught: The Rangers can't win against Western Conference teams.
The lesson might have been learned as the Rangers beat San Jose two weeks later.
Since then, they've lost once in overtime, a Mike Green power play goal in overtime. The Capitals second goal was scored with 15 seconds left in the second period with the fourth line on the ice. Hollweg then took a penalty near the end of regulation.
What was taught: Don't have Ryan Hollweg on the ice in crucial situations.
Lesson learned. Hollweg (of whom I happen to be a big fan, regardless) has only played once since acquiring Freddy Sjostrom on Deadline Day, rendering my No. 44 jersey useless in March.
They had two shootout losses since the stinker against Boston in January. One was the meltdown against Montreal, the other the comeback game against the Islanders where two of the three goals against them were fluke bounces.
What was taught: No matter the score, you could always lose.
Lesson learned, as they came back from down 3-1 against the Islanders to bring it to overtime.
Moral of the Story: Learn from your losses.
Regarding today's matinee against Boston, it was another 1-0 shootout win, which would have been a scoreless tie circa 2003-04 and before. They had a ton of chances today but couldn't finish. Jagr, Drury, Dawes, Straka, Dubinsky, they all had golden chances but couldn't jam it home.
What would the score of the game had been if Zdeno Chara had played?
Originally posted to http://www.nyhockeyrivalry.blogspot.com