NEW YORK – Needing a win the New York Rangers played to their level incompetency again Tuesday evening. This time they lost 2-1 in regulation on two goals by the Bruins in the third period. They are now in a 3-0 hole with little hope of winning even one game.
This team has now become a sad caricature of a professional hockey club. No one of this team can score a goal including players who are paid exorbitant sums of money, were acquired for grinding, talented players with heart, and show all the emotion of a microwave dinner.
The best player on the ice for either team was again Henrik Lundqvist, a man whose best years are being wasted on a team that cares little for sticking up for each other. They drop like flies at the hint of a hard check and never respond. Lundqvist stopped 32 of 34 shots he faced while the Rangers launched a total of, wait for it, 23 shots in a must-win game.
Taylor Pyatt put the Rangers on the board early in the second but there was none of the excitement one would have hoped would be generated. There was always the sense this team would never hold the lead even with Lundqvist in net.
Johnny Boychuk knotted the game at 1 early in the third and at 16:29 Daniel Paille put the puck past a gallant Lundqvist for the eventual game winner.
In the Washington Capitals, the Rangers faced a team that just stopped playing after game five. They lucked out. Had the Caps played even half a game in each of the last two matches the Rangers would already be playing poor golf.
The Boston Bruins have no look about them that suggests letting up in this series or the next.
The Bruins have everything the Rangers do not: heart, pride in their sweater, commitment to each other and dedication to their fan base.
And this from a fan of this franchise since 1963. Nearly 50 years of frustration (barring one Cup and several good seasons) but this is the worst “team” the franchise has ever put on the ice.
Game four in this scrimmage series is set for Thursday. One might expect tee times have been set for Friday and the Rangers’ fans can wait until next year, again.