It was great the Rangers were able to pull out a crucial point from this game. Always good to start the season with something in the bank. But, it can not be emphasized enough, they played a piss poor game today. From the offense, to the defense, they were not very good. Henrik Lundqvist alone stands blameless.
Let’s first talk about the defense since they were a little less to blame for this loss. Dan Girardi was in beast mode tonight, playing an exceptional game, but the 2 kids, Michael Del Zotto, and Ryan McDonagh, in my humble opinion, stole the show. Despite MCD being in the box for the game winning goal, and MDZ losing his man for the game tying goal, both of these kids played exceptional hockey in all 3 zones. McDonagh was cool, calm, and collected, breaking up a 3 on 1 with a perfect poke check, and MDZ was throwing his body around all night, and was making (mostly) smart, quick passes up the ice to start the rush, along with joining it whenever possible. Eminger, , Erixon, and Sauer were less spectacular, Eminger in particular looked like he was running around in his own zone a lot, and Erixon looked very much like a young kid just breaking into the NHL. I like the idea of letting this kid cut his teeth in the minors. Hopefully Staal will be good to go soon, but who knows.
The forwards though, they were a mess. The top line of Dubinsky, Gaborik, and Richards were uneven. They scored a goal, and Gaborik certainly played very well, but there was no obvious chemistry. They didn’t dominate shift after shift. They probably only had 3 shifts you could constitute as being great. Other than that they were mostly a non factor. I still think this team is best serve with Dubinsky on the 2nd line with Anisimov and Callahan. Callahan scored a goal, which was great because it negated the awful pass he had to Anisimov which directly led to the Kings first goal. Anisimov and Callahan were excellent, but they were missing Dubi on the left side. Fedotenko did an admirable job for sure, but he doesn’t have much offensive pop to go with his defensive game. He needs to be on the 3rd line.
Now the obvious choice to play on that top line, if not Dubinsky, should be Wolski. But he was a healthy scratch tonight. Wait. What? He played? Are you sure? Well, Ok then, nevermind. A truly uninspired, lazy, passive, terrible game by Wojtek Wolski. It brought down his entire line as MZA and Stepan were basically playing shorthanded their entire shifts. Wolski never won any puck battles, he never gave that extra effort to hunt down lost pucks, he just plain and simple sucked. You know who would have looked good on that left side? Sean Avery. *grumbles*
All in all, it was a terrible effort by the Rangers, and yet they managed to get a point out of it. Thank Henrik Lundqvist for that. It gets much harder tomorrow as the beastly line of Bobby Ryan, Corey Perry, and Ryan Getzlaf will almost assuredly dominate a Staal-less Rangers squad. I am not looking forward to that 1 bit.