New York Rangers, Mats Zuccarello
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The New York Rangers defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning by a score of 3-2, but a scary hit to Dan Girardi has fans worried about the future.

By Chris Wengert

The New York Rangers may have won the game, but they may have potentially lost a very important piece to their puzzle.

When you think of the Rangers’ players who have received the most slack throughout the season, Dan Girardi has to be at the top of the list.

But it was amazing to see how the fans reacted after the Ranger warrior was hit awkwardly into the end board by none other than former Ranger, Brian Boyle.

I guess you just don’t know what you have until it’s possibly gone?

Ironically enough, there seemed to be much more of a reaction to Girardi’s possible injury than when Ryan McDonagh left the ice during the first period of the Columbus game.

Yes, Girardi is one of the worst Rangers’ to ever walk through Madison Square Garden in the eyes of the advanced stat folks, but he is still invaluable to this Rangers’ team, especially when it comes to chemistry.

Rangers 3, Tampa Bay Lightning 2, Final: Stepan, Hank, Youth Fuel Blueshirts (Highlights)

Not to mention that the defense is weak to begin with, so removing yet another piece could potentially be disastrous.

Speaking of McDonagh, it has been a tough couple of years for the struggling Rangers’ captain.

Last year it was a broken foot and now it’s a broken bone in his hand. While there is a possibility that McDonagh could return if the Rangers make a deep playoff run, I highly doubt that Mac would be anything more than serviceable.

We have previously witnessed how ineffective players often are after returning from injuries for the playoffs, whether it be Kevin Klein or Marty St. Louis.

The speed and physicality of the game is just too much for players to catch up to in April and May.

But I digress…

The Rangers must have wanted to give their penalty kill some practice, because they gifted a banged up Tampa Bay team with eight minutes of power play time in the first period alone.

And no matter how you slice it, Rick Nash has had a positive influence on the penalty kill unit.

Before you say it, I understand that Nash isn’t paid 7.5MIL to kill penalties but you can’t ignore the success of the PK since his return.

But Tampa Bay did score two goals in the first period, one of which was a power play goal.

It may be a blessing in disguise that Brady Skjei is seeing some ice now before the playoffs begin, because the first Tampa Bay goal was a result of the rookie defensman having been caught in no-mans land.

Viktor Stalberg is somewhat guilty as well, as both players were covering one man which left Andrej Sustr all alone in the high slot.

Another day, some more blown coverage in the slot.

I understand that you can’t put the blame a rookie defenceman for making mistakes but Skjei is going to have to put on his big boy pants, especially if Girardi and McDonagh are both injured.

Henrik Lundqvist was once again King Henrik Lundqvist in a season where you never know which goalie will show up for the Blueshirts.

He easily kept the Rangers in what could have been a 5-2 Lightning game at times.

How about that Derek Stepan? Don’t look now, but that is what a number one center looks like, despite what his critics say.

Stepan has had a knack for scoring big goals in big moments, and last night’s game was no different. Hopefully the momentum will continue through the next couple of weeks.

If I had to describe the identity of this Rangers team, it would have to be resiliency.

This team has showed that it is never out of a game, no matter what the score is. That is a big boost of confidence that the players can have in their back pocket throughout a long playoff series.

We have witnessed comebacks from this team in the past few years and knowing that they are still capable of such a comeback may just come in handy.

But a four game sweep would be the best case scenario.

Wishful thinking?

NEXT: Only This Guy Can Appropriately Describe What New York Rangers Fans Are Feeling (Video)
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4 COMMENTS

  1. Sorry buddy, I totally disagree on your calling the blame for the TB goal on Skjei. He took the man in front of the next and in the crease. Technically, that high slot is the Center’s job. But Tanner Glass is so far low that D. Moore pulls up and plays the point man – right call. Tanner, instead of pulling up into the slot and covering Sustr, like he should, he lazily skates down below the net and takes himself out of the play. That right there is a tangible disaster; but hey, let’s focus on the intangibles… and put the blame on the Rookie who made the right play.

    • Completely agree Puck’n Futs. Tanner Glass is the cause of that goal because he is not playing his position. The reason why Skjei appears in “no man’s land” is he realizes that the point is not covered by a forward and is attempting to get there. Too little too late, but it’s not the rookie defenseman’s fault. As for a potential loss of Dan Girardi and the author’s statement that “I guess you just don’t know what you have until it’s possibly gone?”. Dan Girardi has been an absolute unmitigated disaster up until the most recent games, where he has been serviceable in his sheltered role. The author implying that being chummy in the locker room, is how you win a stanley cup is preposterous. The way you win a Stanley cup is icing your best lineup, night in and night out and developing chemistry on the ice and producing results. The coach is the reason why we won’t be winning this year or in the near future. That last line is tough to say, but unfortunately, it’s the truth. The New York Rangers will not win the cup as long as AV is here and not properly utilizing his best assets night in and night out.

  2. If this were a personal blog I would give you a pass…but if your get paid for the crap you said above your bosses are about as blind as NYR management.
    Girardi v McDonagh…Hockey play vs a needless questionable hit. That is the reason for the uproar/reaction, not the person who was injured. If you think or one second that if the injuries were flipped and it was McD that was boarded the NYR fanbase wouldn’t have reacted similiarly you are delusional.
    No one has ever questioned Girardi’s heart or toughness. They question the amount of money he received and the amount of time left he has on his contract. They question his demnshing defensive hockey skills, his slides across the ice rather than playing man-on-man D and his ability to move the puck to his forwards rather than dumping it back to the opposing team in the neutral zone or icing it when here were better alternatives.
    Rick Nash…1st sentence spot on. than you go and blow it. Nash is paid $7.5M to be an elite hockey player. He is paidthat much to score, defend, and be one of the best players in all three zones on a regular basis. His PK ability is what sets him apart from most. He is not a sniper in the mold of an Ovi, he is an all around talent that makes this team better in so many ways.
    Sustr’s goal. You blame #25 and #76, and keep the man you was SUPPOSED to be covering him but was skating aimlessly behind our own net without mention??? Tanner Glass had a descent run of “not sucking” but he should no where near the ice. He is contantly out ofposition (mainly due to “finishing” hits that more often than not are meanngless. It says it all that the video of the goal starts with a camera view frozn for readers to see the two uysyouwant to throw under the bus when #15 is just to the right behind Hank.
    Which goalie will show up??? The same amazing goalie that has been between the pipes the entire season…The goalie that singlehandedly brought the rangers to this point of the season with one of the greatest starts to a season in NHL history…a goalie whose save % is on par with his career averages, but has faced far more shots this season than in the past,…His even Stregth Save% for this season will be the BEST of his career for a full NHL season….If you want to fault the Horrid PK numbers on Hank than you are not watching the games. The Defense has been horrendous, the man-2-man scheme is not working as well because uys like Boyle, Giardi and Stall have sloweddown and cannot match up as well. The number of shots allowed from high danger areas is the most this group of ragers have given up in some time Hank has been our savior, and you make it sound like he has been our detriment. If our D and PK showed ayability to keep guys away from quality scoring chanes we would be talking about Hank for Vienza with his emakable play this season(because, YES, te go hand in hand). Hecan only do so much to hide the deficiencies of our Defense.

  3. What a fucking joke of an article. You are a hack and you know nothing about hockey, whatsoever.

    Do not EVER talk about Lundqvist that way, he is the sole reason we are even sniffing the damn playoffs. He is the only reason we’ve actually been relevant since 2005. Finally, we’ve been able to get some talented players on the roster (even after horribly managing Hagelin situation, getting rid of Dorsett for a much worse player, and letting Stralman walk while keeping Girardi) and our fucking coach is not playing our best line up and best players because of his damn personal favorites!!!! It’s absolutely unacceptable by Sather, Gorton, and AV.

    You know what’s also very unacceptable? Your horrid writing, trying to make Hank seem like he’s had not an amazing season, trying to blame Skjei and Stalberg for Glass’ fucking ECHL blown coverage, trying to act like Girardi has been a helpful and useful player when he’s been a consistenly bottom 3 Dman in the NHL the last few seasons.