Not sure what everyone is so upset about, the Rangers gained a point in the standings last night.
While the brutal 5-4 overtime loss to the Penguins was hard to swallow, I thought there were a number of signs that the Blueshirts might be ready to bust out of their early season malaise.
1. But before we get to the good…CAN THIS TEAM F’N BE READY AT PUCK DROP?!?!?! IS THAT TOO MUCH TO F’N ASK?!?!?!?!
I’m not one for piling on AV (that’s what Twitter’s for), but the team’s lack of preparation falls squarely on the head coach. How hard is it to have the team ready to go? I know he can’t get the players hyped for every game, but c’mon man, it’s like they’re sleep walking out of the locker room. AV might want to try this against the Islanders on Thursday…
2. In the same vein, STOP GIVING THE GOD DAMN PUCK AWAY!!!!!!!!
3. Remember when we were all excited about the revamped defense this offseason? This group has me longing for the days of Malik and Roszival. Ok, maybe that’s a stretch, but Dan Girardi would definitely be a top pair defenseman on this group. Ok, that’s not all that far fetched considering who’s behind the bench. In fact, you have to wonder if the reason for Ryan McDonagh’s early season struggles has been the absence of Girardi. And not because the Rangers captain misses the shot blocking prowess of Girardi, I think it’s because McDonagh is re-learning how to be an actual defenseman again instead of an eraser for his defense partner. It’s sort of like someone who’s been kidnapped and forced to survive in a basement for years. When they’re finally discovered, it takes them awhile to re-adapt into society as a human being. I think McDonagh is going through that same process.
As far as the rest of the defense, I knew Shattenkirk had defensive deficiencies to his game, but he’s worse than I anticipated. I’ve had my issues with AV’s personnel deployments over the years, but he might be justified placing Shattenkirk on the third pair.
4. It wasn’t all bad for Shattenkirk vs. the Penguins as he continues to turn 20-years worth of shit on the power play into soufflé. Plus he punched Malkin in the face multiple times…
5. Once the Rangers finally snap out of this funk, if the power play can continue to produce at the current rate, they’ll never be out of a game. I’ve literally seen more skilled play from the man advantage units through seven games than I have the last seven years. Including this beauty from last night…
Unfortunately, not converting on the 5-on-3 due to Kreider’s offensive zone penalty seemed to give the Penguins life. So it wasn’t ALL posive from the power play.
6. Speaking of Kreider, still waiting for him to replicate that third period performance in Game 6 against the Senators last postseason.
7. What a snipe by Buchnevich on that power play goal!!!! I wonder why he’s not able to do that 5×5.
Looks at linemates:
Looks at 5×5 time on ice (via Ryan Ohanesian):
8. Easily the worst part of last night’s loss was that the Rangers were less than a minute from firmly pinning a Penguins defeat on the undisciplined play of Sidney Crosby. Instead…
9. While the Rangers wouldn’t have been in position to win that game without the heroics of Lundqvist, with how badly the club needed some positive vibes, he can’t allow that goal, at that time, in this game. Can’t happen. In the past, when the Rangers needed a win, he always locked it down. Now? I’m seeing way too many last minute blown leads. That’s not all on The King, but we’re starting to see some cracks in the armor.
10. Thankfully, Prince Igor is on the way…
11. Lias Andersson watch:
I’m not saying they will, but because the Rangers loaned Andersson to Frolunda, they could actually recall him at some point this season.
12. Despite the stinging loss, there was a silver lining. For the first time this season there were signs of life. In coming back from the early 2-0 hole, the Rangers showed some actual resolve and fight. It looked like they were finally interested in winning a game. Imagine that. Now that they’ve had a taste of that drive and determination, I’m hopeful it’ll carry over into another rivalry game on Thursday vs. the Islanders.