In October and November, while the NHL season is still young, it's easy to say that a loss can be built on by taking the positives and moving on.
So on the last day of November, where does a 5 - 2 loss fall? It can't necessarily be a learning tool nor is it time to begin looking diligently at the standings.
It's somewhere in-between, but one sentiment is clear: the Rangers need to start getting points.
Sitting outside the playoff picture and at the .500 mark for the first time since the beginning of the season, there is a dismal feeling around the Blueshirts and nobody is sure exactly when it will turn around.
"We need key plays at key times," said Head Coach John Tortorella. And tonight, that's exactly what Pittsburgh got.
New York broke a scoreless tie in the second period on a goal by Marian Gaborik, seemingly the only Ranger capable of doing so. But a mere seconds later, Sidney Crosby broke down ice and tied the game.
Just like that, the Garden went on an emotional roller coaster before anyone had time to blink.
Pittsburgh gained the lead on a goal by former New Jersey Devil Mike Rupp. The Rangers lost the defensive zone draw and a bobbling puck bounced away from Henrik Lundqvist and onto the stick of Rupp who buried his first of three goals.
But the Rangers were able to tie the game in the final minutes of the period on the power play with another goal by Gaborik. Chris Drury, who had a much more involved and energetic game, took a slap shot from the point and Gaborik put home the rebound.
The third period would be critical for the Rangers as a much-needed home victory was within reach. But the effort wore thin and the Penguins outworked the Rangers for the latter half of the period, tallying two goals and an empty netter for the final score of 5 - 2.
Following the game, the players and coach acknowledged that the Rangers played a decent game for 50 minutes. Something positive following poor overall efforts the previous two games, but still well short of their ultimate goal: two points.
So the Rangers will look to a four day break from games, with an off-day tomorrow, and hope to regroup and refocus, which Lundqvist thinks could be a good thing.
"It may be good to take a step back and see what we need to do as a team," he said.
They had better get things together soon, as time is slowly becoming a factor.
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