You can’t win if you don’t score any goals. I know thats a stupid thing to bring up, since everyone knows that, but it’s important nonetheless. I’ve said it countless times, the Rangers lack of offensive punch to really be considered a Stanley Cup favorite. They have solid goaltending and solid defense, but their offense is all based on Marian Gaborik putting pucks in the net, and the other forwards chipping in here and there. They lack the secondary, and tertiary scoring threats that other teams have. Callahan has been fairly invisible in terms of scoring chances. He’s burying the few that he’s getting, but he’s not getting nearly enough for my liking. Brad Richards is a setup man, nobody is open for him to set them up. Who else we got? Nobody. The Rangers best offensive player this game might have been Ryan McDonagh. Ouch.
Sure, Torts might be happy with the teams effort, they certainly had a high number of shots on goal, but they didn’t get those pucks past the goalie. You know who would have helped with that? Rick Nash. I’m not saying the Rangers should have given up the boatload of players required to get him, but you can sure as hell see why Sather wanted the guy so badly. He knew what most of us have been saying for a while now. This team lacks the offensive talent to win going forward.
Brandon Dubinsky, zip. Derek Stepan, zip. Artem Anisimov, zip. Getting nothing from those guys has killed this team so far. Is the series over? No, but if those guys don’t step up immediately, our season WILL be over very shortly.
Let’s face it, even if the Rangers are ousted in the first round, I still consider this season a huge success. This team took the first step to being perennial winners. Remember, before Bawstun won the Stanley Cup last year they went 3 straight years of being done in the first 2 rounds, including 1 where they finished tops in the East. Sound familiar? It takes time for young teams to learn how to win in the playoffs. Remember, the Rangers have to play playoff hockey all season long just to get here. When the playoffs happen, they lose because everyone else catches up to them, and they no longer have that edge. The games then become a lot about talent, and your best players stepping up, as well as your support players coming through. The Rangers have gotten neither of that. However, it’s still unfair to judge such a young team based on 1 6 or 7 game stretch. This was an overachieving team that has shown it’s only 1 or 2 big pieces from being a legitimate stanley cup favorite. Let’s see if they have some magic in them to postpone the talk about what those pieces are.