Another game, another two points lost. 2-5-3 in their last ten, the Rangers are quickly falling out the bottom of the Eastern Conference playoff picture. As a fan, I thought the Rangers' last loss to Toronto was heartbreaking, little did I know what potential they still had to disappoint.
In the Rangers first game with new head coach John Tortorella, the players started off the game looking strong, quick, and aggressive. For the first time in a while they looked like they were trying to win rather than trying to not lose. Then, right on cue, the Rangers gave up a late 3rd period goal and eventually lost in a shootout.
Still, the team had earned one point and looked extremely energized for the first two periods.
Tonight started off the exact same way, they event produced a rarely seen goal less than 20 seconds into the game, though it was overturned (more on that later). The Rangers had numerous chances throughout, again, the first two periods of the game, yet they entered the 3rd period with just a 1-0 lead.
I should have known by now to expect something to happen. Like a Bills' fan in the early 90s, I actually believed we had a shot at winning. Again, with less than 10 minutes left the Rangers gave up a goal. That's alright, I thought, just hold on for eight more minutes, secure 1 point, then let Lundqvist do the rest. However just 60 seconds later Florida scored again, giving us our final score of 2-1.
Lundqvist bails out the Rangers more than the government bails out GM. Yes, the game was lost, but to no fault of King Henry. He has always been more than solid in goal, and in the last 3 games he's given up a total of 4 goals in regulation. When a hockey team cannot win a single game with those stats, how can they expect to do anything?
Zero points earned in a game the Rangers had a 41-22 shots advantage. More chanting of "fire Sather". I'm starting to wonder if Tortorella is already regretting signing on the dotted line to take over this team.
Getting back to Dubinsky's overturned goal early in the 1st period, I have no words other than I'm stunned. I understand at first the refs weren't sure if the his stick was above the crossbar or not, I wasn't too sure either. Then they showed a replay which clearly showed his stick under the bar.
I had no worries about this one. "Sure, let them review it for a minute" I said to a friend watching the game with me, "when the goal stands, it'll just put more energy into the building for the rest of the game".
The next thing I know, the puck was dropped and there was no goal on the scoreboard. I'm baffled at why headquarters in Toronto said not to review the goal. If I were Tortorella, I would immediately put the game under protest, if nothing else, to prove a point and to get the fans that haven't jumped on his bandwagon yet to climb aboard.
Despite not having many positive things to say about the Rangers' latest fumble, I am starting to see a better team emerge from Renney's last stand. I'll admit, I liked Renney. I didn't agree with the decision to see him go. But after just two games under Tortorella, I'm happy they made the change.
In the first two periods of each of Tortorella's first two games, the Rangers have looked like a fast and powerful team. After just a little more time together, days not weeks, I think the Rangers are going to find their stride just in time for a momentum filled run into the playoffs. Let's just hope they don't trade away their youth at the trade deadline.