by Patrick Hoffman on 03/27/09 at 10:55 AM ET
As I mentioned in my blog yesterday, yesterday’s game against the Atlanta Thrashers should have been an easy two points. It was a game against a team that was in 14th-place in the Eastern Conference and well on their way to thinking about next season.
So what happened? The New York Rangers blew a three-goal lead and lost 5-4 in a shootout thanks to undisciplined defensive play and some poor goaltending by netminder Stephen Valiquette.
Through the first two periods, the team seemed to be doing everything right. They were getting contributions from their big guns, scoring on the power play, killing penalties and playing a sound defensive game.
Unfortunately, this worked for the first 40 minutes of the game and then things fell apart as the team missed defensive assignments, failed to score on a two-man advantage, and Valiquette allowed two soft goals to allow the Thrashers to get right back in the game.
Head coach John Tortorella was not happy after the game and said “I thought we sucked right on through the game. I think we’re fortunate to get a point, very fortunate to get that.”
With the difficult schedule ahead, this was a game that the Rangers needed to have as all of their remaining games are against playoff contenders, beginning with tomorrow afternoon’s game against the streaking Pittsburgh Penguins. The team finds themselves in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, just two points behind the fifth place Carolina Hurricanes and just four more than the ninth place Florida Panthers.
The team will once again need to step up tomorrow afternoon and find a way to pick up two points if they want to stay involved in the playoff race.
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.