For every big win (Toronto), there is a big loss (last night). The Rangers put up two quick goals against arguably the best team in the West, and everyone, myself included, thought this would be win #8 in a row. But then again, the Rangers weren’t playing Toronto, they were playing the San Jose Sharks. The team that boasts a first line of Joe Thornton between Devin Setogucci and Dany Heatley. Name one team that has a top three like that, other than the Penguins, the Caps, and the Wings. There’s a reason why those four are the elite in the league.
A lot is going to be made of this loss. The Rangers couldn’t hold a 2-0 lead. Steve Valliquette gave up a softie. The Rangers took too many penalties. Versus can’t broadcast a hockey game to save their lives (Victor Del Zotto? Thanks, Brian Engblom.)
Sure, the Rangers couldn’t hold the 2-0 lead, against the most potent offense in the West with roughly 50 minutes left in the game. Come on, did you really think this game would end 2-0? Or 3-0? Steve Valliquette gave up a softie? At least it wasn’t from 130 feet away against the Caps. Softie’s happen, and it’s not like removing that goal would have helped the Rangers, they still would have lost.
The only gripes are the penalties, and Versus. The Rangers took seven total penalties this game, and five were lazy stick penalties. Yes, penalties happen, but they happen too often for this Ranger team. If you give that many powerplay opportunities to the Sharks, they are going to convert. That’s what this team does. They convert.
This is just one loss in 8 games, and puts the Rangers at a modest 7-2 record. It doesn’t matter if you lose 7-2 or 2-1, a loss is a loss, and it counts the same in the standings. Be glad this was against a Western Conference team, so it doesn’t really mean much in the grand scheme of things in the race for the East.