NEW YORK – Frustrations are starting to boil over for the New York Rangers as the losses continue to mount.
After starting the year 29-19-3 over their first 51 games, New York has fallen into a 2-7-1 slump over their last ten. This afternoon, the Rangers (31-26-4) scored the first goal for the first time in eight games before allowing Philadelphia (39-15-5) to score the next three en route to a 4-2 win on NBC’s “Hockey Day in America.”
“I am upset because the way we played tonight, I think is the way we need to play,” said a visibly upset Brandon Dubinsky. “But it hasn’t been consistent. If we had been consistent, today would have been a small bump in the road with a lot of wins behind us. But that hasn’t been the case because we haven’t been consistent with the way the effort’s been and the way we’ve been playing.”
“Unfortunately, it’s the same story, different day,” said goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (20 saves on 23 shots). “We come close, we created enough chances to win or at least tie the game. They’re a good team, and we came close. It doesn’t matter. We need two points and we’re just not getting them right now.”
For the Rangers, today’s frustration is even more evident because they played a solid game. They allowed very few chances against, statistically, the third-best offense in the NHL.
Philadelphia’s first goal came when Jeff Carter deflected Claude Giroux’s shot past Lundqvist, and their second was a nifty shot by Giroux off a great backhand feed from behind the net by Carter.
“It’s frustrating. We need wins, and it seems like we’re always so close to being able to tie it up or go ahead, and we’re just not able to do it right now,” said defenseman Marc Staal. “We need to figure out a way to do that and start stringing some wins together.”
“Honestly, I don’t care if [we lose by] one or ten – it’s a loss,” Dubinsky said. “We have to find a way to get the results. We have to find a way to bury a goal – a big goal – and we have to continue to find a way to outwork our opponents. I thought we outworked them today, I don’t think we outworked New Jersey the other night. Like I said before, if we play the way we played today I think we’re going to win a lot of hockey games. It has to be something that is consistently there every night.”
“I’m frustrated for them, because I think they worked their ass off,” said coach John Tortorella. “We work so hard to score a goal, they throw a backhander that goes in, another one… it’s frustrating. The belief in the team gets stronger for me. It is about results, it is about winning, but we just haven’t been able to do that consistently, especially the second half of the year.”
It’s also frustrating for the Rangers because there is very little that needs changing. Aside from a dud against the Devils on Friday and a sloppy effort against Atlanta last week, they’ve done everything except win.
“You want to be winning. It’s never fun losing,” said rookie defenseman Michael Sauer. “We’re right there, we’re playing pretty well, doing a lot of things. We just have to clean it up and good things will start happening for us, I believe.”
All eight losses during this stretch have either been one-goal losses, or two goal losses with an empty-net goal.
“We have to win games now,” forward Ryan Callahan said. “Doesn’t matter how you play or what happens in the game, we need two points. There’s a lot of good teams nipping at our heels now. It doesn’t matter if we play great and don’t get two points. We need two points so we can get into the playoffs and have a good position.”
“It’s a loss. When I put my hat on in terms of development, I continue to try to evaluate players through it all, winning and losing,” Tortorella noted. “When you start a year and you’re teaching your team concept, this coaching staff spends a lot of time on how we’re playing in developing our identity. We’ve developed how we’re going to play. I think our players understand it, I think our players have bought into it, and I think they know they can be successful with it.”
Gaborik Suffers Concussion
Marian Gaborik left the game after the first period when he told Tortorella he wasn’t feeling well. Jim Ramsey diagnosed Gaborik with a concussion.
“He’s concussed. It didn’t happen this game, I’m not sure when it happened,” Tortorella said about Gaborik’s injury. “Well, maybe I shouldn’t say that. Maybe it did. I don’t know. I know he’s been off and on, but I don’t know when it happened.”
Tortorella said he didn’t have a lot of information on his star winger. Gaborik did not talk to the press after the game.