New York Rangers, Mats Zuccarello
Photo by Bergen Record

The New York Rangers failed to play their game in Newark and lost to the New Jersey Devils 5-2. Bad decisions and special teams were the difference.

By Chris Wengert

The New York Rangers were embarrassed by their arch rivals in Newark last night.

It was also another game full of referee controversy, as the NHL continues to dig deep into the rule book when the Rangers are playing.

For some reason the Devils have a knack for resurrecting the neutral zone trap whenever they play the Rangers. As we have stated multiple times here, the Rangers find their speed through the neutral zone.

But the Devils did a great job of forcing the Rangers to either turn over the puck or dump and chase at the blue line. It was a textbook way to slow down the Rangers and weaken their fore check.

Marek Hrivik is such an upgrade for the fourth line. His assist on Dominic Moore‘s goal showed more hockey sense than Daniel Paille did during his entire tenure with the Rangers.

Speaking of Dominic Moore, it certainly looked like he exercised some demons with that goal. Moore is such an easy guy to root for and it is good to see him starting to find his game.

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If Hrivik and Moore can spark some chemistry for the fourth line it would be invaluable to the Rangers.

The pass-happy Rangers were on full display once again last night. It’s really unnerving too, because whenever they fall into that trap it completely unravels their game.

Keith Yandle makes some amazing plays as you saw on the Moore goal,  but there are a lot of situations when he has a clear shooting lane and holds onto the puck for too long.

Derick Brassard is another player who is often guilty of having the pass bug. Especially against a team like the Devils, who can shut down a team’s fore check so effectively, shooting and crashing the net should have been a Ranger priority.

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This is trivial, but does anybody notice how often Henrik Lundqvist yells at his players? Don’t get me wrong as there are plenty of situations when he should, but I sometimes wonder if his teammates become annoyed by it? Just a thought…

Former Ranger and current Ranger killer Lee Stempniak was up to his usual goal scoring tricks. If only he could have produced like that last year.

Ok, about the J.T. Miller fiasco.

The reason he was ejected was because he cut Sergey Kalinin during the fight. It really wasn’t a smart move by Miller in retrospect, but hindsight…ah you know the rest.

Miller should have known better not to fight with tape on his hands, bottom line. He’s a professional hockey player and  for that reason those situations shouldn’t be overlooked.

But that Dylan McIlrath penalty was absolute garbage. He barely touched Blandisi, who then dove like a a true Olympian. The stripes also missed copious amounts of calls in the third period. Sour grapes I guess.

The Rangers really miss Rick Nash and Ryan McDonagh. A lot.

But during the game a video popped up on twitter of Rick Nash during his tenure in Columbus:

I’m not going to lie, watching that video put a lot of things in perspective for me. It was sobering.

The Rick Nash you see in that video is a player the New York Rangers have never experienced. That speed, strength, and drive have been significantly dulled over the past couple of years.

I’ve been a Rick Nash apologist, but watching this knocked some sense into me. While Nash was effective before his injury (and the Rangers do miss his presence) it makes me wonder how much of a factor he really will be when he returns, especially after a bone bruise.

Ah, the penalty kill.

Just when you think the Rangers have begun to iron out some of their PK problems, it all comes crashing down. Kyle Palmieri‘s goal really shifted the momentum of the whole game, and it was allowed to happen once again because of, you guessed it-blown coverage.

That is a horrible decision by Kevin Klein to chase the puck carrier, especially on the penalty kill. Both defensemen should never be caught chasing one player.

Henrik Lundqvist bailed the Rangers out of a possible 8-2 loss. Bad pinching by Rangers’ defensemen allowed the Devils to have multiple odd-man rushes, which Hank shut the door on.

McDonagh will make the trip to St. Louis with the team, so hopefully he will be back in action when the Rangers take on the Blues Thursday night.

NEXT: New York Islanders Trade Deadline Primer: Think Small

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: