NEW YORK – Make no mistke, this was a very winnable game for the New York Rangers.
Don’t just take a the word of a humble reporter, listen to The King.
“This one hurts,” said “The King” Henrik Lundqvist. “The way we played in the third, we deserved at least a tie game, if not a win. I just couldn’t come up with a big save at the end. It’s a little frustrating. It’s just a tough one to lose.”
The team skated hard in this one but just couldn’t get the secondary scoring. Even with two goals from Marian Gaborik, the Rangers ended up on the losing end of a 4-2 stick to the Washington Capitals.
“I thought, for most of the game there, we played,” said coach John Tortorella. “Obviously our biggest weakness is that we are not getting any secondary scoring. We played in surges at times. We held them to 11, 12 scoring chances. We just aren’t creating enough with our secondary scoring.”
That’s the problem with the Rangers these days. Outside of Gaborik, there’s no other goals coming from the club and with a good team like Capitals, that’s just not enough. With two of Rangers top centers (Chris Drury and Brandon Dubinsky) on the shelf, others need to step up for the Rangers for them to be successful.
“I think a lot of things stem from getting the puck in their zone,” said defenseman Wade Redden, who was beaten on Washington’s winning goal by Matt Bradley. “It starts from our end, where we get good passes, chip it in and forecheck. It is not just shots, it is creating momentum. I think we just have to rely on the simple little plays to create chances for ourselves.”
Fighting for pucks and driving to the net is one of the biggest sins for these Rangers. Outside of when No. 10 is on the ice, the team plays back and conservative, which is not good for successful hockey, especially when you are not playing a defensive system.
Yet on the bright side, there is Gaborik, who now has 15 goals on the season and is showing the Garden Faithful why he is the best goal scorer since Jaromir Jagr took the league by storm after the lockout.
“He gets the puck and makes things happen,” Redden said. “That’s a big part of our offense. Our power play has been clicking pretty good. He finds the spots on the ice and makes things happen. He is big for us.”
Garborik scored in the 1:16 into the game and then beat Semyon Varlamov 8:26 into the third on the power play to tie the match. Yet, the firepower of the Capitals behind Alex Ovechkin, proved too much.
“We’ve got to capitalize and try and score on those hardworking, grinding plays,” Gaborik said. “We just have to cut down on taking penalties and go from there. We didn’t generate a lot of shots, that was a problem there. We came back in the third, we had some good chances down low and we need to keep the puck down low more often.”
“You have to be positive and you have to think you’ll turn this around,” Lundqvist said. “We had a big win the other night and we just need to have a couple in a row and get going. Now we’re back to square one again. We have a couple of days off between games and we have to make sure we’re ready for the next one.”