NEW YORK – How bad was the Rangers, 3-0, loss to the Penguins tonight?
Well just ask honest coach John Tortorella.
“Slow,” he said. “It was a collective. It was probably the word we played all year collectively.”
For some reason the Penguins bring out the worst in the Rangers. They just haven’t played well in their two matches this season and today was what the coach called “two steps back” in their progress.
And for all the credit you can give the Penguins, the Blueshirts bring it on themselves. A too many men on the ice call with 42 seconds left in the second, led to a James Neal goal, putting a competitive 1-0 Penguin lead to the insurmountable two goal advantage.
The too many men penalty was the third in three games and fourth in sixth.
But that’s the point. Last season, the Rangers were crisp and tight and now they are just tentative and to a man each player in the room used the same word to describe the team.
“It was a sloppy, sloppy game for tonight,” said center Brad Richards. “We’ve been part of them before, but this was one of those night where it was sloppy all around, both teams really. I can’t imagine anyone saying either team played well. They scored and that was the difference. We still have a lot of work to do.”
“It was a sloppy game by both teams,” said defenseman Marc Staal. “There wasn’t much flow to it. After the first we were lucky to be down by only one. We played a little better in the second, but we couldn’t find a way to just get one by and to create some momentum for us.”
The Rangers hit two posts in the third, the second coming on the end of the power play with Simon Despres in the box for hooking. A post will give you a strange rebound and the Rangers got one and on the other end Pascal Dupuis was able to feed the speeding Despres coming out of the box to ice the game 3-0 at 10:23 of the third period.
“I thought it was a terrible game,” said netminder Henrik Lundqvist. ” It’s not a lot of action 5-on-5, special teams were key. We talked about it the other night. A lot of times that would be the difference and they won with special teams.”
The Rangers now get to think about it on the road with a game in Tampa and then in New Jersey. They will be back next Thursday against their old friends the New York (Don’t Call Us Brooklyn) Islanders.
Hopefully by that the Rangers will get their act straight.
Or expect more honesty from Mr. Tortorella.