Boston 1, Rangers 0. Sound familiar?
Two games in Boston this regular season and identical results. Which can be considered good or bad if these teams meet in the playoffs, which, if the Rangers do get in, seems like the likely matchup. All four games against the Bruins this season were one-goal affairs, with the teams splitting the games. Despite what Butch Goring said on the post-game show, I think the Rangers can play with this team. If the Rangers do meet the Bruins in the first round, I'd expect a seven-game series.
The difference today in the most simplistic terms was Tim Thomas outplayed Henrik Lundqvist, even though the only goal was a knuckler that dipped at the last second on Lundqvist. Doesn't matter. When Thomas is not giving up anything, and using his mask, a la Lundqvist, to do it, you can't afford to give up that one goal.
However, just as the Rangers get Michal Rozsival back from a left knee injury, it appears they've lost Nik Antropov to one. The Rangers will probably have more on his injury either tomorrow or Monday.
As for Sean Avery, it's impossible to condone what he does at times. That was pure Slap Shot. I know he's trying to get his team back in the game and get under Thomas' skin but that was one play I really didn't like. That said, if the referees are calling it after the fact off the big board, that's a problem.
As for the power play, I think it's obvious now that coaching wasn't - and hasn't - been the problem. It's about having a take-charge leader on the PP. I'm not asking for Brian Leetch but the Rangers aren't going to score many goals with a crew that seems, to a man, either unable or just disinterested in being the on-ice leader.
Finally, I listened to the first two periods on radio as I drove to LaGuardia to retrieve my car. Don't get a chance to do that often. I think Kenny Albert and Dave Maloney provide one of the smartest radio hockey broadcasts I've heard. And I'm not just saying that because both are my friends. They analyze the game not only well, but with a pace that allows both you and them to keep up with the play.
Three to go, hosting the Canadiens Tuesday, the Flyers Thursday and at Philadelphia Sunday. I think the Rangers need a minimum of five points.