Monday, November 8, 2010

Rangers Week In Review 11/1-11/7 : Round and Round It Goes

The Rangers opened the week at 5-4-1 coming off a nice win in Toronto having to play four games and looking to kick off November and create some momentum.  On Monday they took on the defending champs and played like they wanted to get hot and stay hot as the effort was there in a what could best described as the Rangers finally translating the way they had played on the road to home ice.  The team worked the fore-check and cycle and it lead directly to both Dubinsky tallies on the night along with the Rangers showing mental toughness when after Lundqvist let in Kane’s soft goal they responded with Christensen’s winner just 28 seconds later.  Once again it was Dubinsky and Callahan carrying the club, but everyone else seemed involved in this one instead of just watching.  There was again reason for hope.

The reason for hope was quickly extinguished on Thursday at Philly where the fans before the game were focused as much on multiple sources of revenge as the two points the game could bring.  Effort in the first period of the game was awful as they only managed two shots on net not to mention Ryan Callahan was taken hard into the boards only to get up flexing his neck.  At the time he stayed in the game, but was ineffective the rest of the night and would end up sitting against the Devils the next night.  The Rangers got going early in the 2nd when on the powerplay Dubinsky found Del Zotto who hit the net, after missing multiple times earlier, leading to a rebound to an untouched Dubinsky hitting the open net for a 1-0 Rangers.  That would end up being the Rangers sole offensive highlight in a 4-1 loss.  After they took the lead the Rangers imploded taking penalties and handing the Flyers the puck in front of their own net leading to 3 goals before the period ended.  In the 3rd the more irritating thing happened as Carcillo once again ran a Ranger and Boogaard who was supposed to be the deterrent to that did nothing about it, once again leaving Brandon Prust to take care of it when he fought Carcillo.  Again fans back to the ledge.

The following night in New Jersey at least the end of the ledge got a break as the Rangers despite what I saw as a lackluster effort would get the 3-0 win behind the strong play of Henrik Lundqvist and Brandon Dubinsky.  Without Ryan Callahan, Dubinsky stepped up netting two goals and winning a key faceoff that lead to the other.  If Dubinsky and Lundqvist had failed to play at the level they did in the game they probably lose and this should have been a warning sign for Sunday against St. Louis.

On Sunday the Rangers took on St. Louis, arguably the best team in the NHL so far, and were looking to both finish the week with a winning record and get a nice four game homestand off on the right foot.  Neither of those would happen as the warning signs from the New Jersey game were not heeded and when Dubinsky-Anisimov-Callahan (back in the lineup) could not make the necessary offensive plays the rest of the offense failed to generate much at all, especially of the sustained variety.  Against good teams that simply wont do and the Rangers fell to 2-2 on the week, 2-4-1 at home and the fans spent Sunday night right back on the edge of the ledge where they will remain until the Capitals come to town on Tuesday.

As I said last week the Rangers still have a long way to go if they truly want to be a good team because they cannot seem to convert any positive momentum into repeated effort and results instead alternating between wins and losses.  There continue to be flashes of what the team could be, but flashes don’t count anywhere except cameras and won’t change the outcome in the standings.  In the week coming they have 3 home games to try and correct their lousy home performances and at some point might see the return of Marian Gaborik to the lineup.