The New York Rangers did not have a good game last night against the Calgary Flames, and in the end, it cost them at least a point towards clinching a spot in the NHL playoffs. The Rangers had one consistent effort during the game when they scored three straight goals to take the lead, only to fall back into a string of awful effort that led to another two goals for Calgary, including the game winner. If New York wants any chance of success, they need to show the consistent efforts that led them to win five straight games.
But the Rangers must not dwell on the past. New York needs to learn from the mistakes made against the Flames and improve themselves. There are no easy games near the end of the season, and the Rangers cannot afford to take games off. Their next two matches against the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks will be tough tests against two very different teams. The Oilers are very skilled, while a John Tortorella led Vancouver will grind you down and beat you physically.
No player in the top six forward group registered a point yesterday. Instead, the third and fourth lines picked up the slack to provide all three goals. Brad Richards registered two points, while Brian Boyle and Raphael Diaz scored the other two goals. While Rick Nash was more noticeable than not in last night’s game, the team needs him to get on the score sheet to win in high scoring games.
The Rangers have always relied on Henrik Lundqvist to limit the opponent’s scoring abilities, yet the team must take that slack off of Lundqvist when he has a bad night.
The Rangers have one day to regroup before facing off against the Oilers. That game might be a great opportunity for Martin St. Louis to get himself going. While everyone has been waiting for St. Louis to put up the same point per game pace he had with the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Oilers are not a physical team and players generally have more space and time to make decisions with the puck. St. Louis is pressing hard for that first goal, but once it comes, the floodgates will open.