Remember the game NBA Jam from the early '90s? Remember how when a player would score consecutive buckets the announcer would proclaim "He's heating upppp!" Then, if he made that third straight basket he would go on fire, and wouldn't miss another shot no matter where he shot from until someone else scored?
Well, the Rangers were heating up. After scoring 14 goals in two games, the Rangers were in prime position to catch fire and rattle off a streak of wins with their newly found confidence, and offense.
Andddddd then they remembered they were the New York Rangers.
You know, the same Rangers that were held off the score sheet for 173 minutes over a four-game span.
Forget about going en fuego, the Rangers are back to their old ways. Ice cold.
The Blueshirts are tick-tocking closer to that scoreless minutes mark, getting shutout 2-0 by the Flyers Thursday, and are getting humiliated with a 5-0 deficit, midway through the third by the Montreal Canadiens as we speak.
You would think Ron Hextall and Patrick Roy were in net for the Flyers and Canadiens, respectively, the way the Rangers have struggled these past two games to put the puck in the net.
As I mentioned last week, the Rangers offensive success lives and dies on secondary scoring.
When the Rangers are scoring, players other than Marian Gaborik are doing it. Against Tampa Bay, eight different players scored a goal for the Rangers. During the 6-2 comeback win against Montreal—which the Habs are getting retribution for right now—Dubinsky and Callahan provided the offensive spark.
While most teams go through a drought or a rough patch or two, surrounded by consistent, steady play, the Rangers do the exact opposite. Their one or two game "drought" is actually when they play well.
The only thing consistent about the Rangers play, is their inconsistency.
Much of that has to do with the pieces of the Rangers puzzle.
The Rangers, other than Gaborik, and to an extent Vinny Prospal, are a team full of role players.
Gaborik is a bona fide first liner. Prospal, although aging, can still be considered a first-liner on most nights. After that? Well, there's not much.
Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan, Chris Drury, Sean Avery, Ales Kotalik, Chris Higgins, Aaron Voros, and Brian Boyle are all third line-to-mid-tier-second-line players.
Having Avery, Voros, and Boyle as a fourth line is very solid. They have arguably been the best line on the ice at times since being put together a few games ago.
Having Anisimov and Lisin together on the third line is also very nice, as they have generated several chances together, but just can't seem to finish.
After that it's been a revolving door of linemates, as it's been most of the season.
Regardless of where the Rangers are in the standings at the trading deadline, they must be sellers. Big sellers. I'm talking power-seller on eBay, Billy Mays on infomercials sellers.
Prospal is only here for one year, and you have to assume he's going to want a substantial raise over the $1.1 million he's earning this year. He will be very valuable to a team that is looking to make a deep run in the playoffs looking to add a veteran presence and offensive help.
Higgins and Kotalik, although less valuable, will most likely draw some interest from teams. I don't care if the Rangers take on draft picks for the those two, the trigger needs to be pulled.
I know this is New York, and New Yorkers have the we want it yesterday mentality, but the Rangers must be content with having a serious rebuilding effort that might last a few seasons.
It needs to start now.
**More to follow on this topic