So much for a turnaround.
Following a four-game winning streak, the Rangers fell twice at MSG, first against the Islanders in OT and last night 6 - 0 against the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Rangers needed a good effort last night to show the fans and themselves that they were lifted from the early December doldrums and could sustain a better work ethic.
Instead, it was one step forward and six steps back.
Former Ranger Blair Betts opened the scoring (and coincidentally the eventual game-winner) for Philadelphia just 54 seconds into the game in his typical fashion, a hardworking play in front of the net where no Ranger bothered to do much more than smack a stick. No body contact, no tying up of the stick, no paying the price.
That theme would continue throughout the night.
Then midway through the period, following a defensive zone turnover by Marc Staal, Danny Briere would connect off some nifty passing with Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. Briere was left alone as the Rangers lost their coverage and he deked goaltender Henrik Lundqvist low to the stick side.
A couple minutes later, Claude Giroux would take advantage of another defensive zone turnover to put the Flyers ahead 3 - 0.
Following the first period, Head Coach John Tortorella pulled Lundqvist to give rookie Chad Johnson his first NHL appearance, but the Rangers continued to let their goalies hangout to dry as Brandon Dubinsky overhandled the puck at his own blueline and allowed Simon Gagne to score the first of his three goals only 23 seconds into the period.
Gagne would net his second goal on a 5-on-3 power play off a pass from behind the net by Briere. With Staal and Wade Redden in the box, Carter got the puck deep to Briere who found Gagne in the slot uncontested.
In the third period, Gagne would complete the natural hat trick off a tic-tac-toe passing play with Giroux and Mike Richards. Giroux found Gagne streaking alone down the wing without any coverage and passed directly through all the flat-footed Rangers.
Gagne ended up with four points.
With another listless effort in the books, the Rangers are left scratching their heads about how to rally and find some battle level the remainder of the season.
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