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While it was important for the Rangers to get a win in their pocket, the fact of the matter is, they looked downright awful for about 80% of this game. They pretty much looked how Roberto Luongo looked on the 4 goals he gave up. Discombobulated, disjointed, and pretty damn close to a train wreck. Thankfully, they had the King in net for them, who really should get a Vezina nomination this year based on solely this performance tonight. It wasn’t the fact that Henrik turned aside 40 shots tonight that was amazing. It was that about 28 of them were of the highway robbery variety. Flat out, this was a game Henrik put the team on his back for, and stole us a win.

Stole us a win. That’s right, I said it. What? We score 4 goals and I think we stole a win? Damn right, because if any mere mortal was in net tonight for the Rangers, this would have been a 8-4 massacre. Instead Henrik gets a shutout, and the Rangers get a win. But, as Ranger fans, we’ve seen this scenario all too often. The team in front of him plays like crap, but the King wills us to victory. The fact of the matter is, if the Rangers want to turn the corner from a good team, to a legitimate cup contender, there needs to be fewer games like this. There needs to be a whole lot of 5-2 games where Henrik makes 18 saves, gives up 2, and the Rangers win it in a laugher. You want having one of, if not the best goalie in the universe behind your team to be a luxury, not to be the entire focal point of your game. Because there will be games where the other team won’t have a pylon in net. There will be games where Cam Ward, or Tim Thomas, or someone else will be there and the Rangers will need their offense to outplay the other teams offense.

Oh, and don’t even get me started on the continue penalty parade. That has to end real fast if the Rangers ever expect to win one of those previously mentioned laugher type games.

Now, you may be asking yourself. What the heck does “Entrances & Exits” have to do with all the stuff you just talked about? Well, to me that’s what has stood out about this team so far through 4 games. Their entrances into the offensive zone have been shaky at best, and more often, have been an outright disaster. Couple that with their exits from their own zone being terrible and you have a recipe for a goalie being bent to the breaking point. When the Rangers do manage to get control of the puck in the defensive zone, they just can’t seem to transition it up and out to the forwards quickly. Marc Staal and Michael Sauer won’t change that much since they aren’t exactly first pass kinda players. The fact is, the forwards just aren’t giving the d-men any place to put the puck. When the D-men tries to reverse it behind the net away from the flow, there is no winger on the boards ready to chip it out of the zone. When the D-men tries to play a loose puck for a draw, the forwards don’t come in quick enough, nor effectively enough to turn a draw into a Ranger puck possession. Furthermore, when the Rangers do have the puck in the neutral zone, they don’t even bother to try to carry it into the zone, they dump it in and chase. Now, granted much of that is because the other teams are standing the Rangers up at the blueline, but there is a reason why the opposition are playing this way. Because they have ZERO respect for the Rangers puck carriers. They dare them to try to beat them one on one, and the Rangers never do. Last season Brandon Dubinsky was phenomenal at beating the D on plays like that. This season, he has been awful. These 2 areas need immediate help, and that starts with coaching. As you know by now though, I am a huge supporter and believe in coach Torts, so I have no worries about this. He will address this sooner rather than later, in fact during the telecast they made a point to mention all the coaches working with the D on half the problem. Now they need to start working with the forwards too.

Ok, enough for now, 3AM, I gotta get to bed!


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