Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Rangers Drop Second Straight With 2-1 Loss To Panthers

The New York Rangers didn’t find the sense of urgency they needed following their 4-0 loss Saturday and it cost them again as they fell 2-1 in Florida Wednesday night.  The lack of offense was obvious, but the Rangers are back to the utter lack of energy and effort that was plaguing them to start the season as well.  If that does not change quickly, then the positive of the seven game win streak will disappear in the standings very quickly as the competition level is only increasing and the schedule getting more compact.

Florida outskated the Rangers for the entire first period with Jason Garrison making them pay on the power play at 10:06.  Garrison was left all alone for a bomb from the point scoring his league leading eighth goal by a defenseman.  That didn’t wake New York up as they let Kris Versteeg put them in a 2-0 whole in the opening seconds of the second period.  Tomas Fleischmann completely undressed Artem Anisimov before finding a wide-open Versteeg in front of the net.

Derek Stepan gave the Rangers a sense of hope when he scored 4:18 into the second period to cut the deficit in half.  Marian Gaborik made the goal happen after taking a Ryan McDonagh pass, dancing into the offensive zone and cutting to the middle until finding Stepan for the goal.

The Rangers generated some chances late in the third period, but Jose Theodore made some huge saves to preserve the game.  It should not even have been that close if not for the work for Henrik Lundqvist who made 36 saves on the night.  Lundqvist’s brightest stretch of the night was while killing the 5-minute major to Andre Deveaux. During the kill the Rangers got trapped in their own zone for long stretches, but Lundqvist saved them making seven stops during the kill.

The 5-minute major to Deveaux was from a ridiculously foolish play elbowing Tomas Fleischman in the head.  Deveaux was assessed a 5-minute major and given a match penalty for the hit.  He should receive a significant suspension and likely sends him back to the minors for how stupid and selfish the play was. 
  • Stralman made no difference on the power play
  • Boyle, Prust, and Fedotenko all seem lost out there right now and are bringing little to the table

Anton Stralman To Make Rangers Debut Tonight While Scratch Unknown

Anton Stralman will make his Rangers debut tonight, but no official announcement of which player will be the scratch.

Pat Leonard tweeted that Jeff Woywitka is the likely candidate to be pulled from the lineup, which would be right if a defender is the scratch.  There is also a small chance that Deveaux would be scratched and the Rangers go with 11F and 7D.  That is unlikely because of coach John Tortorella's stated distaste for dressing seven defenders.

Staal Makes Trip To Florida With Team

Last night the New York Rangers announced that Marc Staal, Mike Rupp and Wojtek Wolski all accompanied their teammates on the short road trip this week.  Having the full team together is always a positive thing and great to see the injured guys making the trip, especially during a holiday week.

For Staal it is the first trip he has made with the team so far this season and is another small step in his recovery process.  The fact that he is on the plane should indicate that he is still symptom free after starting light workouts because if he was still have any concussion symptoms they would not be letting him fly. Any step forward is welcomed news when it comes to Staal's recovery and while this one is small being around the club on the road can be big for him both psychologically and emotionally.