The crowd at Madison Square Garden was up in arms on Sunday afternoon, as the New York Rangers lost a game that will no doubt leave a bad taste in their mouths. The Blueshirts lost 1-0 to the San Jose Sharks in a game where they felt slighted by the NHL replay crew in Toronto. The jumbo-tron in MSG showed a magnified view of Carl Hagelin’s wraparound attempt sliding in past the pad of Antti Niemi. It was clear to see the puck nudged between Niemi’s right pad and the left post, but it was difficult to see the puck as it actually crossed the line. Therefore, the officials ruled it was not a goal because of “inconclusive” evidence.
Rangers fans and players alike were not happy with the call and the subsequent outcome of the game. After the game, Hagelin said, “It was pretty obvious on the video review that the puck was in, but in all fairness, the refs couldn’t see the puck. That was the problem. Camera couldn’t get a hold of the puck. If the ref would’ve been closer right away, he would have been able to see the puck, but he was a little bit behind the goalie. It was just unlucky.” Even though the call did not go their way, the Rangers had an ample amount of chances to come back in the game afterwards and failed each time.
The loss stings even more for New York as they barely cling to the final wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference. With teams like Columbus, Philadelphia, Washington, Detroit, and New Jersey nipping at their heels, the Rangers can’t afford to be dropping points the way they did on Sunday. The race for the final wild card spot appears to be tightening up and the Rangers are in serious danger of being on the outside looking in.
With 13 games remaining in the regular season and five of those at home, New York doesn’t have much time to make up ground if they were to lose the final playoff spot. The team has gone completely cold when it comes to scoring, the team’s leading scorer Rick Nash has gone missing and Martin St. Louis can’t seem to find the net either. In fact, St. Louis did not have a shot against the Sharks in 20:58 TOI. The team’s first-line center Derek Stepan has proven that he is clearly not a No. 1 center, but a No. 2.
One important piece of a successful team that makes the playoffs regularly is having secondary scoring. However, if the teams supposed top scorers are having trouble putting the puck in the net, then there’s no way to have success in the NHL. New York has just enough talent on their roster to make it to the playoffs this year, but if they continue to falter like they did on Sunday, they’ll be cleaning out their lockers sooner than expected.