That really sums up the Rangers last night, this season and all four years under the guidance of Coach John Tortorella.
In the first of seven should-win games, with their playoff lives on the line, the Rangers came out completely unprepared and un-ready to play against the Flyers. The Blueshirts played the first two periods with no passion, no urgency and no heart really. I’m sure Coach had the boys full prepared for the the potential slow start in next game after an emotional victory.
Captain Ryan Callahan universally loved for his passion and commitment, showed none of that in a big spot last night. The contest against the Flyers was the perfect spot for a captain to step up and lead his team. A big goal perhaps? A thunderous hit? Flat out hustle? Nope, none of that from Captain Cally last night.
The team looked completely uninterested for the first two periods and displayed no forecheck pressure and no offensive attack against a Flyers team playing with like two NHL defenseman and back-up goalie trying to resurrect his career. The Flyers essentially out of the playoff hunt, dominated the NYR through two lackluster periods.
The Brad Richards sham should end already. At this point, why is he even in the lineup? The guys is flat out terrible and plays hockey like he’d rather be at a fashion show or a gallery opening. Not only should Richards be bought out, he should be benched. Send him home already, he plays with about as much hustle as a wounded slug.
Henrik Lundqvist had an off game last night, giving up three goals. Hank obviously exhausted from carrying this offenseless team for much of this season (and last) let in a softie on the Flyers second goal. In defense of Hank, can you imagine the enormous pressure he’s under, knowing that each game, if he lets in a bad goal, or more than two goals, his team won’t win.
Brayden Schenn got the scoring started for Philly banging home the rebound of a Brandon Manning shot. The Flyers broke into the Rangers zone rather innocuously but after Manning’s shot, both mats Zuccarello and Ryane Clowe both left Schenn wide open to bang in the rebound. Clowe, who aside from his first game against Pittsburgh has essentially done nothing, appears to be morphing into the power froward version of Brad Richards.
The Flyers doubled their pleasure at 17:21 of the first on a goal that Hank should have had. When Rick Nash blew a tire in his own end, Philly skated into the Rangers zone 4 on 3. Sean Couturier hit Erik Gustafsson with a nice pass that the defenseman one-timed by the King giving the Flyers a 2-0 lead heading into the second.
Mats Zuccarello drew the Rangers to within one at 2:54 of the second. The Norwegian took a nice stretch pass from John Moore and made hulking Danish defenseman Oliver Lauridsen look silly as he fired a wrist shot by Steve Mason.
The Flyers put the game away at 10:00 when Claude Giroux absolutely smoked Richards clean on faceoff. Giroux’s win came back to Timonen on a tee at the point and the Flyers d-man blaster a laser by Hank off the far post. Timonen had enough time to put everything into the shot for two reasons. First, Richards got beat so badly off the draw and secondly Callahan kind of coasted to the point, grabbing a hold of Scott Hartnell’s sweater rather than going balls out to the point.
At this point, down 3-1 with half the game to play, the Rangers were done, statistically. Coach T’s squad averages 2.29 goals per game this year and about 2.6 in his tenure behind the bench. Down 3-1, it stood to reason that the NYR may get the second goal and perhaps even .29 of a goal, but that would be it. And it was.
Derek Stepan bought the Rangers to within one once again at 7:28 of the third. Step flipped home the rebound of a Callahn shot after Derick Brassard, Cally and Step buzzed the Flyers net. But despite turning up the intensity and outshooting the Flyers 17-3 in the third, the Rangers just don’t score and would go on to lose 4-2 when Jakub Voracek sent home an empty netter in the games final seconds.
Despite all of this, a bad goal by Hank, a team that doesn’t bother to show up for two periods, a coach who decides to pull his tired tough guy routine with his team’s best offensive player, if the Rangers had any semblance of a power play, they win this game, or at least send it to OT and pull a point.
But this is Coach’s team and its power play is clueless and atrocious. There is no strategy, there are no set plays. And although the power play has been a known weakness all four years of Torts’ stewardship, it has actually gotten worse this season. (2013 – 15.4% / 2012 – 15.7% / 2011 – 16.9% / 2010 – 18.3%)
Obviously this is through no fault of Coach or his staff. Just like having a team completely unprepared to play a weakened team down the stretch has nothing to do with the coach.
Six games left.
Let’s go Rangers?