Ironically as the season lurches further and further into irrelevance there’s less and less to say after each game. What’s to say after a game like this? Still no Taylor Hall, no Marcus Johansson and now no Mackenzie Blackwood spelled doom against a solid Vegas team on the road. Even after getting a 2-0 lead with the Golden Knights playing Malcolm Subban. You just knew no lead was safe with this defense and anyone other than Blackwood in net, and sure enough before the end of the second period Vegas caught and passed us in predictable fashion, with more bad goaltending, bad defense and bad turnovers.
To be fair the defense wasn’t really that bad today, only giving up 28 shots to Vegas. Usually it’s more like 45. However, for the second straight game Pavel Zacha had a horrendous turnover lead directly to a goal, and Keith Kinkaid gave up at least two stoppable-bad goals. Last year’s Spring heroics seem a long way away now. Then again, Kinkaid was bad last year before February so it’s not like he was ever going to be any sure thing to replicate his February-April success. While for Zacha, he darn well better cut out the defensive errors since his offense still leaves a lot to be desired.
Maybe it serves me right for getting a chuckle over Subban’s second goal allowed in the first period when BEN LOVEJOY of all people faked him out in front with a shimmy and turnaround goal, which gave the Devils a 2-0 lead after an early marker from Nico Hischier. I remarked it was nice to see bad goaltending from a non-Devil goalie from a chance. Too bad it wouldn’t last, as Subban made 36 saves and shut us down late – especially during what was basically a three-minute power play to end the game including 6-on-4 time with the net empty. Kinkaid for his part did not step up and get a game that was there for the taking.
Even before this afternoon I was a little disillusioned when I saw the standings and the fact we were ten points out from our nearest playoff competitors and would have to pass two of Buffalo, Montreal, Columbus and a hot Isles team. I said 2-1-1 was a bare minimum from this trip, now they won’t even achieve that. Our last road game happens to be at Buffalo, if there’s any hope left of making a pre-All Star break run it has to begin with a regulation win against one of the playoff bubble teams.
It sucks when games become irrelevant in January. We’ve had that feeling far too often this decade, and Derek’s getting that feeling again this season after a number of years of the Rangers being competitive. This is the first year I can remember being agnostic about the Ranger scores, in part cause they were expected to be bad anyway and also because we’ve been so bad ourselves. I didn’t even realize how bad things have gotten over there till my friend’s been texting me updates of their scores in recent games.
Of course we have more than enough problems of our own right now. With only four home games before the All-Star break I don’t have much worrying to do with tickets until the end of January but then it’ll be interesting to see how many games I can sell and for what. Thank goodness for the eight-game ticket buyback (for credit you get towards next season’s season tickets), I’ll probably wind up using all those games in February and March, assuming they don’t jack up the price of season tickets to where I consider not renewing.
I’m going with one friend to the Toronto game on Thursday mainly cause of the promo, another friend who’s a Blackhawks fan is buying my tickets from me Monday (thank god), and I’m even debating punting out (selling) the Flyer afternoon game on Saturday. Yeah it’s a great rivalry and will probably be a good game in a vaccum but what’s the point with two teams going nowhere? I wasn’t even all that upset with today’s game. I’ve passed the point of acceptance apparently. Plus I have other things on my mind at the moment which aren’t worth getting into.
Sure there’ll be things to watch in the second half – maybe Kyle Palmieri pushes for 40 goals, Nico continues to improve and other young players like Blackwood make even more of a mark. Sadly the biggest points of suspense left is what we wind up getting for rentals like Johansson, Lovejoy and Brian Boyle at the deadline, and where we wind up in the draft lottery after the dust settles.