Rangers disappoint in Carolina, locals all lose

This wasn’t quite the way the Rangers wanted to start the final stretch following the All-Star Break. What started out promising when Brendan Shanahan tallied for his first point in nine contests 62 seconds in evolved into another exasperating night for this underachieving bunch.

Welcome to the 2007-08 edition of the Blueshirts. Where they get your hopes up only to dash them away making you flashback to dreadful memories from a decade prior. Where it doesn’t matter who the names are on the jersey because they sure are trying their best to hit the golf course a lot earlier than expected.

If I sound like a broken record, as a fave Nirvana song once said, “All Apologies.”

What else could this team do
They don’t have a god damn clue

What else should Renney try
Bench the stonehands fourth line

Why don’t you try doing what I just did? It’s rather easy if you apply yourself to that classic tune.

A 3-1 defeat on the road in Carolina isn’t that surprising. I think what’s most disappointing is that once again, this team didn’t convert their chances. Oh. They generated plenty playing a solid opening 20 but the key sequence was a four-on-two rush in which defenseman Fedor Tyutin missed the net leading directly to a Canes’ odd-man rush and tying marker from suddenly revived Russian Sergei Samsonov. He outwaited Henrik Lundqvist and went to the backhand flipping it past the Ranger netminder.

Another critical Blueshirt mistake led to the deciding tally. Martin Straka’s errant pass was stolen by Carolina team captain Rod Brind’Amour. The smart two-way pivot walked in and beat Lundqvist on a two-on-zero break deking to the backhand.

The Rangers had some quality opportunities to tie it late in the second thanks to a strong shift by Scott Gomez, Sean Avery and Jaromir Jagr. However, superior goaltending from former 2006 Conn Smythe winner Cam Ward allowed the Canes to escape with their one-goal lead intact thru 40.

Remarkably, Renney’s beloved fourth line helped seal their fate when they got caught up ice. When defenseman Dan Girardi stepped up and turned the puck over at the Carolina blueline, they turned it into another odd-man break. This time the recipient was fourth liner Trevor Letowski who took a pass and deked to the forehand to make it three unanswered Canes’ goals.

After that, the Rangers seemed to give up resigned to their fate.

I threw in the towel too and went upstairs opting to listen to Dave Maloney rip this sadsack team to shreds.

Can anything save the Rangers?

I felt this one short Avery quote summed it up quite well:

“I wish I had some answers, but I don’t really.”

Neither do I.

It wasn’t a good night for the other two locals either as the Devils fell at home for the second straight time 4-2 to the Sidney Crosby-less Pens. Ryan Malone tallied twice and ex-Devil Petr Sykora notched two assists as the Pens got the last three on Brent Sutter’s club a la Montreal before the break. Wonder if he’ll put them through drills again? Mike Rupp somehow hit the back of the net twice. You aren’t winning many nights when he’s your only offense.

The Isles meanwhile went down to the conference-leading Sens 5-2. Mike Fisher and Jason Spezza each had a goal and a helper while Sean Bergenheim and Bryan Berard tallied for the Fishsticks.

The Flyers were 3-2 OT winners as the sizzling Scott Hartnell stayed hot getting the deciding marker.

About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of New York administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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