That’s the prevailing theme in the Rangers’ locker room after another pointless game.
As the Blueshirts continue to sink in the Eastern Conference standings — they’re in last place in the Metropolitan Division — the frustration level of the players continues to mount.
After their 2-1 loss to the Stars, Mats Zuccarello made it a point to say, “it’s frustrating right now. Losing hockey games is tough on you. But it is what it is. At the end of the day, it’s a loss.”
Zuccarello’s sentiment was echoed by Brady Skjei and Henrik Lundqvist.
When pressed about what went wrong for the Rangers, Skjei said: “penalties got us in trouble. We just didn’t generate enough chances going to their net. At this point, we have to get back to the way we want to play.”
Lundqvist added on: “the first 10 to 15 minutes they took it to us. But after that we managed to get going a bit. We even managed to escape the first period with the lead. However, special teams was the difference. We’re taking too many penalties and letting our opponents get their best players on the ice while ours stay on the bench. And right now, we’re setting up screens rather than blocks.”
Pay special attention to Lundqvist’s last comment. “Right now, we’re setting up screens rather then blocks.”
On the Stars’ first goal of the game, Tyler Seguin blasted the puck off the goalpost and into the Rangers’ net; tying the game at one 14:44 into the second period.
After the game, Lundqvist admitted he never saw Seguin’s shot as he was screened by his own defense.
Meanwhile, the Blueshirts were fortunate to be tied after Seguin’s goal, as they were outshot 21-9 after the first period. Yet they actually held a 1-0 lead; courtesy of a strong second effort by David Desharnais.
From the moment Seguin’s shot went past Lundqvist, the Rangers never managed to reclaim the lead.
A power-play goal by Martin Hanzal 4:05 into the third period ended up being the final blow; giving the Stars their 2-1 margin of victory.
BLUESHIRT BULLET POINTS
HIS MAJESTY: Henrik Lundqvist single-handedly kept the Rangers in the game from start to finish. He survived a 21-shot first period without giving up a goal. And ultimately he turned aside 39 of the 41 shots directed his way. Lundqvist was so good, the Stars fans voted him the First Star of the game.
SPECIAL TEAMS MIA: The Blueshirts went oh-for-three on the power-play; tallying just five shots on goal with the man advantage. And the Rangers’ penalty-kill ultimately cost them the game when Martin Hanzal scored on the power-play 4:05 into the third period. And while it doesn’t technically count as a power-play goal for Dallas, Tyler Seguin’s marker came in a six-on-five situation as Dallas pulled their goal on the delayed penalty call.
The Rangers face Brad Marchand and the Bruins Wednesday (Feb. 7) at MSG. Game time: 8 p.m. ET. Broadcast: NBCSN.
Once again, the Rangers gave up a barrage of shots; coming out flat to start the game.
And while they “settled in” after the first 15 minutes, they were unable to muster enough offense or defense to overcome the high-flying Stars.
The Blueshirts return home seeking answers to many questions. And right now, it doesn’t look like they’ll be able to find the answers they seek.