Chalk this one up to "live and learn."
The Rangers came out flat against an inferior opponent, played a sloppy first, and were never able to fully seize control of the game in falling 2-1 to the downtrodden Oilers. Some notes on the performance:
-Edmonton is a talented–but bad–hockey team. When dealing with a bad team–particularly at home–the goal is always to start fast and not let the opponent get comfortable. Put a poor team in an early 1-0 or 2-0 hole, and often, they'll wilt–especially one as young as the Oilers. The Rangers did pretty much the complete opposite, giving the puck away ten times in the first, and letting Edmonton get nice and comfortable.
-Cam Talbot was otherwise solid, but he'd probably like that first one back. Talbot went down early, allowing David Perron's shot to glance off his shoulder and pop up in the air, ultimately landing behind him, where Ryan Smyth put it in. Still, for a guy who hadn't played in almost three weeks, 29 saves is not a bad outing.
-Kevin Klein was the guilty party on the first goal. His poor break out pass behind Brian Boyle caused the turnover that led to the goal.
-The Pouliot-Brassard-Zuccarello line is the Rangers quickest defense to offense unit, as evidenced by Brassard's goal. Pouliot forced a turnover, and within 5 seconds, the puck was in the back of the net. Mats Zuccarello's superlative vision is the driving force behind their transition game.
-Ryan Callahan hit everything that moved last night. Except the net, which actually is stationary, so maybe that was the problem. The Captain missed high on two glorious chances in the third, and was stymied on a shorthanded breakaway by the combination of Ben Scrivens' toe and the outside of the net in the second.
-The Rangers had 5 players between Nail Yakupov and the net on the latter's game winner, but they all failed to pick him up. Lack of communication. Speaking of young Nail, anyone see anything in his game last night (other than his place of birth) that explains how or why he's been in Dallas Eakins' doghouse?
-The Oilers are very scrambly in their own zone, the Blueshirts just didn't get enough sustained pressure to break them.
With the loss, the Rangers now have to beat a rested Pittsburgh team to avoid going into the 20-day Olympic break on a two-game losing streak. So much for taking the easy way out. The Penguins have won 4 of 5, but they'll be without Kris Letang for at least the next six weeks, after he suffered a stroke last week. That's horrible, frightening, news. Godspeed in his recovery.
Henrik Lundqvist will be back in net for the Rangers.
Just because the Super Bowl left NY/NJ it doesn't mean the NFL action is over. Come see the Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame at Liberty Science Center see jerseys worn by legends, make the tough call under the hood, try on equipment and get immersed into football like never before.
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