New York Rangers' Loss to Pittsburgh Penguins Proves Winning Ways Were A Fluke

By Matt Stillwell
Charles LeClaire – USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, I stated that the New York Rangers‘ back-to-back games against the Pittsburgh Penguins and Toronto Maple Leafs would prove whether or not they truly turned the corner.

After last night’s disgraceful effort against the Penguins, tonight’s game no longer matters. This loss proved not only that the Rangers’ recent stretch of four out of five wins was a fluke, but it also proves they don’t deserve to make the playoffs.

Every fatal flaw in the Rangers was exposed last night. As soon as the Rangers were down 1-0 their effort disappeared. They lost every physical battle, every puck battle and every mental battle. They allowed the Penguins to push them around all game long, and by the third period it didn’t look like the Rangers were going to come home alive.

The game was filled with careless turnovers, soft defensive coverage, and a complete and utter failure to finish. To put this in perspective, when the Rangers were down 4-0 at the end of the second period they were outshooting the Penguins 30-17. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to conclude that this is downright disturbing.

What’s worse, on a night when their captain, Ryan Callahan, returned from injury, they lost their other spark plug. Derek Dorsett suffered a fractured fibula blocking a shot in the first period and will miss the next 4-6 weeks. If there was one positive out of last night’s game it was that Callahan actually showed some grit and stuck up for his teammates.

Once again, after this loss, the team held a players-only, closed-door meeting. This didn’t work the first time, and it certainly won’t work this time. This team has too many issues, and it is safe to question whether or not they can be resolved in time.

We can spend all day debating why the Rangers have no fire or no toughness. Only the players truly know why. And after another no-show performance against a top-tier team like the Penguins, how can they be expected to show character against a bottom-tier team?

They’d better figure this all out soon or they will be setting tee-times in mid-April.

Matt Stillwell is a New York Rangers contributor for Follow him on Twitter @MattNYR12, “like” him on Facebook and connect with him on Google Plus for all NYR news and notes!

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