Wednesday, April 02, 2014

N.Y. Rangers: Final Leg Of Rocky Road Winds Through Colorado


Blueshirts Trip-Up Torts In Vancouver
Rangers   3
Canucks  1

NEW YORK RANGERS: With The Monkey Off His Back, Is It Finally TIME For Martin St. Louis To Go Ape?

Add Alexandre Burrows To The List Of Perps

Does this latest victory over the Vancouver Canucks make up for their gaffe against the Calgary Flames?  Somewhat.  But, ask me after the Rangers conclude this road trip against the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday.  Despite losing Matt Duchene, the Avalanche are still a 102 point team. They will pose the true test of this trip.

But, will the Rangers have Ryan McDonagh on the ice?  He will miss Thursday's game with an upper body injury.  If you're a regular rider of this Trolley, you know I keep tabs on the unanswered runs opponents take on the Rangers.  Add Vancouver's Alexandre Burrows name to the list of offenders.  His hit on McDonagh effectively ended Ryan's night.

Dan Girardi offered only mild retaliation in reaction to watching the hit on McDonagh.  But in my book, this goes down as yet another unchallenged run.  In case his mates didn't know, there's only one way to say this - without McDonagh, this team is done.

They must start protecting their own.  What will it take?  One instigation after another forced Rick Nash to take matters in his own hands against Columbus, and risk getting stuck in the box, when another Ranger should have taken up the cause and made the player exchange rate a fairer market. I'll say this till my face turns Broadway Blue - when the physicality ramps up in the post-season, these Rangers will find themselves over-matched.


Talk about making things hard on yourself.  Martin St. Louis finally scored his first goal as a member of the Rangers, and it came short handed no less.  Rangers fans can exhale now.  Or can they?  In 15 games since the trade, Martin has but 3 assists, and 4 points.  He is playing slightly less minutes with the Rangers than he did in Tampa.

Ryan Callahan on the other hand, has 6 goals, 4 assists, for 10 points in 14 games since the trade. Not coincidentally, his average minutes are slightly up playing for Tampa.

With regards to ice time, there's a correlation in there somewhere.  I just can't put my finger on it yet.  But, consider, no Rangers forward exceeded 20-minutes against the Canucks.  Mats Zuccarello led Rangers forwards with 18:02 minutes.  The Canucks had two forwards exceed 20 minutes of ice time.

I'll take this a step further.  In his last two games, Callahan skated for 21:44 against Detroit, and 22:21 against the Habs.  Martin St. Louis was on the ice for 19:56 versus the Oilers, but only skated for 16:42 against the Canucks.  Both Callahan and St. Louis play special teams, so there's no real disparity there to account for.

With his first goal out of the way, and with Chris Kreider injured, it's imperative that St. Louis starts performing up to par, and then helps in picking up the scoring slack.  It's ponderous that I should even be suggesting a two step recovery process, but his production speaks for itself,

...........which also leads me to Rick Nash.

Sure Rick Nash scored a pair against Edmonton, and leads the team with 25 goals.  But, in 16 games during March, he scored 6 goals, and had 3 assists.  However, he failed to score a goal in 12 of those games.  And, he only ranks 6th on the team in total points, but to be fair, has played roughly a dozen less games than his mates.

Perhaps it's just me, in that I never fathomed at this stage of the season, Mats Zuccarello would be leading the team with 54 points.

Five games remain in the Rangers regular season.  They may now say hello to the Montreal Canadiens, who recently tied the Tampa Bay Lighting with 93 points.  The Rangers are currently the 5th seed with 90 points.


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