The New York Rangers lost to the Toronto Maple Leafs by a score of 4-2 at MSG. For a box score, click here.
I usually try to come up with more creative titles but I just couldn’t come up with one as tonight was a tale of two stories.
First let’s start with the good. To the surprise of no one, the Rangers pregame ceremony for Steven McDonald was all class. It started with the players all wearing jerseys in warmups with the number 104 on the back and McDonald on the nameplate. (See above. They had their actual numbers on their sleeves.) After that came the actual ceremony. In case you missed it:
I loved how they asked fans to cheer rather than hold a moment of silence. Detective McDonald would’ve wanted us to celebrate his life rather than mourn his loss. And I wasn’t surprised to see his Patti Ann and Conor there. Being at the game might have been the first moment of normal they had all week. But you could tell how hard it was for them, specifically his wife, to do this so full marks to the Garden Faithful for cheering them any chance they got. It took a while to figure out a cheer but there was a “Steve Mc-Donald” one at one point. I think that needs to be a staple every year from now on when the Extra Effort award is given out.
During the first TV timeout, the Rangers played a video where players past and present spoke about what Steven McDonald meant to them and the organization. It was poignant, beautifully done and probably didn’t leave a dry eye in the house.
But that was all for the good as aside from that, there was a hockey game played. Technically. I understand why the players wanted a break in the season. It gives them a chance to recharge and heal injuries if necessary. But when two teams meet after coming off a six day break, the only result is 60 minutes of boring hockey. And that’s basically what fans got to watch tonight.
Neither team played poorly, per se. But neither team played well either. Both just did enough to get by. The problem was the Leafs scored on their power play chances while the Rangers had six “power kills”. (Yes I am still using that term, I don’t care what Brandon Pirri says.) Basically that was the game.
The best part is both teams get to play again tomorrow with the Rangers headed to Montreal and the Leafs headed to Ottawa. Because giving teams a back to back after six days off makes complete sense. Hopefully the Rangers used tonight to get their legs and tomorrow we’re treated to an actual hockey game. I’m sure the Canadiens will be ready after getting killed last night so the Rangers better be.
(Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)