Let’s see. The Rangers were without Ryan Callahan, Michael Del Zotto, Henrik Lundqvist, and Michael Sauer. The Penguins had won 9 in a row, and are just getting back the best player in the game, Sidney Crosby, and one of the best defenseman in the game, Kris Letang. Seriously, that’s about as crazy an underdog story as you’re going to find. Sometimes, the underdog just loses.
Oddly enough though, I don’t feel this game was as 1 sided as the score indicates. First, we put a puck into our own net. Then, with us trailing 3-2 Marian Gaborik is tripped right in front of the ref and no call is made. I’m sorry, I don’t care if you get the puck or not, that’s a trip, plain and simple. A few seconds later, the puck ends up in the back of our net. The score, had those 2 things not gone against us, could have been easily 2-2 at that point, instead, it’s 4-2. Later it becomes 5-2, and the Rangers have 3 ridiculously easy scoring chances and can’t put the puck home. Mitchell must be asking the hockey gods what he did to displease them, he should have had 2 goals tonight, easy. Not to mention Mats Zucarello-Aasen. So, yeah, you can look at the final score, see it’s a 5-2 loss, and say, wow, the Pens dominated us. That’s just plain and simple not true. Rangers, for the most part, hung right in there. They didn’t play all that badly, especially when you consider the players we didn’t have, and the jolt the Penguins had riding into this one, and the pretty……questionable reffing to boot (Fedotenko takes a flying elbow to the head…no call…what the hell?).
So yeah, we lost. But to me,t his one isn’t really a big time loss. I’d be willing to wager a healthy Rangers team beats the Pens tonight, despite the way the score looks.
I think it’s important to remember the Rangers are the 4th youngest team in the NHL. They have a rookie playing on the first line LW, they have a kid with half a season of experience coming into this year playing on the top defensive pair, and they have another handful of player swith 3 years of NHL experience or less.
And, they’ll, in all likelyhood become even younger next year when likely 2 or 3 of Kreider, Erixon, or JT Miller make the team and guys like Fedotenko, and others go the way of the dinosaur.
This team hasn’t learned to win in the playoffs yet. They haven’t learned how to sustain winning even for a full season. This is basically year 1 of the Rangers, from rebuilding, to becoming winners. Most of us picked them in the 4-6 range coming into this season, they will in all likelyhood finish with one of the 2 best records in the East, and if they played in any other division in the east would have run away with the conference.
Pittsburgh, by the way, is actually the 6th oldest team in the NHL if anyone cares. Theyve won a cup, they have that experience. Don’t be too focused on this loss.
Next year, if the Rangers can get Nash or Parise, will really be the year where I think they go from being a good team, to being a Great team.
Go get me this team heading into next year:
Nash – Richards – Gaborik
Anisimov – Stepan – Callahan
Kreider – Mitchell/Miller – Hagelin
Rupp/Mitchell – Boyle – Prust
MCD – Girardi
Staal – Erixon
MDZ – Sauer