Repeat after me: The sky is NOT falling, the sky is NOT falling. It is way too early in the season to sound the alarms and begin worrying. This team is obviously better than last year’s squad. The power play looks good, the effort is there and the goals are coming in bunches but unfortunately, so are the mistakes.
In a game in which the Islanders were without two of their biggest offensive weapons and their top defenseman, The Rangers were unable to match the skating of the Isles and were burned by some undisciplined play in the third period, falling 6-4 at the Coliseum in the early afternoon contest. The offense showed up again as Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov had standout performances but the blue line (with the exception of Dan Girardi, who played second straight strong game) looked lost for most of the matchup. Steve Eminger was atrocious for the second straight game and Michael Del Zotto really struggled in his own end throughout. Henrik Lundqvist made some big saves early when the Isles were controlling the pace but wasn’t very sharp as the game went on and has now allowed 7 goals in 2 games.
The Rangers had problems all last year with undisciplined play and in the words of coach Tortorella “with being consistent, night in and night out” and today that inconsistency reared it’s ugly head again. In a game that the Rangers should have won, especially after fighting back and taking the lead midway through the third period, taking two bad penalties and allowing the hard working Isles to grab the momentum and the victory, is exactly the type of thing Blueshirt fans saw all last season and ultimately what would keep them from the postseason. The effort of this team can’t be questioned so far but the discipline and intelligence of this team is still something that needs to be improved upon even after another summer of “teaching” from the coaching staff.
I hate to jump on a guy after only two games but Steve Eminger is looking early on like this season’s Wade Redden, Tom Poti or Marek Malik. I don’t know what Tortorella was watching on Saturday to say that Eminger “played well” and was “aggressive” and if Eminger is in the lineup instead of a deserving Matt Gilroy on Friday night at MSG, Tortorella should be forced to spend a weekend locked in a room with Larry Brooks.
The Rangers will look to put this disappointing loss behind them in front of what should be an electric crowd on Friday night at MSG and they might even welcome the return of their captain as Chris Drury will see a doctor tomorrow and may be cleared to return for the home opener.