Thursday, March 3, 2011

S.O.S. (Same Ol' Sh...uh, Stuff)

After Tuesday's loss to Buffalo, I said that the Rangers must come out tonight and get 2 points, whether in regulation or in OT. And while they went ahead and put over 40 shots on goal, they were only able to muster one goal. Add to the fact that their defensive zone presence was basically non-existent, and the game sums up to a 3-1 loss to the equally (or maybe more) offensively inept Minnesota Wild.

Sean Avery was the only Ranger who was able to put the puck in the net, off a great centering feed from Erik Christensen. The remaining shots were not quality shots, and the few that were quality were miraculously stopped by Dominic Ha...uh, Jose Theodore. In addition, there were a number of quality chances where the Rangers were either out of position or shot the puck wide of the net.

Just like Tuesday night, teams that needed to win to solidify/improve their playoff chances (Montreal Canadiens, Carolina Hurricanes, Toronto Maple Leafs) were able to win. And even the Buffalo Sabres, who lost to the Hurricanes, helped themselves by getting a point by losing in OT. The Rangers now find themselves in 8th place, with Buffalo 2 points back and Toronto 3 points back. This is gonna be a tough final 16 games.

Oh, one more thing. The Wild couldn't even bring a little joy to me tonight. Jed Ortmeyer was called up from their AHL team and I was looking forward to see him play again at MSG. But nooooooo, they had to go ahead and scratch him from tonight's lineup. Morons...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Not Taking Care of Business

Around this time of season, every game you play is important. Not that they're not important earlier in the season. But results of games in March and April are magnified as the playoff picture becomes clearer. And they're even bigger when you play a team that you're fighting against for a coveted playoff spot. Going into tonight, here's the Rangers W-L records against their playoff competition:

5 - Washington Capitals 3-1
6 - Montreal Canadiens 0-3
8 - Carolina Hurricanes 2-2
9 - Buffalo Sabres 2-0

Tonight, the Rangers ended up being the only team in the Eastern Conference playoff race that seemed to play as if the game was not important with a huge 3-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres. They completely didn't show up in the 1st period, and were lucky to escape being down only 1-0. And while their energy improved during the 2nd and 3rd periods, they could never overcome that one goal deficit.

To make matters worse, as I mentioned before, every other team who played tonight took care of business. Montreal, Washington and Carolina all won. The Rangers are now 8 points behind Washington for 5th and 5 points behind Montreal for 6th. Carolina is 1 point behind in 8th and Buffalo, with their win, is 3 points behind in 9th. And they ALL have at least a game at hand (Buffalo actually has 3 games at hand). With 17 games to go in the season, the Rangers have lost control of their own destiny. And while a lot can happen in these final 17 games, the way they're playing right now doesn't make me very comfortable...

Their next game is Thursday night vs Minnesota - a possible Jed Ortmeyer homecoming - where they need to win and get both points (Minnesota is in the Western Conference, so giving them a point in OT or a shootout won't matter) Time is dwindling. And so are the Rangers chances of making the playoffs.