Saturday, January 13, 2018

N.Y. Rangers: Debacle on 33rd Street

From the desks of: 


Islanders lead series 2-0
I - NYI 4; NYR 3*
II - NYI 7; NYR 2

New York Rangers: So Much For Henrik Lundqvist's Day Off..!

Were it not for the mid-winter break, Henrik Lundqvist gets no break at all.  He has now appeared in 36 of the Rangers 43 games played to date.

Exactly one week after writing how Henrik Lundqvist is facing more shots on goal than ever, the Rangers ruined his scheduled day off with an absolutely abysmal effort against the visiting New York Islanders.

The Rangers were beaten, badly, by the likes of second year winger Anthony Beaullivier, and second year center Mathew Barzal - both of whom were Islanders first round selections in the 2015 entry draft, and both of whom registered a pair of goals each through the first two periods of Saturday's debacle at 33rd Street.

Less than seven minutes into the second period, Alain Vigneault pulled back-up goalie Ondrej Pavelec upon surrendering the Islanders' third goal of the period, and to that point their fifth goal of the game.

Both the Rangers and Islanders had been idle since last Sunday.  Therefore, rust is no excuse.  So let's be clear.  The Rangers flat out sucked.  Why mince words?  Every forward, and every defenseman, played regrettably terrible hockey.

Every one ...

Madison Square Garden wreaked of piss-poor performance.  But paying customers aren't entitled to refunds, and for that the Blueshirts should be ashamed of themselves.  Henrik Lundqvist let them know it, too.  He took his time donning his pads, then skated the length of the bench, admonishing his mates in front of the entire crowd before taking his position in net.

The Belmont-bound Islanders struck twice more in the third period en route to a 7-2 thrashing of their old division rivals.  Throughout the entire game, odd man rushes ruled the day.  Shane Prince, Cal Clutterbuck, and Thomas Hickey (thanks to a MatsZucs deflection) also participated in the scoring.

Nary a big hit from the SMURFS Rangers.  The box score says they laid 28 hits.  Somehow I must have missed them all.  I know none of them occurred in between the dots, or in front of the net.  Feeble stick checks abounded, though.

With little exaggeration, it seemed as if the Rangers unfurled a welcoming mat down center ice honoring the league's fourth best scoring team.

This is without a doubt a low point in the Rangers season.

What lies ahead is anyone's guess.

My opinion, however, remains unchanged.  Their defensmen are too small and passive; they're one of the league's weakest teams up the middle; overall they have no real toughness about them; and I do not like Alain Vigneault's system.

Saturday's loss stalls the Rangers at 49 points, and leaves them tied with the Penguins for seventh place in the Eastern Conference.

The Islanders are right behind them in ninth place, trailing by one point.

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