Nash + Rangers Give “InKreidable” Performance In Return To MSG

Everyone expected all of the talk today to be surrounding the two coaches. Chris Kreider had other ideas.

Samuelsson-VigneaultI’ll admit that I didn’t have high hopes for today’s game. Mix what happened yesterday with the fact that the Rangers were returning home for the first time in two weeks and playing on a back-to-back, it just didn’t seem like a good mix to me. Add the fact that I caught Vigneault and Samuelsson on the bench during warmups with pen and paper taking notes on what the Canucks were doing and you can understand my worries. (Seriously, they couldn’t find video of their lines? If not, just check twitter. It’s not like the entire world wasn’t made aware of it at the same moment. No one would’ve known if you looked it up then.)

But the Rangers were ready to play from the start of this game. The Canucks were their usual selves with a possible missed spear in the first few minutes. (It looked from my seat that McDonagh was speared on his first shift. I don’t have access to a replay of the game yet to confirm that so I apologize if I’m way off base on this.) Of course nothing was called on that and the Rangers got a light penalty a few minutes later so I really expected it to be a long afternoon.

The boys killed that penalty and the Chris Kreider show began. With less than eight minutes to go in the period, he got his first of the afternoon after a beautiful feed from Nash who was knocked down by everyone’s favorite fantasy camp player after passing the puck. Fortunately Nash was okay. Unfortunately we would see more of Sestito later.

Four minutes later, the Canucks took their first penalty of the afternoon. Even with Mike Sullivan on the opposite bench, I wanted the boys to decline it. And that was without knowing the Canucks had the best penalty kill in the league. It took the Ranger 22 seconds to put the puck in the net. Yes they put it in the right net. I couldn’t believe it either. Seriously, the Rangers power play is either incredible or horrible. There is no in-between. The goal scorer once again was Kreider who tipped in a shot from McDonagh.

That would be all for the first period. Just 17 seconds into the second period, Luongo would head to the bench as Nash gave the Rangers a 3-0 lead. I saw Kreider on the ice and thought he managed the natural hat trick. He didn’t as it was Stepan and Girardi feeding Nash for the goal.

Nine minutes later, the Rangers were given their second power play of the afternoon. It took a little longer this time but the home team did make it 4-0 before the power play ended. Maybe the key is playing against the best penalty kill in the league? I’ve heard stranger things when it comes to this team. The best part of the goal was the goal scorer – Micheal Del Zotto. Does this change my opinion on how he’s been playing? No. But he needed that goal. Badly. And maybe, just maybe, it will change the way he’s been playing.

Of course the Rangers don’t want anything to be too easy so they let the Canucks get one a couple of minutes later. I will say I still felt confident going into the third with a 4-1 lead.

Early in the third period, Sestito returned as he and Kassian sandwiched Del Zotto while the defenseman was looking up to try and catch the puck. I may be wrong in this but I don’t blame Kassian. He was behind Del Zotto and was looking to do the same thing. I’m not sure if he saw his teammate coming though. I know for a fact Del Zotto never saw him and crumbled to the ice very quickly. Fortunately he was okay as Justin Falk went after…well I’m not sure if he went after Kassian or just went after whatever Canuck he could find. I did see Sestito behind the linesman waiving at the Rangers players as if to say “I’m the one you want to come after”. How he didn’t get a penalty for that still bothers me. Actually I’m more bothered by the fact there is a team who still employs him.

hat trickThe only penalty called was a 2-minute minor on Kassian. I will need to see a replay to figure out how they came up with just that. It gave the Rangers their third power play of the afternoon but Kreider knew the team wasn’t going 3-for-3 so negated it 40 seconds later.

Four minutes after he got out of the box, his line ended up in the offensive zone and it was clear what they were trying to do – get him the hat trick. The forwards couldn’t succeed but the puck came to Stralman on the point who put a shot right off of Kreider’s stick and into the net for the rookies’ first career hat trick.

Three minutes later, Sestito stepped back on the ice and Dorsett went over to introduce himself. I would’ve liked to seen more punches from Dorsett but honestly didn’t care at that point. Anyone who even attempts to punch Sestito is okay in my book. It should’ve happened earlier in the period (or earlier in the game, after his hit on Nash in the first period) but at least it happened at some point.

With less than three minutes to go, Kreider took his second penalty of the period after the Rangers started to get lazy in the neutral and defensive zone. Of course the Canucks scored on it so they could say they had a power play goal too. Fortunately there was only two and a half minutes remaining at that point so a 3-goal comeback wasn’t in the cards and Talbot had his first win on home ice after once again allowing two or fewer goals. (In his seven starts, he has not allowed more than two goals in a game.)

Right before the final buzzer sounded, Kevin Bieska decided he was going to take his frustration out on a Ranger. I have no idea why he picked Brian Boyle but he did. And he proved why he has the reputation he does in the league. I was a little annoyed at Boyle for responding to him but I saw afterwards he didn’t really have a choice. I am curious if there is a rule that says a player receives some type of discipline for taking a players helmet and attempting to kick a field goal with it. I kind of wish he had hit one of his teammates when he did it.

As the teams were separated, the Canucks hung their heads and went off the ice while the Rangers raised their sticks in front of a packed MSG crowd. It was a needed win and a win they actually deserved. Hopefully this energy wasn’t just for Torts and the boys keep this up against lesser opponents like Winnipeg and Buffalo next week.

On a separate note, I know some fans chanted against Torts today. I was glad the chants didn’t start till it was 5-1. Of course I’m sure that was because Kreider had a hat trick and those chanting thought Torts hated Kreider. (He wasn’t ready and Torts knew that. Injuries forced him to keep calling him up though.) I, on the other hand, never hated him as a coach. I understand that a change was needed and while I don’t like the current coach am not asking for the old one to return. But I thanked him after he was fired and I wanted to again. He made the players we love what they are whether people want to believe that or not. And for that I thank him again.

 

(Photos: Melissa Andus)

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Bruins Outplay Rangers To End Three Year Streak

The Rangers knew they played poorly in Florida. Unfortunately they made yesterday an optional practice so there was no time to fix those mistakes. And it showed as the Rangers played three out of sixty minutes against Boston this afternoon. As everyone said after the Florida game, they wouldn’t get away with a win when doing it against a team better than the Panthers. The Bruins aren’t just better than the Panthers, they’re light years better.

The lineup remained the same with Dorsett still unable to go and Del Zotto once again being a healthy scratch. Today Vigneault once again said it had to do with bite the Rangers needed in their lineup but added a little more:

Sorry Vigneault. A little too late with the “Michael hasn’t played badly” part. He has no trade value now so you’re stuck with him. At some point you might realize he’s a better option than Justin Falk.

That said I do wonder if Falk was playing because Dorsett can’t. Other than Dorsett, there really is no one else in the lineup who can drop the gloves if necessary. But if that’s the case then say so. Or at least tell Del Zotto. Supposedly Vigneault hasn’t even spoken to him about why he hasn’t been playing. (Side note: Cause that will help him get better, not telling him what he’s doing wrong.)

The first period had a little bit of everything. The first ten minutes was typical Rangers-Bruins with lots of hitting, a few penalties (Rangers ending a power play before it got set up along with some coincidental minors) and the Bruins dominating. It culminated a little before the twelve minute mark with sloppy defensive coverage by the Rangers and the Bruins getting the first of the afternoon. Not sure who of the skaters to blame on the goal but definitely not blaming Lundqvist on that one.

I thought it was going to get ugly after the Bruins got one. Instead, 2:44 later the Rangers had a 2-1 lead. First it was Nash just 1:22 after the Bruins goal with a great individual effort to beat Bergeron from behind the net and throw one at Rask that managed to actually go in on the far post instead of wide of it. Then exactly 1:22 later, McDonagh rifled one from the slot that Rask never saw through a Pouliot screen to give the Rangers the lead. The goal was originally given to Pouliot but he had no idea the puck was even coming nonetheless figured out how to tip it.

Other than a few more penalties for both teams (the Rangers once again ending a power kill opportunity by going to the box themselves) that was all for a period that seemed much longer than twenty minutes due to all the action.

The second period seemed longer as well but not for the same reason. This time both teams seemed to loaf through a period that didn’t want to end. The highlight? A fight between Chara and Boyle. Although not sure you can call it a fight when Chara just kind of threw Boyle around for a couple of seconds until they both landed on the ice. The Bruins woke up in the last few minutes as they tried to get the equalizer but the Rangers somehow got out of the period unscathed. Since I’m actually proud of the streak the Rangers had, I wanted the Bruins to score before the buzzer.

Because they weren’t so lucky in the third although anyone watching the game had to see that coming. The Bruins got their first just a minute and a half in. A little less than ten minutes later they got the game winner as the Rangers getting a point when leading after two during the regular season streak ended at 101 games. It was the Bruins who killed the streak overall after one of their wins in the playoffs last season.

Honestly you hear the cliches all the time – when a team wins when they aren’t supposed to it usually means bad play is masked and not fixed. The Rangers haven’t been playing well this entire road trip but they’ve managed a couple of wins so everything looked fine. It wasn’t and now maybe they will deal with it. Although with little practice time over the next few days, I’m worried how the next two games are going to go if they keep playing like they did today.

 

(Photo: Melissa Andus)

Wolf Pack Back On Track With Win Over Portland

Apparently the answer to the Wolf Pack’s goal scoring problems was J.T. Miller.

Maybe I’m exaggerating a little with that as Miller only had a goal and assist in his first game back with Hartford, but the team did score goals and he was named number one star for the great game he played in the Wolf Pack’s huge win over Portland last night. Actually looking at the stat sheet, the goal scoring issues appeared to be solved by Stu Bickel who had three assists in the game. Could he sense an opportunity to get back to New York with the Rangers current issues on their third D-pair along with Vigneault’s comments the team isn’t tough enough every night? (I’m kidding…kind of.)

Things probably didn’t look good going into the game but then again as we saw with the Rangers and Tampa earlier in the week, sometimes a tide is due to turn. The Pirates (baby Coyotes) came in on a seven game unbeaten in regulation streak. The Wolf Pack…well we know how the Pack had been doing (losers of 5 out of 6, shutout in 4 of those 5 losses).

The Wolf Pack had a chance just two minutes into the game when Darroll Powe was given a penalty shot. Unfortunately he shot it right into the goalies pads so the score remained at zero. Six minutes later, the Bickel show began as he dished the puck to Miller for his first point of the night. Seven minutes later, Danny Kristo doubled the lead with his team-leading tenth of the season. (I know a lot of people want to see Kristo in New York. While he is scoring, I’m not sure how his defensive game is so I don’t expect to see him just yet. I wouldn’t be surprised however if he plays his first NHL game at some point this season, depending on injuries.)

Two and a half minutes into the second, Brandon Mashinter got his first of the year on a rebound of a Aaron Johnson shot. The rest of the second period was filled with penalties including two fights and five minors. At one point the Wolf Pack had a full two-minute 5-on-3. It looked like a Rangers power kill getting only one shot on net.

The third period started similar to the first as a penalty shot was awarded just one minute in. This time it went to the Pirates but fortunately the outcome was the same. Four minutes later, the Pirates finally got on the board with Powe in the penalty box on what was apparently a horrible call, breaking Malcolm’s shutout.

But the Wolf Pack didn’t break as Ryan Bourque scored a beauty just three and a half minutes later to restore the three goal lead. Things looked like they were going to get ugly as the final buzzer sounded but the referees were able to break things up and the Wolf Pack skated off with a much needed win. The win was rookie Jeff Malcolm’s first career AHL win. (Malcolm returned to Hartford earlier in the week after Stacjer was sent down to Greenville.)

Here are the highlights:

The stat sheet can be found here and here is the game recap.

The boys are back at it on Friday when they head to rival Bridgeport for a game against the Sound Tigers (baby Islanders). Let’s hope this is the start of something good. The one win they’ve had over the past few weeks was also a 4-1 victory so getting four goals in one night doesn’t mean anything if they can’t do it again the next game.

On a side note, for those on twitter who want updates on the Wolf Pack, Mitch Beck at @HowlingsToday and Bob Crawford at @HawkCrawford are two great follows. They always have the latest news and constantly answer questions from fans about how the players are doing. Take a look in particular at Mitch’s timeline for last night’s game as he gave a lot of insight into who may be ready to come up. (Hint: He doesn’t think anyone who fans have asked to be called up is ready.)

 

(Photo: Melissa Andus)

Rangers Have “Bad” Game In Sunrise But Still Manage Win Against Panthers

I said after last game that I was hoping for a split in Florida. It wasn’t pretty and the winning team probably didn’t deserve it but the Rangers pulled out a win against the Panthers to guarantee this will be a successful road trip with one game remaining.

Yesterday Vigneault mentioned there may be lineup changes. Up front, Pyatt drew in for Dorsett but not because Dorsett played poorly. Apparently he got hurt on Monday night as he was out tonight with an injured wrist. He did take warmups so my assumption is it isn’t a serious injury.

There was also a change on the back end. You guessed it – Micheal Del Zotto was a healthy scratch again. I don’t get it. Vigneault came up with some BS that it had to do with the opponent and the apparent “bite” Falk brings but I don’t buy it. I don’t know why he doesn’t want Del Zotto but he clearly doesn’t. The only problem is the more you scratch him, the more you lower his value. After the game Del Zotto spoke to the media and said he was surprised by the scratch but he was going to keep working hard and see what happens. I feel bad for the kid but at this point, this isn’t helping him. Just trade him so he can get on with his career. (And yes I still think the Rangers will regret doing it but they’ve cornered themselves to the point they have no choice but to do so.)

The first period was the best twenty minutes of the night for the road team. That’s not to say it was a great twenty minutes but the boys looked a lot better than they did during the first twenty minutes in Tampa. Halfway through the period Pyatt drew a penalty. I’ll be honest – I yelled him and said that wasn’t going to keep him in the lineup. I guess I should’ve kept my mouth shut as it took less than thirty seconds for the Rangers to score a beautifully executed goal to take a 1-0 lead. Brassard scored the goal and said during intermission it was just as it was drawn up. Usually players are joking when they make a comment like that. This time he may have meant it.

While the Rangers did have the puck in Florida’s zone a good portion of the period, that was their only goal. Then again, they somehow only had six shots so it’s not too surprising. I have no idea what happened in intermission but two different teams stepped on the ice for the second period. The Panthers were determined to get back in the game and the Rangers…well I’m not sure what the Rangers were doing.

I could sit and recap the second period but it would basically turn this into a pro-Panthers recap. The home team dominated in almost every aspect with the Panthers not even allowing the Rangers to get a shot until eight minutes into the period. But as we’ve seen before, domination doesn’t mean anything if you can’t score and the Panthers couldn’t get one past Lundqvist. Richards, on the other hand, managed to get a soft one past Thomas with a little over a minute to go in the period that no one expected to go in. Honestly, the look on Richards face was one that basically said “how did that go in?” The answer is it doesn’t matter, all that matters is it did and the Rangers took an undeserved 2-0 lead into the third.

The third period had potential to be a decent one with Nash scoring on a Panthers giveaway just five and a half minutes in to extend the lead to 3-0. That woke the Panthers up as they started to push even more than they had the previous period. Seven minutes later, Zuccarello turned the puck over in the defensive zone and three seconds later it was in the back of the net. Less than four minutes later, it was a one goal game as it was Lundqvist’s turn to let in a soft one. (I’m not even sure how the puck slipped through his pads but it did.)

That made for what I expected to be four nail-biting minutes. But a minute later the Panthers took a penalty. I wasn’t sure what to think about that because if anything, it would kill two minutes off the clock. Instead Zuccarello made up for his giveaway by scoring the Rangers second power play goal of the night. This one wasn’t as pretty as the first but a goal is a goal and the Rangers had a two goal lead again with just over a minute to play. (Honestly, they scored those two goals because I said it was pointless for them to work on the power play yesterday. Point taken. Work on it all you want boys.)

The Panthers pulled Thomas in hopes of getting two quick ones but instead Hagelin scored into the empty net and the Rangers walked away with the 5-2 victory. Fortunately none of the players who spoke after the game called it a good a game. They won because they were playing the Panthers. If they have this type of game in Boston on Friday, the outcome won’t be the same.

Speaking of Boston, Vigneault said after the game Lundqvist would be playing that game. Interesting being the fact he said yesterday it would be Talbot. Could he possibly be allowing Lundqvist to play both games? He should but I’m not going to try and guess what he is thinking. I do know Lundqvist plays better when he plays more often. (It’s a lose-lose situation with him as the team wants to rest him but he tends to have bad games if he gets too much rest.) The Bruins got their butts kicked by Detroit tonight so they are going to come out hungry on Friday. Hopefully the Rangers do the same.

And with that I wish everyone reading this in America a Happy Thanksgiving! Go enjoy some turkey tomorrow. And for those celebrating, a Happy Hanukkah as well!

 

(Photo: Melissa Andus)

J.T. Miller To Hartford + Other (Possible) Rangers Moves And Musings

This post is going to be a little all over the place because I have a few things on my mind I want to mention. The fun part is I get to tackle news, waivers, trades and more in doing so.

First let’s get the news out of the way.

It’s about damn time. Honestly if Taylor Pyatt was healthy this would’ve been done a week ago. I don’t understand why they chose to leave Miller in the press box rather than someone like Mashinter but two months in and I’ve already given up trying to understand Vigneault. Either way, I’m absolutely okay with this move because the kid needs to play and not just 5-8 minutes on the fourth line. He will get minutes in Hartford and he’ll be back soon enough.

For those saying he’s a better option than Pouliot or Pyatt, I agree. But both of those guys are playing fourth line minutes (when in the lineup). Yes, I know Pouliot is technically on the third line but look at his minutes. He’s getting fourth line minutes. That won’t help Miller.

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Now onto speculation.

The word of the day (week, month) has been that Del Zotto might be traded. I’ve avoided talking about this because I’m against it. But not for the reasons you probably assume.

Is Michael playing well right now? Absolutely not.

Do the Rangers need more from him? Absolutely.

Does he need a change of scenery at this point? Probably.

I get all of that. But here’s the thing – if you trade him, who is the second half of the third defense pair? If you say Falk, I don’t even know what to tell you. Most respond with McIlrath or Allen. Here’s my issue with that – are either of them ready? Yes you don’t know until you give them a chance but you need a backup plan if it doesn’t work out. Bring one of them up and see what they can do. If it works, then trade Del Zotto. If it doesn’t, you are going to be caught with two goaltenders playing in Philadelphia with a combined number of NHL minutes at zero. (Yes that worked out but no team gets that lucky twice in the same season.)

And then, what happens if one of the top four get hurt? Now you need two defensemen. Is the team ready to take a chance with two rookies and pray they work out? I know I’m not. Look around the league. The teams dealing with injuries without depth are suffering. The Rangers were one of them last year up front hence the Gaborik trade. You can’t just hope the twenty guys currently on your roster will be able to play all 82 games. It doesn’t work that way.

When the Rangers have a legitimate answer to who will play in his place then yes, Del Zotto will be on another team. I feel bad for him because I think he loves New York as much as Dubinsky did. But it’s just not working out. I just hope the Rangers wait till they have an actual replacement (or somehow manage to get one in the trade) before moving him.

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Speaking of defensemen, the Coyotes place Rusty Klesla on waivers today. He currently is making $2.975 on the last year of his deal before he is a UFA. He’s having a bad year in Phoenix but I know he’s helped them in the past. That said, he’s 31, injury prone and another left D so not sure he will be a fit. But last time I was intrigued by a defenseman on waivers was when Washington placed Roman Hamrlik on there so I’m throwing it out there. They did free up space by sending Miller down before knowing for sure Pyatt is ready.

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Lastly, some notes about practice today.

Pyatt did practice and take contact but was still on a defense pair with Justin Falk so I assume that means he’s out tomorrow. That said, Vigneault said after practice the only thing he can confirm for tomorrow’s game is Lundqvist will be in net so changes with skaters may be coming. (I assume there’s other things he can confirm, like McDonagh and Nash will still be in the lineup, but you know what I mean.) If I were making changes, it would be Pyatt for Pouliot. Otherwise, leave the lineup alone. I know you can’t wait too long but I find it hard to believe this team isn’t closer to the one we saw Saturday than the one we saw last night.

Speaking of goalies, Vigneault said at the moment he was planning on splitting the back-to-back on Friday and Saturday but that might change. I thought he might want to do that but it brings up an interesting dilemma – who plays which game? You have conference rival Boston on the road or a western conference team who happens to be Vigneault’s ex-team at home? Personally, I would think you have to play Lundqvist for both. I don’t care how well Talbot is playing. One, he’s due for a loss and two you don’t play your backup in either of those games if they weren’t back-to-back. Should be interesting to see what happens.

The boys also practiced the power play. The wonderful power play that went 0-for-6 last night which included a full minute of 5-on-3 play. Honestly, they can practice it all they want. Some nights it will randomly work and others it’s just not going to. It is what it is.

What was interesting is he changed up the units. Derek Stepan was taken off the first unit and replaced with Dan Girardi. I’m intrigued. Let me start by saying I’m not sure Girardi belongs on any power play unit nonetheless the first one. But he does have a good shot from the point…when he gets it on net. And he’s an actual defenseman back there. While Stepan has been good covering guys when they pinch, he’s not an actual defenseman and his skating is not his strong point. We’ve seen on numerous occasions what happens when he bobbles the puck back there. It’s not pretty.

Do I think this change will work? I’m not sure. At this point, can it really make the power play worse? If you answer yes to that you didn’t watch last night’s game.

 

(Photo: Melissa Andus)

Road Winning Streak Ends As Bishop Shuts Out Rangers

Warning for everyone reading this – I wasn’t in a good mood before the game began. Needless to say the game didn’t change that.

The writing was on the wall for this game. The Rangers came in on a six game road winning streak (first time since the 1993-94 season) plus swept the season series (three games) last season. The Lightning, on the other hand, came in on four game losing streak. All streaks were due to end. And they did…in spectacular fashion. Mix that with the fact that the Lightning were honoring Martin St. Louis for 1,000 games and it wasn’t destined to be a good night for the Blueshirts.

Before I knew all that, I didn’t have a good feeling coming into this game. It took less than three and a half minutes to prove I was right since at that point the Rangers were already down 2-0. I could blame any of the ten Rangers on the ice for the two goals but truth of the matter is Lundqvist should’ve had both of them and he didn’t. I would say he found his game as the period went on but somehow the puck ended up in Tampa’s zone for the bulk of the next sixteen minutes.

You will probably read the Rangers dominated play most of the period. The stat sheet makes it look that way as they apparently had 17 shots on net. Sure they had some actual chances but not all of them were real opportunities. I mean I don’t know if I call Dominic Moore standing in front of Bishop and throwing the puck into him an actual scoring chance.

A little over three minutes into the second, the Lightning extended their lead to 3-0 after Girardi and McDonagh lost St. Louis and Lundqvist…well I’ve already said Lundvist didn’t have a good night. That said, I know St. Louis is small but amazing those two could just miss him coming through center ice.

At around the six minute mark, the Lightning took a penalty. Halfway through the kill, they took another giving the Rangers a little over a minute of 5-on-3 time. The best scoring chance during that minute? Nate Thompson. Surprisingly Lundqvist made the save. Honestly, it was the best chance over the three minutes of power kill time the Rangers had.

The Rangers then tried to get something going with their other special team as they took back to back penalties (the second 33 seconds after the first ended). Somehow the Rangers kept the puck out of their own net during that time. Then with a little over three minutes to go, Richards was taken down leading to the Lightning going on an odd man rush and extending their lead to 4-0. Richards was irate their was no call and he may have had a case. That said, that was another shot Lundqvist should’ve had and didn’t.

I would’ve pulled him at that point but Vigneault decided to leave him in for the remainder of the period. It’s not that he wasn’t making any saves as the 4 goals came on 22 shots. It’s the fact that none of those goals should’ve found the back of the net. If the Lundqvist we saw against Dallas was in net, they wouldn’t have. Logic prevailed during intermission and Talbot was in net to start the third.

Of course he couldn’t continue his shutout streak cause whichever five idiots were on the ice with less than two minutes to go decided to play with the puck in the neutral zone and allowed the Lighting to come in on another odd man rush. Honestly not sure if I’m more pissed at the fact the Rangers let up another goal or that Tampa was trying to score with a minute and a half to go in a 4-0 game.

Either way, the Rangers only have themselves to blame for this loss. Sloppy defensive play mixed with a 0-for-6 power play doesn’t equal success no matter how many shots you put on net.

And with that the Rangers move south to face the Panthers. I was expecting a split of these games so they still have a chance to make that happen. They just need a smarter effort than they gave tonight.

 

(Photo: Lisa Gansky/flickr)

Wolf Pack Slump Continues As Team Blanked In Springfield

It’s been a little bit since I’ve updated on the Wolf Pack. Unfortunately we haven’t missed much as they have lost 5 of their last 6 games and were shutout in 4 of the last 5. Of course that fifth game was their only win in the last two weeks when they beat Bridgeport last Saturday 4-1. We won’t discuss the other scores but you can find them all here.

As for last night, it is included in the stats above as the team was shutout in Springfield. There are shutouts where a team runs into a hot goalie and just has to accept the loss. Then their are shutotus where a team deserves to be shutout. I didn’t listen to the game but when you muster only 15 shots in 60 minutes of play (5 each period), I’m pretty sure you fall into the latter category.

The teams’ frustration apparently boiled over with six minutes remaining last night as the boys partook in their second line brawl of the season. This one, unlike the one in Providence, didn’t include goalies. You can see the penalty filled stat sheet here.

There really isn’t much else to say about the game. If you want to read it about it, the team put in probably more effort than the boys did in this recap. For those really looking to torture themselves (it’s not pretty), here’s video from the Falcons:

I know the Rangers stole their goalie but otherwise, this team isn’t that different from the one that started the season five and one. Something is going on in that room and I have a feeling it will hit a boiling point soon enough (read: trade). Until then, we just have to hope the boys can manage to turn things around as they’ve gone from leading the AHL to barely hanging onto a playoff spot in just a months’ time.

They have three chances this week to start scoring goals again. First is a home game Wednesday night against Portland. Then it’s at Bridgeport on Friday and home again Saturday for a match up with the Monarchs. Let’s make it a good holiday week boys. At this point, though, they may just be thankful for some goals.

 

(Photo: Dinur Blum/flickr)