Imagine playing a game where your opponent gets a whole period on the power play. That is basically what happened today in New Jersey. The Rangers committed thirteen, yes count them, thirteen, giving the Devils 18:29 minutes of power play time. The Devils scored five power play goals and the sixth was one second after an expiring penalty.
In my 68 years as a Ranger fan I don't believe I've ever seen the Rangers play a more undisciplined game. Considering the stakes this was the most disappointing Ranger game I have ever seen. The game also comes under the heading of be careful what you wish for as Tom Renney, talking about refs calling penalties, was quoted as saying, "I think we need zero tolerance." Tom got that with dividends.
With Gary Bettman and the chief of officials in attendance you just knew that every little infraction would be called. Think about this. In a game that featured one of the most penalized team in the NHL (Rangers), against the least penalized team in the NHL (Devils), whom do you think would benefit? Were there questionable penalties? Of course. But thirteen penalties, give me a break. Four of our first six penalties were by our forwards that usually kill penalties.
However the Rangers did little to help themselves. Their penalty killing was strange and awful. The Devils were 5-13 on the PP. No the Devils didn't score on every PP, it just seemed like they did. Rather then get in close to their goalie the Rangers forwards insisted on chasing the point men back and forth and left the defense having to handle the other three Devils, two of which seemed to be planted in front of Lundqvist at all times. It is hard to say whether the Devils PP is that good or the Rangers PK that bad. Either way the Rangers must rebound in game two.
The Rangers were presented with an opportunity in the first period when Colin White was injured and had to leave the game, leaving the Devils with only five defensemen but alas Renney failed to exploit this situation. The obvious move was to send the forwards in deep and pressure the Devils D. No such adjustment. Renney stuck with his game plan, whatever it was. Also for the second time in a week Renney decided to shuffle the lines and for the second time, first time against the Flyers, the team looked disoriented. That will also cause penalties, but disoriented or not there was no excuse for the endless penalties.
Can the Rangers recover? Will Jagr be able to play? Listening to him after the game it doesn't sound too good. Also the status of Jason Ward is also unknown. Jagr or not the Rangers must go back to basics. Can they go back? Will it matter the way the Devils are playing? Lets face it folks, this Devil team will not beat itself. But there has to be concern in Rangerland. The Rangers have now lost six in a row and can not put together a solid sixty minutes. The Devils are determined, the Rangers seem to be befuddled.
Will Renney make a goalie change in game two? While Lundqvist was not to blame he doesn't seem to have the flair or confidence he had before his injury. Weekes has been successful against the Devils. Changing goalies now may shake up the team but this team right now is so fragile its doubtful that a change could help. This hardly seems to be the time to hope for a Lundqvist revival, not the way the team is playing now. The bet is to stay with Lundqvist. He along with Jagr got us here. Stay with him.
ICINGS: Good for Ryan Hollweg for going after Cam Jannsen who had hit Kasparaitis. Hollweg went right after Jannsen knocking him down and brawling with him. Hollweg also took Janssen down in the scuffle. Remember, Janssen had promised to beat up Hollweg for his hit(clean) on Brylin in the last regular season game. Didn't bother the cannonball one bit, he immediately went after Janssen. With Ward possibly out it may be a good time to dress Colton Orr and maybe we will have a bonafied brawl.
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