I suppose that most Ranger fans have gotten over last night's debacle against the San Jose Sharks. I'm not going to give a recap because frankly it is not necessary. A 7-3 whooping of New York by one of the top teams in the league shows us one thing: The Rangers have alot of work to do.
This seven game winning streak was a nice way to get back into the season but it is time for everyone to come back down to reality. The Rangers are good but not great. With so many changes to the lineup and a new system being implemented it is not surprise that this kind of mess occurred. If you have been watching the two games leading up to this one it was pretty obvious that this team was going to lose. Better it be against a non-conference foe like San Jose and not against someone like the New Jersey Devils or Montreal Canadiens, the next two opponents for the Blueshirts.
Starting Steve Valiquette was probably the wrong move for head coach John Tortorella to do. I understand that Henrik Lundqvist needs to get games off so he stays fresh for the playoffs but letting him play against prime competition like the San Jose Sharks will do more good than harm in the long run. This was a bench marking game and the fact Steve Valiquette was a sieve makes it hard for Tortorella and the coaching staff to determine who would have won this game with the King in net. Granted San Jose did outplay the Rangers for long periods of time but many of the goals Valiquette gave up could have been stopped through simple technical fixes such as being out on top of the crease.
But what's done is done. The Rangers are moving on to Thursday night when they will be back at Madison Square Garden to host the New Jersey Devils for the first time this season. The last matchup saw Matt Gilroy score his first NHL goal which was the game winner. No doubt Martin Brodeur will be in net and Henrik Lundqvist will be back in the crease for New York. As always it is a goaltending showdown between two of the top netminders in the entire NHL. You can bet that John Tortorella and his staff will have broken down every minute detail of the loss to San Jose and try to fix what went wrong.
Without the pressure of a big winning streak going it may benefit the Rangers by making them get back to a simpler and more effective style of play. They have looked sloppy the last two games despite getting two wins. Now is the time to regroup and tighten up the structure of the system to get going again.
A tidbit that came in today is that veteran defenseman Mathieu Dandenault has signed a 25 game tryout with the Hartford Wolf Pack. It has been known the Rangers have been looking for a veteran seventh defenseman to carry on the roster and Dandenault would be able to provide that. He attended the training camp of the San Jose Sharks during the offseason but was cut. If he proves himself in the AHL then hopefully he will be able to come up and bring a much needed veteran presence on the Ranger blue line.