by Patrick Hoffman on 11/22/08 at 10:30 PM ET
While they may have only dropped their last two games, the New York Rangers played like they were in the midst of a two-week slump in a 4-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators this afternoon.
They had no jump in their legs, didn’t get pucks to the net, had trouble getting the puck out of their own zone and looked generally disorganized for 60 minutes.
So my question is: What’s going on?
In the last two games, the Rangers have allowed nine goals and was only the fourth time this season that they allowed four goals or more in a game.
This afternoon, the team looked lost in the defensive zone, with the exception of defenseman Marc Staal, who continues to impress the Rangers’ brass and their fans with strong, heads up play. Other than that, the team was running around, being caught out of position and allowed the Senators to fire away at Rangers’ goaltender Stephen Valiquette, who turned in another strong performance with 32 saves on 36 shots.
Today’s game was also a perfect example of what happens when one team puts forth a 60-minute effort and the other doesn’t. The Senators controlled the puck for most of the game, smothered the Rangers when they had the puck (had just 19 shots) and went hard to the net.
The Blueshirts were also distracted by Sens’ pest Jarkko Ruutu, as he agitated Rangers’ players such as Brandon Dubinsky, Colton Orr and Paul Mara, all of who he goaded into taking penalties.
All in all, it was another ugly game for the Blueshirts and they will have to get back on track by Monday night, when they take on the Phoenix Coyotes at Madison Square Garden.
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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.