Tom Renney closed the door for 23 minutes after the game last night and when he emerged and was asked were they ready to play the Flyers Saturday he replied, "They are ready to play the Flyers tonight." Really! Then why weren't they ready to play the Penguins last night? For the second game in a row the Rangers bombed against one of the worst teams in the NHL. Forget Sam and JD's ravings about Sidney Crosby and all these great youngsters that Pittsburgh have, the Penguins are a lousy team. But this lousy team outhustled, outplayed, outshot (35-24), outhit (25-10) and outscored (5-3) the Rangers last night. The win was the 21st for the Penguins, which ties them with St. Louis for the most inept team in the NHL.
The Ranger defense was atrocious. Of course with very little checking by the forwards the problem was compounded. Ryan Hollweg played his usual feisty game and racked up four hits in only 6:50 of ice time. Maybe Ryan needs more ice time. The Ranger defensemen accumulated all of three hits. Yes that is correct folks, three hits. Tyutin got two and Rozsival got credited for one. Is it any wonder that the Rangers are considering playing Marc Stahl in the last two games. Marc is 6'4' and weighs 202 pounds. In 57 games for Sudbury of the OHL he racked up 49 points including 11 goals. Only 19 years old he would be an improvement over Strudwick and Ozolinsh right now. The Rangers are 9-10 since acquiring Ozolinsh. What an acquisition that was.
So now the Rangers are faced with a real must win game against the Flyers. Lose and they get either the fifth spot against Buffalo or more probably the sixth spot against the Flyers. How's about those rotten apples. Lets hope that Tom Renney is right and the Rangers are ready to play the Flyers. However, why didn't Renney give his 23 minute tirade 36 hours earlier when they were playing the Islanders? It might have meant something then. Please don't give me the mantra going around how we were picked to finish 30th and we still made the playoffs. That idea was gone after the Rangers made up a nine point deficit and passed the Flyers for first place in the Atlantic. Yes Tom, I hope you are right. I sure hope so.
ICINGS: The refs continued their awful calls. They pick up the soft retaliations but miss the cross checks, the late hits and cheap shots. Post Olympic tally is now 9-9-1-3 with two to go, at Philly tomorrow and against the Senators Tuesday. Lundqvist will be back then. Too late for the regular season but hopefully in time for a playoff run.
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