by Patrick Hoffman on 04/08/12 at 12:09 PM ET
While it is great that the New York Rangers finished first in both the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference, last night’s performance against the Washington Capitals in a 4-1 loss at Madison Square Garden is not acceptable.
In the first period, the team was irresponsible on defense and got some questionable goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist, which led to a 3-0 deficit after the first period. Lundqvist did not look like himself between the pipes as the first goal he allowed to Capitals’ team captain Alex Ovechkin should have been stopped and on the Capitals’ third goal, he looked completely lost.
The team’s first period ultimately took the team out of the hockey game. This was a game that the Rangers could have used to go into the postseason on a high note and as Presidents’ Trophy winners but simply put, it was not meant to be for the Blueshirts last night.
On a positive note, the team was able to create several good scoring opportunities on Capitals’ netminder Braden Holtby but Holtby was more than up to the task in making 35 saves. The Capitals’ will need more goaltending like that from Holtby if they want to beat the Boston Bruins in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Speaking of the postseason, the New York Rangers will meet the Ottawa Senators in the first round. The Blueshirts struggled to a 1-2-1 record against the Senators this season so this could be a tough match-up for the team heading into the playoffs.
The Rangers have lost two straight games and were outscored 9-3 in the process. It is time for the club to forget about the past and focus on the future because heading into the postseason on a losing streak is usually never a good thing for any hockey club.
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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 email@example.com.