NEW YORK – What kind of team is the New York Rangers? That’s the question everyone is asking, especially after another home loss – this time 3-1 to the Detroit Red Wings.
The Blueshirts played hard last night, especially in the third period, but John Tortorella’s crew just couldn’t score on the power play, as they went 0-5 on the night, including an 0-3 in the third period.
“Well we can say it is unfair…whatever,” Tortorella said. “We just came away empty. I thought it was important tonight that we get consecutive games. I thought we played two good games. You just want to get something out of it, at least a point out of it but we didn’t. We just have to fight through it. We fought through it after a shaky start. We will just get back at it.”
You probably have heard this story before. This is a team that’s built for offense, but only has one scorer, and since they sacrifice the defensive end, Henrik Lundqvist is left naked out there in the crease.
And last night’s game personified that problem. Although the team played very hard, the Red Wings were determined to keep Marion Gaborik off the board, leaving it in the hands of the rest of the Rangers, who could only muster a goal by Brian Boyle in the first period.
Without any other scoring, the team was left fighting for opportunities. Sean Avery missed an open net in the third and Ryan Callahan was stopped on a penalty shot.
“I thought I had him,” Callahan said. “I did the move the way I wanted to, but he just came up with a toe save.”
Now, they did look better in the past two games on defense, allowing Lundqvist to do his job.
“ I like the way we play in our own zone,” Lundqvist said. “It feels like we are more in control and we are not running around too much and guys are doing a good job with that. We have calmed down a little bit. You don’t feel like you have to cover up for anyone else. They are doing a good job coming back. That is a good thing and something we will keep on doing. We played well enough in our zone and in the defensive zone to win this game.”
But these aren’t Tom Renney’s Rangers who are built to keep goals off the board; this is Tortorella’s team, which is failing to come through in the clutch.
And that’s the story this year. Too many times the team has failed to come through in the clutch, just drifting along through the first two months of the season hoping for some consistency.