The New York Rangers dropped Game One to Pittsburgh, and with Hanks health and the players’ effort in question, things aren’t looking up.

By Chris Wengert

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The New York Rangers’ fan base has already started to shun the team, after one loss.

When the Rangers give what looks like a lame effort at times, who came blame them?

But here’s the thing: last night’s game wasn’t about effort.

Fans and media alike can make all the observations they want, but I refuse to believe that this team is lacking in the effort department.


It may look that way sometimes, especially when your team has to kill five penalties throughout the game, but last night was not about effort.

Last night was however, about individual mistakes.

The Pittsburgh Penguins, while they finished on their opportunities, did not look like the big bad wolf that they were made out to be.

Last year’s Washington Capitals team looked much scarier if you ask me.

But too many players made boneheaded mistakes last night, plain and simple.

Rick Nash: Misunderstood Unicorn, Or Flat Out Dud?

Following the first goal, MSG showed a clip of Dan Girardi letting up on the play. He apparently believed icing should have been called, and started to protest to the referees.

Not a good idea Dan.

All the while, play was continuing and Girardi allowed Hornqvist to sail right through the slot, again.

Why Girardi would choose Game One of the playoffs to make a point to the refs and quit on a play is beyond me.

Did anyone else see their life flash before their eyes when Henrik Lundqvist went down to the ice?

I myself have dealt with a few serious eye injuries and while I’m certainly not a doctor, I’d bet that Hank has a scratched cornea.

If I’m right, he’ll most likely be good to go on Saturday, but it is a very painful injury in the moment. It’s hard to keep your eye open, and it tears up a lot.

My point here is this: Why was Hank allowed back onto the ice?

I’m not saying that the first goal was his fault, but allowing him to go back into the game with an eye injury couldn’t have helped the situation.

Anyway…

While the popular take this season has been to shred the defense following losses, I’m going to put a good portion of this game on the forwards.

The Ranger forwards couldn’t find ways to penetrate the slot and when they were able to make it to the net, they couldn’t finish.

Players like Eric Staal and Rick Nash went to the net a couple of times but couldn’t finish, which is now the status quo on broadway.

Different day, same result.

Alain Vigneault took a shot at Rick Nash, J.T. Miller, and Keith Yandle following the game.

He doesn’t call out Miller and Nash by name, but it’s easy to figure out who is referencing. Take a look at this awful effort by the two forwards on the power play.
Both Nash and Miller are at a Friday night public skate while Yandle completely blows the 2 on 1.

Take a man or hit the deck and make a snow angel. Either of these options would have been better than what Yandle decided to do on this play, which was nothing.

And that’s not being dramatic either, he literally does nothing on that play.

That  shorthanded goal was the back breaker too, because the Rangers were starting to build momentum following Derek Stepan‘s goal.

Everything started to snowball following that goal, and the rest is history.

What I will say is this. The Rangers are not out of this series by any stretch of the imagination. As long as Hank returns, the Blueshirts can take Game Two and steal home ice advantage.

If the Rangers can clean up some of the silly mistakes I do think they can claw their way back into the series.

But Game Two is about as close to a must win as you can have this early in the series.

Buckle your seat belts Rangers fans. The stress of the playoffs is back.

NEXT: Keith Yandle: ‘New York, Let’s Go To Work’

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