3 Stars1st Star - Not the Rangers defense
2nd Star - Magnus Hellberg (Assuming he gets the start over Lundqvist in Toronto on Wednesday?)
3rd Star - Still not the Rangers defense
Post Game Cocktail Recommendation
Since the Rangers defense looked like they were skating in mud tonight, I've got to go with a Mudslide.
Gif of the Game
In an effort to take your mind off the fact that Lundqvist has now allowed 16 goals in the last three games, I give you the linesman falling on his face...
Rangers fans are officially ready to go back to the old Lundqvist...
I know five of the seven goals were nearly impossible to save, but Lundqvist still looked lost out there tonight. He was bobbling easy dump ins on net from the red line, he looked exasperated after every tally against and then there was the fifth goal of the game...
Henrik Lundqvist doesn't lose focus. Ever. On that goal, and too often lately, he has. He needs a shot of confidence like no goaltender I've ever seen.
It doesn't happen often, but we've seen in professional sports, athletes at the top of their game lose their mental sharpness and never able to fully recover. We can look no further than the mental gymnastics Marc Andre Fluery has been dealing with the last five years.
Obviously it's way too premature to be thinking about that scenario with Lundqvist, but you can tell his struggles are in his head. I hate to say it, but if he doesn't figure it out by the All Star break, AV almost has no choice but to turn to Raanta.
And that Bronx Cheer by the MSG crowd? Yeah, that doesn't help.
***SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT***
For more of my thoughts on Lundqvist's struggles and how he can no longer carry the Rangers porous defense, click here.
Revenge Best Served....Late?
Listen, I appreciate Kreider avenging his goaltender by going after Eakin. I really do. But it sort of loses it's meaning when it comes three weeks too late. Respond immediately or don't respond at all.
Seriously though, the guys at Lamda Lamda Lamba did a better job getting revenge on the Alpha Betas.
It looked like the Stars came into the game with one thing in mind for the Rangers...
The Blueshirts were physically pounded from one end of the ice to the other, with Rich Nash, yes, seriously, providing the only resistance.
With the Rangers not defending their star goaltender in the previous matchup between these two teams, Dallas probably figured they could walk into MSG and have their way physically with the Blueshirts. And they were right.
The frightening part is that there's no one on the roster who can put a stop to this in-game. I mean, do you really want guys like Kreider and Miller being the de facto enforcers?
And that's where you get into a Catch-22 because you don't want an inferior player like Tanner Glass on the roster, but at the same time there needs to be some kind of physical presence in the line-up for games like tonight.
Where's Buddy the Elf when you need him? Yes, that Buddy the Elf.
I've only been back blogging for a little over a month and I've already crucified the defense too many times to count, so I refuse to waste my time on them again tonight. What I will say is that games like this usually lead to some kind of shake up. Let's hope that comes in the form of a man named Shattenkirk.
It really is impossible to evaluate a contest like tonight's. Sure, you love the resiliency, but how much of that was because Dallas was in cruise control and Niemi is a borderline NHL goalie. I'm more concerned about the first two periods than excited about the final 20 minutes.
Having said that, Nash-Zibanejad-Buchnevich and Zuccarello-Stepan-Kreider got me like..
Add in Miller-Hayes-Grabner and that's as deep a top nine as you'll see in the NHL. Hell, Vesey is stuck on the fourth line right now. Nice problem to have.
Bottom line though, if this defense can't at the very least be sufficient, I don't see how the Rangers even qualify for the playoffs with how strong the Metro Division is.
With how stacked the Blueshirts are at forward, that's a depressing thought.