“We didn’t have that sharpness. And if you’re not on your game, your mistakes become glaring.”
That was Rangers Center Derek Stepan quoted in the NY Post, as he described his team’s lackluster performance in a 4–2 loss to the Blue Jackets in Columbus last night.
So the boys from Broadway didn’t sweep the road trip. Three wins out of four ain’t too shabby. But you could tell from the onset that it would be a struggle.
That’s exactly how this one played out.
Here are my thoughts:
The game opening goal by the Jackets was cringe worthy. J.T. Miller, who has been a beast since the season started, made an errant pass into the middle at the Ranger blue line. William Karlsson picked it off, took a couple of strides and ripped a slapper than went between the wickets on Henrik Lundqvist. More than likely, he’d like to have that one back. A real bad one, all around.
On the 2–0 goal for CBJ, Jesper Fast, who rarely makes a mistake anywhere on the ice, gave the puck away to Sam Gagner in the d-zone. Lundqvist made the initial save, but the puck bounded off of him into the net.
Michael Grabner. Netted his 11th goal of the season, which cut the deficit to 2–1. Signature Grabner play here, as he took the puck away, flew down the ice and deposited the biscuit behind Jackets net minder Sergei Bobrovsky. His speed and skill are off the charts. Thank you, Jeff Gorton.
Mika Zibanejad. His goal tied the contest at 2, off a beautiful feed from Brady Skjei. The Rangers rookie d-man sure makes some amazing passes, and the one that led to Z’s goal was right on the money. Great to see that Alain Vigneault gives #76 the green light to rush the puck all the way into offensive zone. Certainly has the talent to do it. And the ability to get back into position quickly.
Now back to the bad stuff…
The Matt Calvert game-winning goal. Even before that, he took a slap shot to the forehead that required more than 30 stitches. So he gets sowed up, huge bandage and all — and scores a shorthanded goal on a 2 on 1. Looked to me as though Lundqvist cheated a bit to the short side and gave Calvert room on the other side of the net.
Courtesy of ESPN, from AP — “You can’t script it any better that he comes back and scores the winner for us,” said Sam Gagner, who also scored. “That’s just an unbelievable teammate and it gives every guy on the bench a huge shot when he comes back.”
Saw some manic depressive posts last night after the game on Twitter, with regard to how last year’s December Death March started with the same kind of loss to Tampa. Can’t believe Ranger fans are pushing panic buttons after this loss. This team and that team are miles apart. Even though they were only credited with seven hits the entire game.
Plus, here’s an article from the NY Post on how former Rangers head coach John Tortorella has embraced the new NHL as bench boss of the Blue Jackets.
Next up: Tomorrow night’s tilt against the Florida Panthers — 7 p.m. Eastern Time at The World’s Most Famous.
Thanks for taking the time to read my review. Let me know what you think.