A bit of deja vu tonight. Markstrom stood strong and the Panthers held on long enough to get their two necessary goals. Give credit to them for doing what they had to.
Nonetheless, frustrating result for the Rangers. With the Jets losing in regulation, the Rangers had the ability to clinch a playoff spot. And with the Islanders losing in overtime, they had the ability to move up to the six seed. Instead, a loss to the worst team in the Eastern Conference. It's hard to get too mad; they were 7-2-1 in their previous 10 games and significantly outplayed the Panthers tonight. Nonetheless, the struggles early in the season made a loss tonight very difficult to come to peace with. We outhit them, won more faceoffs, had more posession, and more than doubled their shot total. The scoreboard is what matters most, though, and it tilted away from the Rangers tonight. Had the Rangers gotten a couple of bounces in their favor like they did against Buffalo then we're celebrating a Rangers victory and four-game winning streak. Instead, we have this. Let's look at some post-game thoughts:
The Powerplay: It's been so mucher better since the trading deadline... until tonight. Three powerplays, and two in the first 21 minutes of the game. Unfortunately, no goals. A few solid chances occurred, but as a whole the Rangers really failed to shoot from high percentage areas and for some reason didn't get bodies in front of Markstrom.
Mats Zuccarello: One of the few bright spots tonight. Zucc was the team's best forward and made things happen in all three periods. He got unlucky when a second period shot rang off the crossbar, but made a great feed to John Moore on the transition, which eventually led to Pyatt's goal. Zucc was also credited with four hits and two blocked shots. This is not the player John Tortorella became frustrated with last season. It's another quality game from The Hobbit and you have to wonder how close he is to earning Sather and Torts' trust and getting rewarded with a contract extension.
Taylor Pyatt: One of the weirdest players I have ever seen. He started the season hot, with three goals in his first four games. Then he had only one goal in the next 40 games. And now he has scored in back-to-back games. There are very few things he does particularly well, but at the same time, he's not a liability in any facet of the game. He's not good. He's not bad. He's just...there. Nonetheless, he's putting up some productive games late in the season, and the biggest compliment given about Pyatt is that he turns his game up a gear during the playoffs. He doesn't need to be a key figure. He doesn't even need to be a level below. If he can just provide a goal or two while being responsible defensively and working hard along the boards then he has a role on this team. He has done that these past few games. Tomorrow he might wake up and be Zombie Pyatt once again. Who knows?
John Moore: Going into tonight, Moore was averaging just under 11 minutes of icetime per game with the Rangers. He surpassed that number in the previous four games, and tonight was no different, with him earning 12 minutes. Whereas he was getting amplified icetime in games in which the Rangers had heavy leads, tonight was a tight-knit game from start to finish, and we all know how conservative Tortorella is with handing icetime to guys he doesn't trust. Safe to say that John Moore is gaining that trust and has more responsibility. Tonight, he skated onto Zuccarello's pass and blazed past everyone towards the net. Although his shot didn't go in, it created a rebound for Pyatt, who buried it. At only 22, there is plenty of untapped potential in Moore, and it will be exciting to see what path his career takes in the next few years.
Brad Richards: He made a good play centering the puck and getting the assist on Brassard's goal, which is nice. Unfortunately, he also made the biggest mistake in the game. In the offensive zone at the time, he forced a pass into Michael Del Zotto's skates and therefore allowed Florida to recover the puck and go on the transition. From there, Richards hauled down TJ Brennan, received a penalty, and gave the Panthers the vehicle for their go-ahead goal in the third period. Does this mean Richards' run of productivity is over? No. Outside of that play I thought he was actually one of the best forwards tonight. But hockey is as much about limiting mistakes as anything else, and he made a big one.
Ryan Callahan: A weird one for him. On one hand, he had six shots and got the secondary assist on Brassard's goal. But only one blocked shot and zero hits? Part of that is likely because the Rangers had the puck for majority of the game, but even his shots were from low percentage areas and he didn't seem to have very good control of the puck tonight, with pucks bouncing off his stick and forced passes. Also, a bad tripping penalty in the offensive zone. It's unfair to expect him to play great every night, but he wears the "C" and expectations are that much higher. He's often the catalyst for this team one way or another but his contributions tonight seemed somewhat negligible.
If the Rangers just failed to show up like the last trip to Florida then there would be cause for a great deal of concern. It's hard to single out anyone as having a truly "bad" game because the Rangers really "won" this game in terms of individual outputs. But at the same time, only a couple of guys stood out as doing things to truly make the difference tonight. An unlucky deflection off of a Ranger stick past Lundqvist for the first goal. A bad penalty by Richards leading to the second. And an empty netter on the third. One terrible play, a bad bounce, and no bounces in our favor. If we were leading the divison then we'd simply chalk this game up to poor fortune and look towards the next game. Instead, it's an untimely loss to a team that had lost six straight and are dead last in the conference. Though the Rangers have probability on their side; two points in the next two games or a Winnipeg loss will clinch a playoff spot - it can almost never be easy for this team, and
tonight this season is no different. So it goes.
Follow Me On Twitter: @Herman_NYRBlog
Tired of seeing these "hate" torts messages ---brought us to the conf final in 2 years--are we kidding? He brought back what this team represents "blue collar hockey" ----this is not TORTS, stop hating!
being at the game & 13 rows above the ice, I too thought Zuccarello was clearly the best player on the ice. He was all over the place offensively but he impressed me more defensively. I saw him deflect a few passes that would have been a great goal scoring opportunity. I thought Cally was non-existence (1st time ALL year). It seemed every time they'd start a break that 1 pass would bounce off someones stick. Even my father said "is stick-em illegal in hockey?". I was waiting for the hail-mary pass to Hagelin but I never saw it. His speed wasn't there.
Give credit to Florida because we out played / out shot them all game. Their 1st goal was only there 3 shot on goal where NY had 14. Give credit to their goalie because he didn't give up any rebounds. The few times we put a body in front of him we couldn't get the puck through.
In warmups I told my father and people around us that #22 on Florida looked like he was sizing someone to hit. He looked like a goon who could not skate. I dont know how it looked on tv but Asham kicked his ass bigtime. Later in the game the 2 were on the ice at the same time. I saw them talking before the puck dropped but then #22 skated away. The Panther fan near us commented that he was afraid of Asham.
Good game but the Richards penalty was the killer. You saw the ice tilting in the Rangers favor before that penalty. However, I think the penalty was justified because if he didn't pull his man down I think it was an easy 3 on1 ...
nothing like a loss to make people panic. only way they don't get in is by losing last two and jets must win thurs.
So frustrated , the one time everything goes the rangers way externally and they lose to the worst team in the conference and worst power play. How do they not score on that late pp. but score after its over? what a bunch of shit. They out played the panthers and lose anyway. What a joke.
Rick Nash has about as good a skill set as I've ever seen a Ranger have, just not game in & game out!
This team sucks... Very frustrated with this group. Last I heard there is an Amber Alert out for Rick Nash... Been missing for over a week.
Here's the issue....getting out of the #8 spot is a priority and this team just can't respond on a consistent basis. It seems to be when they struggle to get the first goal, the confidence ebbs away and that is how a very poor team like Florida was able to hang in the game. Personally, I would like them to win the next game, do not want to have to beat the Devils to make the playoffs..
People jeez things happen. Cally had an off night, Nash didn't show up either (not that he didn't get swarmed every time he touched the puck) but things happen. I don't like losing to FL either but shit happens. Look forward to the next. It isn't over yet.
Don't worry guys. I got this. I'll be attending Thursday nights game in Raleigh and they have only lost once while I was in attendance.
Also, if by some sequence of unfortunate events we do miss the playoffs this year. Since Brad Richards has started to show life, I want John Tortorella's head on a stick. It shocks me how he has any excuses... the talent is there, not making the playoffs falls solely on the coach... especially with the last 5 games or so this team had... 0 playoff teams to compete against
Did Torts take any responsibility at all for the EN goal, which was the game winner , or pass the blame for the loss onto his players? Telling. In any event, the Rangers had to be better, get to the net as Zuccarello noted.By the way,Zuccarello played well,as we all saw. I concluded he should be resigned from watching him in this game.
Something told me this wasn't going to be a good game and uncharacteristically I chose not to watch tonight, but I do think they'll bounce back in Carolina. It sounds like they weren't terrible but winding up 1-2 against the leagues worst team is special. Lunar eclipse for Thursday's full moon so it could be a weird one. LGR
Lets face it... Richards penalty was one of the dumbest ones he could have taken... panther forward coming down on 1 of our d-men... Richards keep your damn stick away from him..beter yet pass him off to the D-man and pick up a possible trailer... what a joke
that might be the most frustrating part of hockey is when you can outplay a team all game long and still lose. sux
Rick Nash had a truly bad game... he was invisible and thats a precursor of what he does come playoff time. This is just about the time where Rick Nash becomes a nobody... for gods sakes he has less playoff experience than Chris Kreider. Horrible game from him tonight, and his TOI showed that. Torts better light a fire under him because he has become a perimeter player just like Gaborik used to be
@knm05 it's frustrating that only Zuccs and Brass crash the net.
@ChrisP Good teams always find the way to win games that matter and the Rangrs are not a good team, period.
@nyrfan747 Thursday will make it twice. and Saturday the fat lady will sing. End of story,end of season.
@Josh6 The guy should be coaching pee wee pond hockey. He is not I mean NOT! an NHL. calibur coach. Other then intiimidation, he's got nothing.If he is back next year, after 49 years as a fan I'm done.
(not that anyone cares.)
@Josh6 I was bummed when they brought Torts here - we had a good run last year and he got the boys to overachieve so credit where credit is due but he seems too emotional and reactionary; and egotistical on top of that to me to be as effective as he should be given his experience. People argue that he has a winning record here, and that people like us don't know what goes on the ice and locker room, which I get but this is such a fast game which spins on a dime and his game plan doesn't show enough spontaneity from what I am able to see and emotionalism slows the mind. Just an opinion from a fan. Yes, at times he recognizes who is going and gives that player more ice but not on a consistant level. He's got some good points I suppose but I'd like to see him get out of his own way and get more into the zone..
@Josh6 That's stupid, dude. If anything, the actions at the trade deadline and the improvements the team made in the month of April showed that it was a personnel problem, not a coaching problem, that led to a lot of inconsistency.
@farlands2012 I'll take Zuccarello over Richards anytime.As a metter of fact,I'd take a roll of tape over Richards.I was against his signing from the beginning and I was proven correct.He must be bought out and get a real NHL player in he's place for a lot less money.
@Betweentheworlds maybe torts will play Nash the most of any forward like he is paid to do. I mean look at Kovalchuk.... he plays 26 minutes a game... You would think Nash could at least hit 20.
@Vkinc74Frustrating or exhilerating, kind of depends upon which side you are on - and it makes the game exciting. I answered some pre-game comments from those questioning the decision to play the King stating that in this league any team can beat any other team on any given night - doesn't matter that the Pans are the worst in the league. As it turned out Hank didn't make the difference but you still got to play your best no matter what. when fighting for a playoff spot. In fact I kind of knew they were going to lose and I didn't even watch cause I got such a feeling about it. don't know if it was a premonition or a recognition of a Ranger pattern
@Josh6 Tha,st what is called Tortorella virus.
@Josh6 One bad game and all of a sudden Nash is a "perimeter player"? You have a screw loose somewhere
@Josh6 Also, Torts was practically the only guy in the Universe that believed in Richards when the rest of you idiots were claiming his career was over. Just goes to show the lack of conviction and informed opinions around here. Whine whine whine, who do we get to blame next?
@Josh6 Nash has looked un-Nashty lately, though I didn't see tonight I heard he was quiet, maybe he's banged up. That would be pretty much the only acceptable excuse for not playing him extra minutes in a close potentially playoff clinching game, but this coach has always been an enigma to me so who knows.
@coontzbloontz just saying what I think. He has been a different player since that Lucic hit a ways back... much less physical and much less commanding
@Josh6 Uhh, no comment (just in case there are children here)
@Betweentheworlds he gave the extra ice-time to DZ who basically played forward for 5 shifts... what else is new