After starting the game without the services of the injured Blair Betts, the Rangers quickly lost another Center when Scott Gomez hit a rut in the ice and crashed into the boards early in the first period. Early reports were that he had broken 2 ribs, but reports from Steve Zipay, Sam Weinman, and John Dellapina say that Gomez has no broken bones and may in fact play on Tuesday. No word yet on what the plan is if Gomez won’t be able to play.
So the Rangers lost in a shootout. Frankly, I’m amazed the game actually made it to a shootout. The Rangers looked lost for the first two periods and were kept in the game by Stephen Valiquette. It wasn’t until the Flyers scored in the third period to make it 2-0 that the Rangers suddenly realized they needed to, as Marc would say, “flip the switch.” And as the Flyers fans, content with their team’s two-goal lead, began a chant of, “Rangers suck,” the Rangers suddenly turned it on.
Sidebar: There are many things that are chanted at hockey games. But there are very few that will anger the Hockey Gods. One of the chants that I feel is a big no-no is to chant that the other team sucks. I’ve been to many Rangers games and I’ve heard it twice. Both times, it’s come back to bite us, hard. Once against the Devils (Rangers up 1-0 then lost 2-1) and once against the Flyers (Rangers up 2-0 then lost 3-2).
Now, the Flyers fans were chanting, “Rangers suck!” and suddenly, the Rangers had tied the game at 2-2. The Flyers ended up scoring again but then Jaromir Jagr, of all people, threw the puck towards the net from an off angle and–OH MY GOD!— it deflected into the net off of a Flyer!
So what is the lesson that the Rangers have to take from this game?
- Get bodies in front of the net! This screens the goalie and sets up deflections.
- Take shots on said net. You’re not gonna score unless you shoot. (duh)
- Pounce on rebounds. If you’ve completed steps 1 and 2, step 3 should present itself and lead to goals!
Honestly, I can’t be disappointed that the Rangers only got one point from this game. The way they played, they really didn’t deserve any. Hopefully they feel the presure on Tuesday and pick it up against the Flyers in the rematch at MSG.
Notes: Christian Backman had an assist on all three goals last night. This was Stephen Valiquette’s first start since February 10 against the Capitals in Washington.