From the desk of: RAISE GRESCH WITH THE GREATS
NEW YORK RANGERS: Tomahawked.
They looked so bad on the Power Play. Their inability to secure the zone is one thing. All the standing around and lazy passes around the outside is another. No shots on goal during the man advantage is just inexcusable.
Over all, what could go wrong, did. Dan Girardi got caught covering a puck in the crease with his hand and so Chicago was awarded a penalty shot. The Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews cashed in for his twenty-eighth goal of the season. Eight more minutes of utter defensive failure ensued allowing Chicago to score three more goals mostly of the break-away variety. For the Rangers did everything they could to make Marty Biron look bad in the process. In a word, what Ranger fans saw was putrid. And I'm just taking about the first period.
Marc Staal scored his first goal of the season in the second period to make it a 4-1 game. And while the Rangers played a substantially better second period, things still wouldn't go their way. At one point while trying to kill a Chicago power play, the Rangers had three skaters on the ice, but only two of them had sticks. Yeah, it was that kind of night. It was the kind of night where a jumpy puck bounced on the wrong side of the Blackhawks' goal line. A goal there could have made this a 4-2 game with a period to go.
But a come back just wasn't in the cards for the Blueshirts Thursday night. By the end of the game however, the Rangers had everyone rethinking a really bad first nine minutes. And well, maybe the Rangers just ran into a team that was bound to win a game after losing so many in a row.
We know what this team's problems are. The Rangers were 0-7 on the Power Play and managed just two sporadic even-strength goals against the Blackhawks. So there's no use picking on them after a game like this. They lost this game due to not executing what they do best; play defense. And that to me, is correctable.
Nothing about Thursday night's game changed my mind about taking a cautious approach to the trade deadline either.