New York Rangers, Mats Zuccarello
Photo by Bergen Record

The New York Rangers put forth a lackluster effort in Ottawa and the Sens took full advantage. Craig Anderson recorded a shutout in the 3-0 loss.

By Chris Wengert

The New York Rangers had plenty of possible excuses going into this game.

The snow storm changed their flight schedule in Raleigh, they didn’t have any ice time yesterday, and Rick Nash was out of the lineup.

But when your team in only four points away from losing a playoff spot, there is no room for excuses.

Plain and simple, the Rangers beat themselves with a lack of effort and focus.

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Contrary to their game in Carolina, the Blueshirts had no fore check, made too many passes, and couldn’t capitalize on a couple of slam dunk opportunities.

Kevin Hayes was the first culprit when he missed a centering pass in front of a wide open net. It looked like the puck may have bounced a bit, but he missed nonetheless.

I’ve given Kevin Hayes a hard time lately, and he reminded me why today.

After taking a big hit from Erik Karlsson in the first period (and a clean on at that), Hayes stands still and looks for a call from the refs, rather than getting back in the play.

This reaction is inexcusable.

Hayes should have gotten right up and kept his feet moving. Instead what we saw was the soft, diva-ish version of Kevin Hayes that has plagued the Rangers lineup this season.

Tanner Glass also missed a gimme opportunity, and on an almost identical play as Hayes. If both of these players cashed in on these opportunities the game could have looked very different.

I would love to see what the Rick Nash haters have to say after today’s game, because he was sorely missed. His strong fore check and play making ability is exactly what the Rangers needed today.

This game was a perfect example of why Nash is so important, even when he isn’t scoring.

Henrik Lundqvist kept the Rangers in the game at times, especially during the first period when the Sens were pressuring the Rangers. That second goal was a rocket from Mike Hoffman.

When did sliding on the ice become the go-to play over taking the body? That is exactly what Dan Girardi did on Ottawa’s second goal.

It is a horrible play for a two reasons: it allows the shooter to make a play uncontested and it potentially screens your goaltender.

It becomes harder and harder to defend Girardi when he makes plays like this, especially for a player that is usually so physical. Even if Girardi didn’t make contact with Mike Hoffman, stepping up to him would have been a much better move.

The only time the Rangers had jump was on the power play, but they weren’t able to convert on with the advantages. While the puck movement was good overall, the “too many passes” bug came back to bite the Blueshirts today.

The Rangers will have an opportunity to right their wrongs tomorrow when they take on the Buffalo Sabers at Madison Square Garden.

NEXT: With Eli Manning At Quarterback, The New York Giants Will Always Be Contenders

I've been a die hard Rangers and Giants fan for as long as I can remember. I enjoy sharing opinions, and hearing from fans that love their teams just as much as I do. Henrik Lundqvist makes all of us look like mere mortals. E-mail me at: