Another heart-breaking loss for the Rangers last night.
Perhaps the only changes seen in last night’s loss compared to Wednesday’s loss in Toronto, was the fact that the Rangers played in the Garden, against the Panthers.
Everything else seemed to followed suit.
The Rangers out-played their inferior opponent, the Rangers out-shot their inferior opponent, the Rangers scored first against their inferior opponent, and of course, the Rangers ultimately lost to their inferior opponent.
Same old story last night against Florida.
I was watching the game with Dan and we both agreed the Rangers looked great from the get go.
Right from the drop of the puck the team was playing with intensity, and passion.
An early goal that was overruled (erroneously, might I add), followed by another early goal that actually was allowed gave the fans hope of an exciting night to come.
Just like Wednesday, the Rangers were aggressive on the fore check, sent a barrage of shots toward the Panther’s net, and completely dominated and controlled the game through two periods.
Then came the dreaded third.
Late in the period, David Booth and Nathan Horton scored back to back goals to take the lead, and the Panthers held on to beat New York 2-1.
Other then missed scoring opportunities, which Rangers fans have now become accustom to seeing, the team was in it until Henrik Lundqvist had a hiccup in net.
Michael Obenauer of the NYDN says of Ranger goalie Henrik Lundqvist’s performance; Lundqvist - who once again had to be flawless to get a win - said he misread Booth's backhander from the right faceoff dot, expecting a high shot and being beaten for a soft goal through the legs. "It was a weak goal, no question," Lundqvist said.
So while there are definitely positive signs being shown by John Tortorella’s team, the growing pains of playing in his new system will take some time to overcome.
Although it will be difficult, fans who were expecting to see a dramatic “turnaround” will need to be patient.
For now, I still have faith that the Rangers will dig themselves out of this hole eventually, and find their way back into significance.
Last night, the Rangers played their first game under fiery new coach John Tortorella and lost in an overtime shootout to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
I watched the game, and to be honest I really liked what I saw on the ice.
The Rangers applied more pressure on the puck then they normally do, and you could tell the offensive minded system was having a positive effect.
The forecheck was strong, and the team outshot Toronto 32-24 (24-12 through the second period.)
The Rangers had several scoring opportunities throughout the game, and Wade Redden scored the Rangers' lone goal on a power play, which are all positive signs.
The Rangers completely dominated through two periods of play, but seemed to finally run out of gas midway through the third.
Toronto tied it up at 1-1 on a Niklas Hagman goal, and the game went to an overtime shootout where the Leafs picked up the victory.
Drury, Zherdev, and Naslund all failed to score on their shootout attempts, and Nikolai Kulemin sealed the deal with a wrister passed Lundqvist for the win.
If you're wondering how Toronto pulled this one off, look no further than Leafs goalie Vesa Toskala, who had a very impressive night between the posts.
Overall, last night's game showed signs of promise for the future.
Unfortunately, the Rangers are still having trouble putting the puck in the back of the net, but with a revved up offensive attack, I have to believe the goals will soon follow.
Other than the lack of scoring, the bigger concern last night was the Rangers lack of conditioning.
After playing an up-tempo brand through the first two periods of the game, it was obvious that fatigue began to set in by the third.
The Rangers are playing a completely different style of hockey now, and the team needs to adjust to that as soon as possible. Tonight's home game against the Panthers would be the perfect time to do so.
First, I’d like to thank my brother for that nice introduction. As mentioned, my name is Jason and I’m currently interning at a New York sports network while finishing up my senior year at Syracuse University. Although I study sport management at Syracuse and not journalism, I have been blogging for about two years now. One of my current projects is a new, New York sports blog called the New York Sports Vent (nysportsvent.blogspot.com).
I have been following and rooting for the Rangers for as long as I can remember. My childhood hero was none other than “The Captain” Mark Messier, and my very first online screen name was “BlueshirtFan22”. Needless to say, I’m incredibly excited for the opportunity to begin contributing to Pucks on Broadway, and I look forward to building a good rapport with all of you.
On to tonight’s game against Toronto…
I’m not going to be irrational and call this a “must-win” or anything along those lines. There’s a new sheriff in town and with that will come some slight growing pains. Keep in mind; Renney and Tortorella have two completely different styles and philosophies when it comes to coaching. What I will say however, is that the Rangers need to have to come out swinging tonight. Toronto is a mediocre team at best, and after posting a lackadaisical effort against the Leafs on Howell/Bathgate night, the Rangers need to put together a high-energy and competitive performance. Again, this doesn’t necessarily have to come by way of a victory. A loss tonight will be attributed to the coaching change, but at the very least the fans deserve to see a respectable performance.
I’m particularly interested in focusing on the first line tonight. Sather brought Tortorella in to get the Rangers “bland” offense going, and that starts with Gomez, Naslund, and Zherdev. This line is built to be a high-octane, attacking force, and we have yet to see that this season. Another point of interest tonight will be how Coach T handles the special teams, which has been a tremendous area of weakness all year. On a side note, newly acquired forward Mark Bell will not be playing.
Tonight marks the beginning of a new chapter for the Rangers 2008-2009 season. As a fan, I’m looking forward to turning the page.
While John Tortorella gets squared away in preparation for his first game behind the bench tonight in Toronto, we have our first addition here at Pucks on Broadway.
Who better to take some of the reigns here than my own minor league system: family.
Our newest writer is Jason Akeson, a current graduate of Syracuse University. He is interning with a local sports network and operates the blogs Your Sports Lock and most recently New York Sports Vent.
Jason will be blogging daily in addition to my features and provide an intriguing insight into pregame notes, trades, postgame, and other happenings around the league.
He will be by this afternoon to give you a brief background of his credentials as well as preview tonight's game at Toronto.
When this blog began a while back, I never dreamed it would lead to so many different avenues. I have taken pride in the frequency of posts as well as the quality of the writing here. In turn, I have had many positive experiences with readers and fellow bloggers.
Unfortunately, over the past couple months many of you have noticed that I have been a bit AWOL when it comes to posting here on Pucks.
While I hate not updating, it comes with good reason and an exciting announcement.
I have been asked to take a greater role with the Blueshirt Bulletin, the Rangers Indepent Monthly Publication. Part of this role is being the exclusive front page blogger on BlueshirtBulletin.com.
In order to focus on this, I have had to sacrifice some of my other writings, much of which has come at the expense of Pucks.
However, this blog isn't going anywhere.
My daily posts will now be seen on Blueshirt, but I will maintain feature stories, analytical pieces, and opinions here on Pucks.
In the coming weeks, I will also be speaking with some other Rangers' writers about contributing here so that we never lose the daily content.
If you are interested in contributing, shoot me an email at email@example.com.
Nonetheless, I promise to continue and provide the readers here with intriguing content and debate while providing the readers of Blueshirt Bulletin the daily content that made Pucks so successful.
So stay tuned because as always, more to come...