Thursday, January 29, 2015

What Now Blueshirts?

The Rangers romped into Nassau Coliseum on a 16-3-0 tear, looking like Cup contenders and limped out with a 4-1 pasting looking like a team in the fight of their lives for a playoff spot. Somewhere in between are the real Rangers. At least I'm hoping that.

However, one thing is obviously clear right now. The Rangers can not beat the Islanders. Three games, two at MSG and one on LI have all produced Ranger losses. Not close either: 6-3, 3-0 and 4-1. Game, set, match. So what gives? Well the Islanders are young, big and fast, and have all four lines. The Rangers have a mixture of those three attributes, but not enough to make four solid lines. They are now dickering with putting Dominic Moore on the third line with Carl Hagelin and Lee Stempniak. That would put Kevin Hayes to center Jesper Fast and Tanner Glass. Wow!

Losing to the Islanders is not a mere aberration. Another team built like the Islanders, Tampa Bay also has a 3-0 record against the Rangers. Two teams have accounted for almost half the Ranger losses. If the season ended now we would play the Red Wings in the playoff. However, Boston, who is rolling right now is only a point behind us. If they pass us we finish eight and get the Islanders. But this could be a moot point if we fail to make the playoffs.

Tonight is another toughie, Le Habs, Montreal. They are only two points out of first in the Atlantic. They are also fast, though not as young and big as the Islanders. However, they have Carey Price, a great goalie who usually gives us fits. Should be quite a tussle and let's see what we have left in the tank after the Islanders drained it.

ICINGS: The T/Birds lost to Smithtown, the top team in the league, 5-2. Like the Rangers, the T/Birds have problems with the top teams.

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