After their most embarrassing loss in recent memory, a 9-2 pasting by the Sharks in San Jose, the Rangers did all the right things teams that get humiliated normally do.
Embarrassed Captain: Check.
Closed Door Players Only meeting: Check.
Line Shuffling: Check.
Then they dropped the puck.
And that is precisely the moment things got ugly.
The Ducks flattened the Blueshirts 6-0 in their home opener at the Honda Center. The first 20 minutes on the ice, after getting destroyed by the Sharks may have been the worst in a very long time by our beloved New York Rangers. After two cliche-filled days of yammering about working harder, blah, blah, blah, the NYR came out and sent 3 shots on the Ducks and Jonas Hiller. Three. Three crummy shots while yielding a staggering 17 in the opening frame of what should have been their most determined period.
At 5:06 Corey Perry skated into the Rangers zone and around Ryan McDonagh and broke in on a 2 on 3. Rather than cover his man and leave the shooter to Henrik Lundqvist, Dan Girardi left his man (again) and slid at Perry in an attempt to block the pass to Ryan Getzlaf. The third of the NYR three, Derek Stepan had a great view of the entire play and threw a half-hearted wave of the stick at Getzlaf, who easily buried a one-timer by Hank off a nice pass by Perry. 1-0 Ducks.
The next Ducks goal at 9:17 was another Anaheim 2-on-3 with Stepan again the three. This time John Moore chased Mathieu Perreault and the puck into the corner and both DubStep and Michael Del Zotto chased Teemu Selanne behind the net. While this is a fundamentally horrible defensive play by Step, the Rangers should have been okay because they had Jesper Fast in the slot and Taylor Pyatt waiving his stick at something (a locust maybe?) on the ice nowhere near the play but still back. While the Ducks only had Jakob Silfverberg in the slot. Perreault hit Selanne and Selanne’s backhand found Silverberg in front and the young Ranger-killer with Fast flailing all over the ice and Step watching again, forced one by Hank for the 2-0 lead.
The onslaught continued at 11:36 when Bryan Allen buried Stepan in the neutral zone leading to a turnover and Daniel Winnik sent a wrister by John Moore and over Hank from about 50 feet out. the terrible goal gave the Ducks a 3-0 lead and basically ended the game and sent the Ranger fans watching on the East Coast to bed.
But sadly for the Rangers, there was still 50 minutes to play.
Just 1:27 into the second, the ice follies continued. Benoit Pouliot while in possession of the puck, turned back towards his own zone and threw a soft pass and then skated directly into a befuddled Del Zotto as the puck slid into the corner. Seeing Perreault speeding towards the loose puck, Hank dove out of his crease and poked the puck up the wall right onto the stick of a waiting Teemu Selanne. The Finnish Hall of Famer blasted one towards the empty net and with Hank in no man’s land and confused Ranger defenders were sliding hither and yon, Selanne’s shot hit the post and caromed perfectly to Siveferberg who rifled a shot into the open cage past a sliding MDZ.
Then, at 8:11, Anton Stralman continued the Rangers stellar play, flubbing a pass directly to Andrew Cogliano at the blue line. Cogliano fed Winnik down the left wing and the Ducks played tic tac toe with the puck as Saku Koivu, with true NHL superstar Brad Richards deciding not to bother covering him, completed the pretty passing play giving the Ducks the 5-0 lead.
Lastly and mercifully at the of the second Dustin Penner got his pancake. Perry (wide open for about 5 minutes) found a wide open Penner on the back door for the tap in. In fairness, Penner did have Dominic Moore falling down next to him, which seems to be part of the Rangers D zone coverage this season.
The Rangers keep talking about adapting to a new system and if that system is running around the defensive zone sending everyone to the puck like a bunch of peewees, they have it down.
The Brian Boyle-Derek Stepan-Jesper Fast experiment was stellar in the first period finding themselves on the ice for all three Ducks goals. Brian Boyle despite being a very soft 6’7″ and possessing no scoring touch somehow continues to hold down a regular NHL job and take a regular shift.
Dan Girardi continued his All-Star habit of leaving his man to chase the puck wherever it goes. For some reason, G gets a pass while continuing to play horribly in his own end.
The Rangers are a soft team with what looks like no heart. The boys in blue are really not difficult to play against as they don’t bang along the wall, and are very passive in front of Hank. Derek Dorsett seems wiling despite his size and Ryan Callahan will throw his body around. But when Mats Zuccarello is the fiestiest guy on the squad, you have one very soft squad.
Benoit Pouliot looks terrible and Taylor Pyatt is completely useless.
Maybe there is a reason that the Blue Jacket’s give up their 1st Round picks so easily (Rick Nash 2002, Derick Brassard 2006, and John Moore 2009.) Because boy do the 2013-14 New York Rangers sure look a lot like the 2011-12 Columbus Blue Jackets.
It was so bad last night, that the Blueshirts were actually stating that it was a positive that they didn’t give up against the Ducks like they did in San Jose. Yikes.
Rangers in St. Loo Saturday night.