Tonight the Edmonton Oilers gave Glen Sather a great honor raising a banner with Sather to the rafters with so many that he brought into the game. The game against the oilers is also game #1,000 for Rangers bench coach Alain Vigneault. The Rangers started out the 1st period slow and the usual as of late a step behind the younger and more desperate Oilers and were down 3-1 at the end of the 1st period. The 2nd has started and Chris Kreider is looking better tonight leading to a Rangers 2nd goal cutting the deficit in 1/2 to the score of 3-2 Oilers advantage.
The Rangers are switching lines around but leaving the defensive partners the same. The problem sems to be Dan Girardi is bringing Ryan McDonagh down to his level and that pair needs a divorce if the Rangers are to get their game back. Problem is, Marc Staal is playing slow and all over the place. When Dan Boyle is clearly one of the top 3 defensemen on the Rangers, it just goes to show how much the Rangers are missing Kevin Klein. The Rangers have just tied the score at 3-3 with Derrick Brassard scoring from just inside the blueline. Keep shooting the puck Rangers...it's the only way it can go in! With the score tied at 3, Henrik Lundqvist has come up with a few outstanding saves while the Rangers are still playing terrible in their own zone and being outshot by the lowly Oilers 29-15. With 2 minutes left in the 2nd, Krieder takes a stupid penalty and he better hope the penalty killers do their job or else he will be in the doghouse. It's a shame because he was playing well tonight for a change. The Rangers go into the 2nd intermision tied at 3-3. McIlrath clearly gives the Rangers something on the backend they have needed for a long time, someone that makes the other teams forwards pay for setting up camp in front of the King and taking an extra dig for the puck in the pads.
Oilers score as the powerplay ends thanks AGAIN to the McDonagh and GIRARDI pairing as BOTH were BEHIND the net. It's like these guys don't have a clue of where the hell to be. This period has started with the Rangers chasing players all over the ice and let up another goal and now are losing 5-3. How can they be leaving guys wide open in the middle of the ice? Oh WAIT, it was the McDonagh and Girardi pairing AGAIN!! Rangers are now pulling Lundqvist and sparing him from his teammates tonight. If Lundqvist took his defense to court tonight, he could sue for NON SUPPOURT! Good Luck Antii Raanta. If Girardi is hurt, then sit the hell down. Your not helping your team by playing, your just hurting them by not being able to do your job. If this team hit the net with it's shots, they could be dangerous. They have shot at least 6 shots way wide that not only negates the scoring chance, but catches the Rangers into a odd man rush for the opposition. Nash just blasted a shot off the post and Brassard poked it home from the middle of the goalcrease with around 13 minutes left in the game. Just seems like one of those games. Rangers always sem to be on the wrong side of the player they are covering in their defensive zone. Two great opportunities to tie the game from Etem and Fast and both shots were.....WIDE! Finally a shot from a bad angle in the corner that lead to a big rebound, but of course not a Ranger in sight. 5 minutes left down 4-5. Purcell with a crosscheck to the head for a Rangers powerplay with 1:53 left in the game. How do they even have a chance tonight is just amazing. Rangers use their timeout to set up a play. Just have to start with winnnig a faceoff. Nash scores off a scramble in front. Tied at 5 with 1:45 left in the game. UNBELIEVABLE..........the Rangers give up a 2 on 1 break and are losing again 6-5 JUST 13 SECONDS LATER! Empty netter with 37 seconds left as Korpikoski gets a hattrick. Thinhs have gotten PATHETIC in Rangerland! Rangers LOSE to the lowly Oilers 7-5 and keep showing how lost they are in their own zone. The Rangers are now 2-6-1 in the last 9 games overall. The wheels seem to be almost off the bus, what will be done to get things fixed??
The Rangers again seemed a step behind their opponent and chasing the puck in the game so far. The Rangers don't seem to be "in tune" with each other , missing tape to tape passes constantly, missing defensive zone coverage, and never shooting when they have a chance but instead looking for the perfect pass that never comes. The Rangers outstanding goaltending has covered up the many problems so far this season, but it is time to get new blood into the lineup by either a trade of promotion/demotion with the Hartford Wolfpack.
It is inconceivable that on many nights some of these veteran Rangers seem to be sleepwalking.Tonight many of the players skated at half speed and left the middle of the ice wide open. The Rangers have some very good players and some middle of the road players that either need to step up or be moved out. The Rangers have forwards such as Brian Gibbons, Jayson Megna, Luke Adam, and defensemen Raphael Diaz or Brady Skjei that will clearly bring in energy on a nightly basis. Jeff Gorton has had enough time to figure out who fits and who doesn't for this system. The players that should be on the cusp of being sent down or traded are Victor Stalberg, Tanner Glass (again), Jesper Fast (what has happened to him?), Emerson Etem (he must have really pissed someone off that he isn't getting a chance), Chris Kreider (will he be worth the expected $4 mil caphit extension this summer?), Dan Boyle (has been playing better with the more time he has gotten over the last few games), Marc Staal (anybody see him this season yet?), and Dan Girardi (may be missing his BFF Ryan Callahan too much). The nice surprises this season so far have been Oscar Lindberg (2nd on team for goals so far), Mats Zuccarello (healthy again), Antii Raanta (gives the Rangers a chance to win every time between the pipes), and Dylan McIlrath (has shown he can play a solid 3rd pairing in the NHL).
It's clear the Rangers need a "shakeup" and I hope they don't wait for another 2 months to do it. Chris Drury is over watching Pavel Buchnevich this week and speaking to KHL execs to see if he will be allowed to join the Rangers around the trade deadline (when the KHL season ends) of if they plan on putting him on the Russian team for the Worlds. Buchnevich will be a 30 goal a year player without a doubt once he joins the Rangers. Finding out if he will come over to the NHL will be big whether the Rangers need to know if they need to add a top 6 player for scoring such as Eberle, E. Staal, Kopitar, or players of that level and "go for it". Jeff Gorton needs to start working the phones and get the Rangers players that will play in all the hard areas to play because this team sure isn't doing it right now.
LET'S GO RANGERS!!!! GET IT TOGETHER!!!