The Rangers lost their third game in a row, falling to the Devils, 4-2. And in those three games they’ve managed to lose three different ways. They outplayed San Jose, but just couldn’t score enough.
The Washington loss was a disaster—coughing up a four-goal lead. And last night vs. New Jersey, they were sloppy, undisciplined, and turned the puck over—all the usual Rangers trademarks.
What’s the Rangers’ problem? Is it coaching? Is it personnel? Or all of the above?
The Devils are disciplined, well-coached, and always do the right thing with the puck. The Rangers get off their game plan at the first sign of trouble. You can dangle a shiny set of keys in front of them and away they go, turning the puck over, trying to make too many individual plays, and not playing a simple brand of hockey.
When they win, they dump the puck in, outwork their opponent, forecheck aggressively, and try to control the puck. When they don’t do those things, they lose.
It’s pretty simple. They don’t have the talent to run and gun against other teams. And there are no consequences from the coaching staff when players play poorly.
The Rangers committed a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty right off the bat last night, gave up a power play goal, and never recovered. They followed that up by allowing another bumbling, shorthanded goal.
The shorthanded goals are beyond unbelievable and embarrassing at this point. And you couldn’t even blame Michal Rozsival for this one. Chris Drury and Brandon Dubinsky played patty cake with the puck, and Paul Mara was nowhere to be found on the back end.Drury was -3 for the night. The team just makes the same mistakes over and over.
Henrik Lundqvist has to be completely frustrated at this point. He’s in somewhat of a slump, and if he can’t save them, then the team is in trouble. The few bright spots in the loss were Nigel Dawes, who scored the Blueshirts’ first goal, Lauri Korpikoski, who actually looked like he was trying out there, and Marc Staal, who’s probably the team’s best player right now.
Dmitri Kalinin netted his first goal of the season, and Corey Potter assisted, for his first NHL point. There was a rumor that the Scott Gomez/Markus Naslund/Nikolai Zherdev line played in the game, but that can’t be confirmed.
The Rangers’ veterans are all having disappointing (Gomez, Drury) to horribly nightmarish (Wade Redden, Rozsival) seasons, while the youngsters (Dubinsky, Dawes, etc.) haven’t taken that step up where they’re contributing on a consistent basis.
Tom Renney also continues to baffle people with his decisions, and he doesn’t hold his players accountable for their subpar play. That spot atop the standings? That’s all just a mirage.