Tonight’s match-up between the Rangers and Jets was for a playoff spot. With the teams tied going into the game, winner would be in sole possession of 8th place while loser would be in 9th. The Jets were aware of this. Apparently the Rangers didn’t get the memo.
Before the game, the Rangers said they needed to play a full game tonight to make up for what happened in Buffalo. Apparently their definition of a full game and my definition of a full game are not the same thing. It started from the opening puck drop as it was clear the Rangers didn’t seem prepared for what the Jets had planned and paid for it.
Byfuglien caught Derek Stepan with a huge hit in center ice and the Rangers couldn’t recover from it. The Jets went back the other way and controlled play until Michael Del Zotto was forced to take a penalty. It was a light call but a penalty none the less. Off the face off, a shot deflected off of Callahan and McDonagh right to Antropov’s stick by the net and he buried it for the 1-0 lead just 1:58 into the game.
A minute later, Micheal Haley got into a fight with Mark Stuart. I guess that calmed the Rangers down a little but it still wasn’t pretty to me as the Jets chances seemed like actual chances while the Rangers shots either went nowhere near the net or bounced off their sticks before they could take them. Marian Gaborik had a chance to tie the game when he was hooked on a breakaway and awarded a penalty shot. Unfortunately, while he got the puck back after losing it, he wasn’t able to get it past Pavelec. To say he was pissed would be an understatement. That stick would not be taking another shot.
Somehow the Rangers had more shots over the second half of the period but I still didn’t think they looked great. Honestly, I would say the ice looked bad but I don’t want to give them an excuse. That period was not the start they wanted.
But the boys went back into the locker room, regrouped and came out as an entirely different team in the second. Just over a minute in, they had extended pressure which led to the tying goal as Ryan Callahan tipped a Stepan shot.
A minute later, they drew a penalty ironically enough after a turnover in the defensive zone. Unfortunately Stepan was afraid the power kill might appear so took a penalty himself just six seconds into the power play. I’ll be honest, I missed the penalty so can’t say if it was a good or bad call. Either way, both teams killed the four-on-four.
Unfortunately the Rangers couldn’t keep the momentum up as things evened out after that. While both teams had plenty of giveaways and odd-man rushes, nothing hit the back of the net. (In fact, in many cases nothing hit close to the net.) Then, with a little over five minutes to go in the period, the Jets managed to get their own deflection past Lundqvist to take the 2-1 lead and once again the Rangers were forced to go and regroup during intermission.
But this time there was no regrouping as there was no comeback in the Rangers. In fact, both teams played keep away the entire period. Yes, you read that correctly. I understand the Jets doing it but the Rangers playing keep away while down a goal is mind boggling to me.
Because of it, they are no longer in a playoff spot. Honestly the team I’ve watched the past two games doesn’t deserve to be. The only positive I can take from this game is Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi were a million times better than they were Tuesday night. Then again, it didn’t take much for that to be the case. Otherwise, tonight was a waste of two and a half hours of my life. I want them back Rangers.
And it gets better from here as next up is an afternoon match-up in Pittsburgh. Knowing these idiots like I do, they will probably manage to win that game after gaining no points against Buffalo and Winnipeg.