The Rangers spent the week fighting for their playoff lives, and they didn’t do a very good job of it. They played one great game and two pretty good ones, but pretty good isn’t good enough when you need points.
No one cares how you do it, but when you’re tied in the third period, you need to come out of the game with at least a point.
On Saturday against Pittsburgh, the Rangers fell behind 2-0, but rallied with two late first period goals. They fell behind again, and tied it again. Then they lost it on a third-period goal by Sidney (insert crybaby joke here) Crosby.
The game was an odd-man-rush-fest, with too-much pinching by the defensemen, leaving the center of the ice wide open for the Pens.
“It’s an in-your-face system that’s constantly evolving,” said Chris Drury.
On Tuesday, the matchup everybody’s been waiting for took place.
Fatso vs. Sean Avery.
The Rangers plugged the hole in the odd-man-rush dam and played their best game of the year. The Blueshirts were relentless, and dominated New Jersey.
When Scott Clemmensen’s in the nets, the Rangers can’t win, but Martin Brodeur seems to bring out the best in them.
Also, consider Henrik Lundqvist. He’s 14-2-4 against the Devils goalie in regulation games.
Not much went on between Avery and Brodeur, except a few stick pokes and jabs, but no cartoon-like antics. The rest of the Devils, however, spent much of the game trying to kill Avery.
It couldn’t have worked out better for the Rangers.
He did his job to perfection; which entails goading the other team into not doing theirs. The David Clarkson incident was hilarious. Talk about frustrating the other team into doing stupid things. Clarkson received 14 minutes in penalties, while Avery got two; just because his name is Sean Avery.
He’s completely in the Devils’ heads at this point. Let’s just hope this wasn’t the last good game the Rangers play.
Last night in Carolina, the Rangers had four power plays in the first period and couldn’t score on any of them.
That was the game right there.
They finally tallied one with the man advantage in the second, but went one for seven for the night.
Their power play is killing their season.
When they have a chance to break a game open, or take the lead with a third-period PP, they usually fail. Last night they failed on all those chances in the first to take a big lead.
Like the game against Pittsburgh, they fell behind, tied it up, fell behind again and tied it again.
They couldn’t overcome mistakes in the third period, turnovers and bad defensive-zone coverage, which led to the two Carolina goals.
That game was like getting punched in the gut.
So now the playoffs are slipping from their grasp. While every team around the Rangers is on some otherworldly winning streak, they’ve sunk all the way down to eighth place.
They’re failing in third periods, and they better start concentrating on the little details so they can stop wasting opportunities to win games.
Time’s running out, as there are only four games left. If they don’t find a way to win the close ones, they’ll be watching the playoffs on Versus like the rest of us.
(Rangers record with Sean Avery in the lineup)
(58 fights, 7th in the league)
Colton Orr: 18
Aaron Voros: 10
Brandon Dubinsky: 6
Paul Mara: 6
Ryan Callahan: 3
Dan Girardi: 3
Sean Avery: 2
Petr Prucha: 2
Erik Reitz: 2
Marc Staal: 2
Nigel Dawes: 1
Markus Naslund: 1
Wade Redden: 1
Nikolai Zherdev: 1