by Patrick Hoffman on 03/07/10 at 11:51 AM ET
I know that the title is extremely negative but let’s face it folks, the New York Rangers have a tough task ahead of them when it comes to making the playoffs.
In last night’s 2-0 loss to the Eastern Conference leading Washington Capitals, the Blueshirts played well enough to win but unfortunately, were not able to put the puck in the net. When your backup goaltender (Alex Auld) makes 26 saves on 28 shots against an offensive team like the Caps, the least you can do is score a few goals for him.
Auld was solid last night and did everything he could to give his team a chance to pick up two points. He was poised, played the puck well and stopped the ones he needed to stop. Right now, he is certainly a better option than Chad Johnson or Steve Valiquette.
Marian Gaborik returned to the lineup and for someone who is not 100 percent, looked pretty darn good as he logged over 25 minutes in ice time and generated several scoring opportunities. However, when your star player is not 100 percent, your team needs to have other guys step up and put the puck in the net, something that did not happen last night.
Tonight, the team returns to Madison Square Garden for a Sunday night matchup with Ryan Miller and the Buffalo Sabres. The Sabres are coming off a 3-2 OT win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday night and are looking to keep pace in the Northeast Division, where they are tied for first with the Ottawa Senators.
Back-to-back’s are always tough games to play in but the Blueshirts are going to need to show their mental toughness and do everything they can to get a win because right now, every two points that slip away will hurt them come the end of the regular season.
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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.