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Rangers: Looks Can Be Deceiving

11/14/09

Is there a difference between last years’ Blueshirts Team and this year’s version of the Broadway Blues?

The way the team is winning differs from that of last year: Marian Gaborik adds an offensive spark the team desperately needed, Henrik Lundqvist is not being asked to stand on his head, and the additions of Del Zotto and Gilroy to the defensive pack have contributed to a power play ranked sixth in the NHL. Scoring has been on the upswing and the defense is better than last season but the fundamental flaw has been the goalie.

That’s right! Lundqvist who has been a Vezina Trophy finalist three times is allowing the same soft goals that got him into trouble last season when New York, sunk it’s ship out of the top eight seeds in the East, before a late surge propelled the team into the playoffs. Even though he is a butterfly goaltender, Henrik’s stability is based on him staying in the upright position long enough so the forward has to make the move before Lundqvist does.

Another issue arose during the recent road trip; if you do not score the tendency is to get frustrated. I am sure many men feel the same matter about women (or vice versa) as the Rangers felt about Kiprusoff and Luongo. If your attack consists of two goals combined against the Flames and Canucks, regardless of the competency of the opposing goaltenders, you will be stopped at the line the same way a lack of confidence will not give you brownie points or game.

Are the Blueshirts the lackluster and talentless squad (with the exception of Lundqvist) we observed last season? No! Is this another first round and out club? Possibly. It all depends on the injuries from other clubs such as the Penguins and Sergei Gonchar, the Canadiens and Andrei Markov, the Sabres and Thomas Vanek, and the Hurricanes including Cam Ward and Erik Cole.

It seems fitting that the Blueshirts have remained relatively healthy, with the exception of Gaborik; however, the Devils have doused the Rangers spirits by passing them in the Atlantic Division Standings. Pittsburgh’s pace has slowed to a snail’s rate while Philadelphia is about to eclipse New York. Is it conceivable to have both New York clubs in the basement of the Atlantic?

Atlanta beat New York Thursday night as the defensive breakdowns and goaltending issues plagued the Rangers like the spread of the swine flu. The Rangers travel to Ottawa and play today.

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