It's funny, when the Rangers win praise is heaped on them, lose and it gets ugly.....and quick. That's sports in New York I guess. For me it's more how the team is playing and what the trends are. In this shortened season, it's grabbing points any way you can that's first and foremost. It's why I'm not as upset at the third period collapse vs. the Beans in Boston Tuesday night. I am displeased by what I saw and giving the Bruins a point is not the best idea.
When you look at that game it appeared to me that the Rangers were holding on at the end, unable to stop the hard charging home team. I'm not saying they were sitting on their lead but I am saying that you don't have to worry about coughing up the puck in your own end if you happen to have it in their end. With 12 or so minutes to go Boston dominated possession, face-offs, scoring chances, hits....I could go on. Imagine the different feeling you'd have if the Bs beat Henke and took the second point in the dreaded shoot out?
Now perhaps I should give credit to the Beans who found another level to come back from three down. But the Rangers have to play 60 minutes and when you have a three goal lead in the third period of any game, only two points need be awarded after the final whistle. I'm sure it's something head Coach John Tortorella has already addressed with the boys. If you think about it, had the Ranger power play converted at least once we'd have not had to endure overtime nor the shoot out.
My point here is simple. This team still has a lot of work to be done. The potential for them is high....perhaps pie high. That means that while they continue to mesh, while they improve in those areas that need it, grabbing points....as many as possible is the best outcome we can hope for. The Rodent will be quick to point out that the Rangers have secured 14 points in the last ten contests. That's not a bad return on investment. In addition, we can see progress in the play of our younger players and of course, Lundqvist has become sharper. This bodes well for a springtime run. Did I mention that Nash is a beast?
With Torts at the helm I'm confident that the team will not get too high on the wins nor too low after losses. An even keel with forward progress is what's needed and what I believe we're seeing. The upcoming three game home stand will be an interesting test. Beginning with the Islanders tonight, six points are up for grabs against opponents who's records indicate on paper at least, the home team should win. the games however, are played on the ice. I'll be interested to see if the boys keep pressing hard or if they lift their collective feet off the gas.
Fill the fridge with beer, promise the wife a special Valentines make up day (tomorrow?) and get ready for the Rangers vs. the N.Y. Islanders at MSG tonight. The visiting team WILL be ready, will you?