Recap: Ottawa 3 – Rangers 0

Are you kidding me? I understand the Rangers have provided us with little reason to question their play being the top team in the NHL. But really, are you kidding me? No one expected the Blueshirts to win every single game, and it was only a matter of time before they were handed a loss, but to play this poorly? To play this lethargic? It’s one thing to lose a hockey game, but to not show up is an entirely different issue.

Maybe it is not fair to evaluate the Rangers after tonight’s performance considering the overwhelming success they have had throughout the season, but despite being the top team in the league in points,  I can confidently say it is points only that we are the best in. We have made tremendous progress in just one year, but you would be a fool to think we are serious contenders for the Cup. Would Boston ever play a game like that on their home ice? Of course not. Even Philly would never deliver such an embarrassing performance. (Perhaps the goalie, but not the team.) Anyway, here are some thoughts on tonight’s game:

Brad Richards. Did he switch numbers tonight? For the highest-paid player in the NHL he was no where to be found as he was obviously doing his best Where’s Waldo impression.

When Brian Boyle leads all 12 forwards in ice time with a whopping 19:56 you know you have a serious problem. I think this statistic alone provides enough reason for me to jump out my window right now. It’s about 13 feet high.

Our power play is simply atrocious. I’m not sure what can help fix our man-advantage or even improve it for that matter. I do know that Brad Richards is certainly not the answer. And I also know that playing Del Zotto over 6 minutes out of a possible 8 of PP time is probably not the best solution either. I would rather be forced to participate in government appointed community service or perform manual labor than sit on my couch and watch another NYR power play. After an 0-4 tonight and 1-753 prior to tonight, I can safely say I will change the channel next time the refs award the Rangers a power play.

For once, I had no quarrels with John Torterella’s latest rendition of musical chairs. After a decent first period, the second period became an absolute disgrace. It certainly was not the Rangers hockey I have been accustomed to expect over the past few months. The anemic play of the Rangers prompted Torts to flip-flop our lines with hopes that someone would wake the f*ck up. No one did.

Let’s give credit where credit is due. The Senators came into the Garden and jumped on the lifeless Rangers. They played an overall sound hockey game, clogging the neutral zone which prevented the Rangers from ever really getting anything going offensively while simultaneously silencing the Garden crowd.

After a horrific Arty turnover, Girardi inexplicably allowed Spezza to carry the puck from the blue line all the way to edge of the faceoff circle resulting in a wrist shot from Spezza that beat Lundy. Because Girardi is borderline flawless in the defensive end and rarely makes mistakes I’ll let this one slide.  This goal would prove to be all that Ottawa would need.

It’s great that we had Mike Rupp in tonight. I haven’t the slightest idea what Ranger Nation would do if we didn’t have ol Rupper. Better yet, what would Torts do?

Dubinsky’s absence definitely hurt. His presence could of provided at least some of the spark that we tremendously lacked.

Does anyone else find it humorous that Torterella thought Michael Del Zotto should have been mentioned for the All-Star game?

Next up is Toronto Saturday night. Should prove to be a very difficult two points which is why botching tonight’s game makes our potential upcoming skid that much more painful. I understand it is never good to dwell on one game, but with exactly half of the season remaining, the Rangers showed tonight that tremendous work remains if they are to be a serious contender for Lord Stanley come the spring. Every point becomes critical down the stretch and they can’t continue to have these mental lapses. If the Rangers are going to lose a hockey game, do it the right way, not the way we saw tonight.

-Jason Ward

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