Sometimes it’s nice having a coach who wears his heart on his sleeve and won’t take any nonsense, because you always know when your frustration with the team is justified. And boy, has Tortorella been frustrated with the team this week. Let’s hit the week in review:
So, let’s talk about that “extra” game last week, the Friday game at home against the Ottawa Senators. What an exciting first period! The Senators scored twice in the first period, the first time about six minutes into the game. Nash answered the second Ottawa goal and then Richards tied it up late in the first. And then the second period happened, with no scoring and two Rangers penalties, one on Stralman and one on Hamrlik. The Rangers managed to keep it all tied up into the third, and through most of the third period. Callahan and Stepan were robbed by Ottawa goalie Lehner of a beautiful goal almost seven minutes into the third. The Rangers hammered Lehner with 13 shots in the third alone. And then, in the closing minutes of the third period, Jakob Silfverberg scored to bring Ottawa a 3-2 lead. The Rangers couldn’t answer and bring it to OT, so the final stood at 3-2 Ottawa.
Guess who scored on Sunday against the Washington Capitals? Brian Boyle! I know! He got help from McDonagh and Hagelin and managed to slip a slapshot past Caps starting goalie Braden Holtby. Boyle earned a hearty “good for him” from Torts. And guess what, since Alex Ovechkin had earned a double penalty on the play that led to that goal, the Rangers still were up a man, despite Boyle’s goal. And then what happened? Rick Nash happened. He got a nice shot right off the circle and Callahan fed it into the net. And then Braden Holtby pitched a hissy as he was pulled from the goal and exited stage left to the locker room. He eventually came back and sat on the bench like a real goalie does when they get pulled, but he was clearly frustrated at Ovechkin’s poor play (as the NBC commentators so aptly described it, over footage of Holtby smashing things around on his way to the locker room. Really? Frustrated? Huh… who knew?). The Caps scored one goal early in the first to open the game, and Brad Richards scored (yeah!) late in the third to bring the final score to 4-1 Rangers. It was a frustrating game for the Caps, with lots of bad play, but does that make a 4-1 regulation victory any less sweet? Nope.
Do I have to talk about how the Rangers turned around from a nice victory and got beat down by the Sabres on Tuesday night? I guess I do. The Rangers opened scoring in the second with a short handed goal by Stepan with an assist from Callahan. And then Marcus Foligno scored for Buffalo. And then Thomas Vanek scored for Buffalo. And then in the middle of the third, Foligno scored again. Foligno had gone 20 games this season without scoring. The Rangers just couldn’t get their scoring chances together and couldn’t get past Sabres backup goalie Jhonas Enroth. Angry Torts thoughts? In the post-game interview he said that the Sabres third line out played the Rangers top line. And it was true. Ouch. 3-1 loss for the Rangers.
Do I have to talk about how the Rangers fell out of a playoff spot in their loss to Winnipeg last night? Yeah, sadly. It was a 3-1 loss again. Who scored for the Rangers? Captain Cally in a pretty second period backhander. His ninth of the season. Gaby, Nash and Richards all had prime scoring chances during the game and did dumb things like pass in front of the net instead of taking the shot. There was no Nash period goal. There was no Nash goal, period. The Rangers just couldn’t pick it back up and hold onto the puck. No angry Torts this time. Disappointed Torts was disappointed. It was a frustrated Henrik Lundqvist who said it best, saying they needed more traffic in front of the opposition’s net and tougher play in front of the Rangers net.
Better wake up, Rangers. Can’t let the Penguins catch you snoozing.