WHAT WENT WRONG
A. The Law of Averages: The Canucks were winless in nine straight. Coach Willie Desjardins’ job appeared to be on the line. The visitors, who opened the season with four straight wins, were due for a victory. And The Sedin Twins & Co. played this one for Willie.
B. The Inevitable Letdown Against a Weaker Team: Alain Vigneault‘s skaters had been having it their way, scoring almost at will. A victory over the visitors seemed obvious and figured to be one-sided. Overconfidence may have been in line here.
C. Antti Raanta Removed at 2-2: When the Finnish goalie’s head hit the ice, he had to be taken from the ice for concussion testing. Henrik Lundqvist took over, gave up two goals, including the winner, sending the score from a tie to a 4-2 Canucks lead. That was the game’s turning point.
D. Rangers Gyroscope Didn’t Work: The Blueshirts were off-kilter much of the night, unable to get their vaunted offense in gear. Credit the Canucks for slowing New York in the neutral zone — alias “The Trap” — and forcing missed Rangers passes. When their pressure faded fast, Vancouver counter-attacked and cashed in on chances.
E. Logic: No matter how you shake it — or want it — you can’t win ’em all.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
A. Pavel Buchnevich: A Calder candidate. Highly-skilled with the potential to be a dynamic presence, the Russian rookie posted his first career NHL multi-point game, tallying three points (goal, two assists). He extended his goal/point streak to three games.
B. Penalty Kill: Two-for-two ain’t bad. Plus, the Rangers have not allowed a power play goal in each of the last three games and four of the last five matches.
C. The Big Guy In A Groove: Rick Nash scored his seventh goal of the season and 400th of his NHL career. He’s the 92d player in NHL history who has tallied at least 400 career NHL goals.
D. Brady Skjei Is For Real: The rookie defenseman produced an assist and extended his assist/point streak to six games; seven assists over the span. Brady is the first Rangers freshman d-man to tally such a streak since Hall of Famer Brian Leetch.
A. Wake-Up Call: Up until last night, the Rangers were considered the cream of the NHL crop; and for good reason. If anything, the Seventh Avenue Skaters may have taken this win-that-wasn’t for granted.
B. From The Coach Who Had Coached Vancouver: “I know that veteran group,” Vigneault explained. “We told our guys to be ready and to prepare. There are no easy games in this league and our loss is the proof of it.”
C. From a Critic: My man at Rangers games, Pat McCormack put it succinctly: “The Rangers had a chance to put away a struggling team early, but failed with a slow start. One loss such as this isn’t the end of the Blueshirts world. However, if this becomes a trend, there’s need to worry.”
THE MAVEN’S CONCLUSION
In the Rangers case, worry is but a futile gesture. A lesson has been learned and all will be fine!