After a 13-game streak of aggressive, hard-nosed, and winning hockey, the Rangers returned to their pre-All-Star-break ineptitude in this weekend’s losses to the Panthers and Lightning — two teams outside of the playoff picture.
The Rangers showed no energy whatsoever in the two games. The Eastern Conference is so tight that going into the weekend, it looked as if 1st place might have been within reach. Now, the Rangers might struggle to hold on to their playoff spot.
It is frustrating to watch a hockey game where the players refuse to forecheck, refuse to finish hits along the boards, and miss FOUR open-nets in the 3rd period! I can deal with Sjostrom getting robbed by the stick of Tampa’s goalie Mike Smith, but Jaromir Jagr should be ashamed for letting a Defenseman slide across and block his shot. No question that puck should have been ripped to the upper half of the net. Instead, he unleashed a flittering misfire along the ice. Just horrible.
Anyway, the Rangers had better figure out where to find some energy, and quick. They have three games this week against Atlantic Division foes: Pittsburgh on Tuesday, New Jersey on Wednesday, and Philadelphia on Friday. I, for one, would really like to see Ryan Hollweg back in the lineup Tuesday. And I know Eric (and our sister Melissa) would love to see Petr Prucha back on the ice. We shall see.