If one were to grade the Rangers' performance in a must win versus a mediocre Bruin team that's hanging on, it would be an F. Once again, they flunked out this time by a score of 2-1 in Beantown. Once, this Original 6 match-up was great with plenty of fanfare. Not anymore. After 20 sloppy minutes, NBC execs had to be shaking their heads in disgust. It had about as much appeal as watching paint dry.
What does it say about this league when this is what you get for the final spot? At least Boston has an excuse. What's the Rangers? Don't answer that. Credit the Bruins for doing what they had to in getting a badly needed win even if it was only their second at TD Northbank since the Winter Classic. Coming off a disgraceful performance in the Matt Cooke game which even drew the ire of Cam Neely, the B's were hungrier winning every battle. They finished every check and forced our Hostess Twinkies lineup into more turnovers than at the bakery I just ordered my Dad's birthday cake from.
Miserable and lifeless would be a good way to describe our heroes, who did their best Invisible Man act in what Garden shill Don LaGreca described as the "biggest game in over 10 years." Apparently, the so-called ESPN 1050 pregame host must've conveniently forgotten Game Five EC Semis at Buffalo 2007. Embarrassing. How much can you insult our intelligence? The Jagr Era at least produced two exciting first round wins, including the five-game revenge that drove the Devils and Marty into early tee times. Say what you will about Tom Renney but those teams cared. The Post No.68 Error has been a disaster. We're not advocating bringing him back as it would probably turn into Messier II. The day Savior cut ties with JJ, that was the end. Back to the Dark Ages of teasing the Garden Faithful.
How hard has it been? Watching this team has turned into a chore. Just like it used to be. A sad tale that's been rearing its ugly head from the ashes as this season's gone on. As we've openly stated in this space, more and more fans aren't opposed to seeing this team go in the tank for a better draft pick. If only Jazzy Jim gave a damn instead of pushing this bogus 3D M$G Extravaganza Wednesday against the Islanders, charging 20 more dollars to con more suckers. Anything to screw over a way too loyal fanbase that will continue to shrink next Fall as more season tix aren't renewed.
Updating my situation, unless something drastically changes this summer, I'm not returning. I've had enough. I'll save my family money and myself some as well since I always donate to the cause. A lost one. I don't see it getting any better next year. Mark it down. 3/21/10 at 6:36 ET. Derek Felix of Battle Of New York guarantees the Rangers miss the playoffs again, finishing even lower. The worst aspect is nothing will even change. Business will go on as usual as if everything's right. M-E-D-I-O-C-R-I-T-Y. Dolan Vision.
While many guys wearing our colors didn't bother to show- a list which is too long for me to bother with- Henrik Lundqvist did everything possible to give his teammates a chance. He made plenty of strong stops keeping it scoreless for more than half the contest, including stoning Daniel Paille's penalty shot following an undisciplined Artem Anisimov wrap job. I've been one of his defenders all year because it's unrealistic to expect him to light it up in Year 1. But there's too many instances where he struggles. The skill is there for the lanky 21 year-old Russian but he needs to seriously bulk up so that he has more of a role next go round.
The Rangers had opportunities thanks to a few ill advised Boston penalties, including an unnecessary Zdeno Chara hi-sticking double minor. Four minutes with their best player off the ice. Leave it to the Booshirts to botch the entire thing, not even registering a shot on Tuukka Rask. I've echoed it many times but you just can't make this stuff up.
When the Bruins stayed out of the box, they were the aggressor banging bodies and generating more off the attack, forcing Lundqvist to be really good. It remained scoreless until another sad reality took place where our boys actually turned immortal Andrew Ference into Bobby Orr- allowing him to set up washed up Miro Satan for the game's first goal with 3:47 left in the second. In a pathetic display, they all went to Ference, who was on a bad angle along the left wall with both Marc Staal and Michal Rozsival forgetting completely about Satan, who snuck in for the easiest goal he's ever scored and relevancy. Unbelievable. That same player who Pierre McGuire trashed accidentally banged into one of our guys for a lazy interference minor with 26.5 seconds left.
Leave it to Olli Jokinen to take a selfish rough before the buzzer, ending a power play in which they wouldn't have scored anyway. Speaking of the Jokester, he is garbage. He has been invisible in these games and hasn't scored since 2/12. Ser---ious---ly. To think I actually thought he'd be important to Calgary this year. What an absolute waste. He took one shot and was in the box three different times. Great job! No wonder the Flames took Chris Higgins and Ally.
Trailing by one, the Rangers had maybe one or two chances to draw even with Rask stifling Marian Gaborik and Sean Avery ringing one off the post. They just didn't create much. Losing Ryan Callahan for the third didn't help. On one shift late in the second, he out-hustled Chara to negate an icing but took a hit, skating off awkwardly. It's being termed a "lower body" injury.
During first intermission, McGuire and Mike Milbury alluded to how much pressure's on Lundqvist to be perfect. He finally succumbed to the pressure permitting Dennis Wideman's backhand from the slot that made it 2-0 with less than 10 minutes left. On the play, the aforementioned Jokinen over skated leaving Wideman vacated where he took a Vladimir Sobotka pass and fooled Henrik for his fourth. Milan Lucic added a helper. Game. Set. Match. So what if Mike Del Zotto got his eighth when his point shot deflected off Lucic to foil Rask's shutout bid with 3:04 to go. The Rangers weren't coming back because they're incapable.
“Sure, this was a team that we’re chasing and we needed those points,” a dejected Vinny Prospal said. “It’s a big loss for us, but, on the other hand, we can’t just say it’s over.”
I'll say it for you. Season over. On the road to B'ruin.
BONY 3 Stars:
3rd Star-Dennis Wideman, Bos (GW w/9:40 left in 3rd, 3 SOG, +1 in 17:24)
2nd Star-Henrik Lundqvist, NYR (29 saves, falls to 28-26-8 w/2.46 GAA, .918 Save .Pct)
1st Star-Tuukka Rask, Bos (23 saves for 17th win in rookie year)