Saturday, April 4, 2009
The Rangers have been here before. Shutout for the second straight time in two appearances in Boston by the same score, 1-0. Blake Wheeler's 1st period goal turned out to be the game winner as the Rangers came up firing blanks.
If you don't score, you can't win and that's the reality of it as I compared this loss with the previous shutout in Boston. It was eerily similar. First, the score was 1-0... that's obvious. Both games the Rangers outshot Boston. There were not many penalties called. Matinee starting times... strange, but true. Here's the facts: with everything on the line, getting a break with Atlanta beating Florida last night, the Rangers best players couldn't come up with the goods today. As coach John Tortorella is often quoted, "Your best players have to be the best players night in and night out". That didn't happen today, plain and simple.
The Rangers had, in my estimation, about 3 or maybe 4 good chances to score. The best of these scoring chances was by Lauri Korpikoski who's wristshot beat Tim Thomas cleanly but rang off of the post. Close, but no cigar, folks. Another great opportunity occurred when Sean Avery hit Tim Thomas in the back of the head lightly with his stick (a cheap, but effective move). This allowed the Rangers to go to a 4-4 situation, which later turned into a 4-3 after Marc Savard checked Gomez from behind leading a Rangers PP. The ensuing result: no serious chances to score. A message to the players on the PP... stop thinking and shoot. If you don't score, find the puck again and shoot the puck again. It's not that difficult. You make it difficult when you over-think and try to make the perfect play. By the way, I'd really like to know if Avery received the penalty because of the instant replay? Also, how does Tim Thomas only get 2 minutes for roughing? He clearly delivered a shot to Freddie Sjostrom's face with his blocker glove. That could of done some serious damage.
Overall, the end was result was a critical loss for the Rangers. Not only did this loss bring the Florida Panthers back into the picture, but it also left the Buffalo Sabres breathing as well. Give Boston credit, they shut down the Rangers offense. They never gave the Rangers much hope in today's game. Well, now there are 3 games left for the Blueshirts... things are definitely getting tight. Can the Rangers nail down a playoff spot? Only time will tell. Over and out!