Days like today make you just want to go home and go to bed.
What looked like to be a banner day in New York, with the Jets and Giants both playing and the Rangers opening up Madison Square Garden for the first time, turned out to be a New York nightmare.
You thought maybe a win or two was in order. Maybe, just maybe, it would have been a happy day for New York.
No way, Jose.
First you on the schedule the Jets stunk up the joint with a 31-17 loss to Peyton Manning’s Broncos. Sure you kind of expected that loss and at 1-5, you accepted it in an already lost season, if the rest of the day went your way.
And the Giants looked like the barn burner that we wanted it to be. But 20-0 in the third is sending Big Blue down another dark path in Philadelphia.
The Ranger game, though, started nicely enough with the Eastern Conference Championship banner being raised, players introduced and a nice goal by Rick Nash to make it 1-1 in the first. That second period, though. Ouch. Outscored 5-1 and the Blushirts couldn’t recover, eventually losing 6-3.
Sure, it’s just one game, but after losing badly in Columbus, you have to wonder if this is just a blip in the radar, especially with Dan Boyle and Derek Stepan out.
Or is this a team that needs some time to just jell.
“No one in our group wanted to perform the way we did tonight,” said coach Alain Vigneault. “After a balanced first period, I am not sure what happened in the second. Opportunities seemed to find the back of the net and every opportunity was a Grade-A scoring chance. We expect more from ourselves.”
Look, there are 79 more games in the season. That’s plenty of time for the Rangers to turn this around and no one is setting the alarm off just yet.
However, outside of Rick Nash – who has been superb the first three games and left the game in the second for the birth of his child – the Rangers are trying to find themselves. The defense has been porous and the offensive zone turnovers have made life impossible for Cam Talbot on Saturday night and Henrik Lundqvist tonight.
“It’s tough to see how it’s going on our ‘D’ zone there,” said alternate captain Dan Girardi. “There are a lot of pucks in front of Henrik tonight and last night. We have to come together as a group and have some confidence in our game.”
Add to that the losses of Boyle and Stepan, both of whom are considered key pieces to the puzzle.
Without Boyle, the defense takes a bit of a hit. More importantly, though, the power play simply suffers. The 38 year-old was brought here to fill the void on point left when Brad Richards was given a compliance buyout. Now without the former Shark to be power play quarterback, the Rangers search for help on the man advantage.
And without Stepan, the team is without its No. 1 center and forcing Derek Brassard to take up the slack. Remember last year, the former Blue Jacket was the No. 3 center on the team and was moving up to the top 6. The Rangers hoped that he would be an adequate second line pivot, but playing him on the top line is just asking a bit much.
“They are big guys for our team and they play big minutes,” said Girardi. “Having them in would help us but we did a great job with what we had in the opening day lineup in St. Louis. We have to make it work with the guys we have.”
With Brassard No. 1, then either J.T. Miller or Kevin Hayes had to play on the second line. Miller is securing his position in New York after taking the Hartford shuttle the last few years, while Hayes is fresh out of Boston College, looking to make his mark.
There’s still plenty of time left for the Rangers to find themselves, but all they have to do is look at the Jets and see it can get late very early for a team.
And Sundays like this make you just want to not watch any sports and maybe go see the Opera.
Oh, I forgot The Met take Sundays off.
Time for a nap.