NEW YORK – In 2012, the Rangers radiated with a bright shade of black and blue, but in 2013, these Blueshirts are now colored with rust.
The Rangers came out flat again as they christened a renovated Garden with a 6-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. On a night where almost nothing went right, the club couldn’t stand an onslaught of Penguin attacks and its offense was just flat for most of the match.
“The execution wasn’t there,” said defenseman Marc Staal. “The little passes and the details that get us out of our end zone quickly and not get hemmed in weren’t there. We just are a little disjointed and it took us a while to get the puck back, when we did it, we were too tired to make any plays with it.”
Now, there is no shame of losing to Boston and Pittsburgh on back to back nights. They are two of the best teams in the league. But it was the way the Rangers lost tonight’s game that raises the alarm.
Two seconds into the game, Aaron Asham, playing in his first game as a Ranger and against his former team dropped the gloves with Tanner Glass.
But that energy was blown away when Brad Richards took an interference call 35 second later.
“Ash goes in there and turns it around and we don’t come behind him,” said coach John Tortorella. “When a player does something like that for as long as he did the other players need to feed off of that and we just didn’t do that.”
It was enough to allow the Pen to bombard Henrik Lundqvist, who had little help in front of him and gave up four goals on 18 shots in 29 minutes. He was chased in favor of Marty Biron, who at least got some work in.
“We have to take these last two game and look at them, what the video and learn from them,” said Rangers captain Ryan Callahan. I think we got away from the way we were playing last year- the hard-nosed style, in your face. I think it starts with that, and it trickles from there into our into our systems.”
That’s all well and good and Asham said he thinks it should take a week for the Rangers to get into form, especially after an abbreviated training camp. But with only 46 games left in the season, the Rangers cannot afford to take their time.
“The details of the game have to get cleaned up,” Richards said. “How we play and how this team has played in the last couple of years, it’s not there yet and to be a good team it’s a responsibility to go out there and take care of those things. And right now, no one else cares if people think we’re better or supposed to win. It’s going to make them play harder. And we are getting that, so we’ve got to take this on our shoulders and we’ve got to learn quicker. We will try to fix that this week.”
Well they better soon, because time is ticking away. And if you want to look at a bright side, Richards said, “well we are only four points out of first.”
It’s getting late quickly.