To say that the New York Rangers season has been one of frustration for the team and its fans would be an understatement.
Last night’s loss to the Winnipeg Jets was a microcosm of the Rangers’ season. The effort was there from some players, like Ryan Callahan, who tried to carry the team on his back at times throughout the game, but the overall team effort fell short.
The Rangers, who have struggled to score goals consistently, looked like they were going to have trouble again after heading into the first intermission in a 0-0 tie. The Rangers surrendered two quick goals in the second period, but Callahan cut the Jets’ lead in half with a goal of his own.
However, the Rangers quickly allowed another Winnipeg goal and were once again down by two goals. It was a night of missed chances, just like the entire Rangers’ season. The Rangers had a 3-on-1 at one point, but Derek Stepan failed to even get a shot off, taking the puck behind the net and eventually losing the puck.
The puck seems to hate the Rangers this season. Whether it is floating across the line behind the goalie, banging off the post, or somehow finding a way through reigning Vezina Trophy winner Henrik Lundqvist, the puck just doesn’t do what the Rangers want it to do this season.
Right now, the team sits at 8-8-2, one point behind the Tampa Bay Lightning for the eighth seed in the playoffs. The Jets and Philadelphia Flyers are also sitting at 19 points, and the New York Islanders are hovering just below the Rangers with 17 points.
It is a cluster of good teams, teams that the Rangers can, and will have to beat, if they want to try to make another run at the Stanley Cup.
There is still time to recover, get hot, and head into the playoffs where the Rangers can be a very dangerous team. However, in this shortened season, they need to start turning things around soon before the hole they have to climb out of is insurmountable.
They can begin on Thursday when they face the Lightning, a team they have beaten twice already, in the second game of a four-game homestand. The Rangers should also be getting Michael Del Zotto, Ryan McDonagh and Rick Nash back soon, which should bolster the defense and give the Rangers another scoring option.
It isn’t too late for the Rangers just yet, but time is certainly starting to run out with the midway point to the season just around the corner. There is just too much talent on this roster for things not to turn around.
The only question is, will it be too late?