If Head Coach John Tortorella was displeased with all of his players against Tampa Bay, he should be livid after last night's 8 - 3 loss to the Atlantic Division rival Pittsburgh Penguins.
Reminiscent of the 7 - 3 loss at MSG against the San Jose Sharks, the Rangers came out to an early lead and lost control. Marc Staal gave the Rangers a 1 - 0 lead midway through the first period, but the Penguins scored three straight to end the period and put the Rangers on their heels.
While it may have appeared that the Rangers were completely out of it, Matt Gilroy got an early period goal to pull the Rangers within one. For a moment, a fan could be fooled to think that New York could come back. That they were starting to exemplify the "resiliency" that Tortorella was looking for.
And for 19 minutes and 59.7 seconds, that was true.
But with .3 seconds remaining in the period, the Rangers simply gave up. Brooks Orpik skated in around four of the Blueshirts without so much as being touched and finding Craig Adams who ripped a shot high and wide. Even then, the Rangers were flat-footed and allowed Mark Eaton to blast a slap shot uncontested from the point and into the high far corner.
4 - 2 Penguins after two periods and all four goals were because of lazy efforts by the Rangers.
And even after Michal Rozsival scored early in the third, the Rangers never showed the effort or resolve to get back into the game. Pittsburgh was allowed to skate freely and left New York scrambling in their own zone for four more goals and the 8 - 3 victory.
How could the team that rattled off seven straight victories early on and was atop the NHL be looking at an 8 - 3 loss and sit outside the playoff picture?
If the last second goal of the second period didn't illustrate the Rangers problems enough, the lax skating of sniper Marian Gaborik, certainly did.
Despite collecting two assists and having an even +/-, Gaborik began looking disinterested and was not skating with the swagger that has made him successful in his first 20+ games as a Ranger.
Could he be feeling a little fed up with having no goal support? Is he getting frustrated with Tortorella? Both are plausible.
It begins to beg the question of whether the entire team has lost touch with their fiery coach. Just ask rookie winger Enver Lisin who skated for 0.00 minutes during the game.
Brian Boyle was already a healthy scratch and as the team struggled to compete with Pittsburgh, you would think a coach would look to any player to change the momentum. Perhaps, Lisin was injured and unable to play.
And the defense was handled just as curiously.
Matt Gilroy skated for only 16:23 and newcomer Bobby Sanguinetti for 10:46. Gilroy had a goal and an even +/- while Sanguinetti was +1. Meanwhile, Mike DelZotto skated for 21:34 and was -5. Girardi played 21:39 and was -2.
The ship isn't completely sinking, but the boat has begun taking on water and it appears that crew is losing faith in the reeling captain.