Following Wednesday's loss to the Islanders, the Rangers knew they needed to work harder, particularly going into Minnesota where the Wild are slowly finding their game.
What the Rangers didn't expect was a brash of injuries that saw three of their top-forwards on the sidelines.
Marian Gaborik was unable to face his former team, still suffering from a lower body injury. Sean Avery and Chris Higgins joined him, both with undisclosed lower body injuries.
Forward Dane Byers was recalled from Hartford while P.A. Parenteau would play in his second game this season. Byers joined Parenteau as scoring his first NHL goal since being called up.
So with a depleted lineup, the Rangers needed to focus on work ethic and neutral zone play.
And while their effort wasn't quite as listless as on Long Island, it was still not up to snuff and the Rangers fell 3 - 2 without ever establishing much offensive zone pressure.
There was some better play along the boards, particularly by Enver Lisin and Brian Boyle who created much of the opportunities.
Chris Drury and Ryan Callahan also looked better, finding some confidence with the puck and taking some chances offensively. But the neutral zone play continued to be stagnant and the defense still looked disjointed.
Turnovers by the defense and poor positioning let the Wild have their way in the Rangers zone, particularly throughout the first two periods.
The defensive play begs the question, should the Rangers consider shaking up the pairings? If Tortorella recognizes that forward lines become stale, there's no reason to think the defense couldn't benefit from some fresh looks.
Check out BlueshirtBulletinPlus.com for a full game recap, including a look at how the Rangers failed to capitalize on their mistakes against the Islanders.