The Rangers played very poorly last night. To put it bluntly, they stunk up the joint so bad, I’m smelling it across the Hudson. Let’s check in on how the team is doing right now:
The game was, as usual, a total cluster and yet in some ways, totally predictable. The Rangers played roughly 1/3 of this game, perhaps thinking this is still practice? But maybe this is just how they’re coached at this point, since they had a habit of doing this last year as well, except they managed to win these games that they’re losing in 2017.
This mess of a game began when it was announced that, for some reason, in October, the Rangers would play 11 forwards and 7 defensemen, which totally doesn’t scream desperate so don’t worry at all, Alain. There’s nothing worse than shortening your bench, which he’s done not once, but twice so far in this very short season.
Shortly thereafter, we come to find that it doesn’t matter what lines were being presented during warmups because evidently, lines and defense pairings are being picked out of a hat, on the fly. Certainly a way to a) promote chemistry and b) establish what works, except that you can’t do either of those things. But what do I know, I’m not a professional hockey coach. Do you even play the game?
Now, the first period was good. The Rangers outshot the Devils 14-3, and although it was 0-0, you could overlook the score in favor of the possession and pressure. Sure, nobody knows what the heck is going on with the lines, but that’s okay. Keep calm, right? Goals will happen.
And, sure as the rains down in Africa, one did. Rick Nash hit the back of the net on a beauty of a pass by David Desharnais, and we all breathed a sigh of relief.
Sadly, that was the end of the good vibes for last night.
I’m not sure if everyone’s brains left their bodies after that goal, or if they all just got wasted off of the “water” in their Gatorade bottles, or if everyone just decided that one goal was all they felt like doing for the night. The Rangers quite literally disappeared from the ice. For half — seriously, one half — of the game, the Rangers had 5 shots. FIVE. Like, how many fingers you have on one of your hands. How many days are in a basic work week. The number of stages of grief you’re likely feeling watching this team.
If you have a pulse, and you cheer for the Rangers, and you tell me that any of those thirty-four minutes was enjoyable to watch, you’re a liar. Period.
During this time, the Devils score three unanswered goals to set the table for the eventual loss. For some reason, the MSG broadcast team was chatting away, indicating that Ondrej Pavelec was in some way the issue. It was about this time I zoned out and started scrolling my Instagram feed and prayed to the higher merciful powers for this game to be over.
Apparently, during my phase-out, I missed that Jimmy Vesey was benched, shortening the forwards to only ten (because that’s how you score two goals, am I right?), and again was forced to question the tactics of the coach who has led us to such successful playoffs.
In the end, with Pavelec pulled, third-pair Kevin Shattenkirk scored his first at the Garden, but it wasn’t enough. The Rangers lost yet another one, and we’re all sitting here like Michael Scott, just waiting for the tide to turn. Or the entire team to be fired.