Well, so much for the three-game winning streak. The Atlanta Thrashers unleashed six goals on the Rangers at MSG Wednesday night to halt the Blueshirts and end a three-game skid of their own.
The four goals for the Rangers are certainly good news, considering top scorer Marian Gaborik remains on the shelf with a separated shoulder. But when the Thrashers are one of the worst defensive teams in the NHL, it kind of tempers any real enthusiasm on that point. Still, the game wasn’t without its positives.
Well, our preview note on Callahan heating up was right on the money. The hard-working winger tapped home the first goal of the game just 38 seconds into the contest for the first of his two points on the night. He later assisted on Todd White’s first goal of the season.
Never Say Die
The Rangers didn’t roll over after the deficit peaked at 5-2. Instead they closed the gap to one and made the Thrashers work hard to close out the game. A Matt Gilroy shot nearly tied the game at 5, but hit the crossbar.
Too Little, Too Late
The Thrashers outworked the Blueshirts badly in the second half of the first period and looked sluggish until beginning their final rally. And according to head coach John Tortorella, Derek Stepan seemed slow and earned just three shifts in the third period. It takes 60 minutes of skating to win in the NHL. Just because it’s a cliché doesn’t mean it’s any less true.
His .800 save percentage on the night wasn’t exactly the sign of a sterling performance. He wasn’t brutal though and the goals by Evander Kane and Bryan Little were highlight-reel worthy. But on the flip side, he didn’t make any game-savers either, as starter Henrik Lundqvist often does and when the Rangers’ goal differential for the season is 0, those sort of saves are often the difference between winning and losing.
Artem Anisimov, who has been enjoying a very strong season went down with a right ankle injury after blocking a shot. According to the gamer, he’ll undergo an MRI Thursday to determine the extent of the injury. The Rangers are deep at center this season, but Anisimov may be the best of the bunch. Losing him would be another big blow with Chris Drury and Gaborik already down.
Some great analysis of what went wrong from Jesse Spector of the Daily News in his blog.
Jay Greenberg of the Post breaks down the defensive shortcomings.
Rick Carpiniello recaps 12 key points from last night, including a post-game update on Anisimov and one of the greatest similes I’ve ever read to describe the Garden’s choppy ice Wednesday night.
Here’s the breakdown from Blueshirt Banter.
And here’s the wrap-up from Ranger Rants, as penned by Andrew Gross.