The Rangers need a spark. As Michael wrote after the Ottawa defeat, the Rangers were caught up playing down to the opponent. It’s something the Rangers have historically done (see many of the Islanders match ups) but recently, playing poorly and winning has apparently been a sign of a good team. Well that cliché only goes so far. This team has gone slightly stale and needs to be woken up to a point. The power play has been dismal (no change there) but the offensive lines haven’t created much, the team has failed to get sustained pressure on any opponent in recent weeks and many of the team’s offensive ‘weapons’ are not contributing. Is it time to dip into a somewhat resurgent Connecticut side?
Despite his obvious skill Erik Christensen isn’t doing it to the level that’s required. Todd White has officially become a waste of a roster spot (not all his fault to be fair) and Alex Frolov – at least – needs a benching to wake him up. This is where guys like Mats Zuccarello could come in. He may not yet be ready for NY full time, he may not have an impact when he gets to NY initially but it may be the right moment to get him in the line up if for nothing else but to put pressure on some stale forwards. Zuccarello has played lights out recently scoring goals, playing effectively on the power play and being an offensive factor on a team that is still finding its feet in their season. An obvious injection of skill to the level that the Norwegian possesses cannot do the Rangers any harm. Tortorella needs to bench a player or radically shake up the team with a call up if nothing else but to nip the lethargy in the bud early and avoid a lengthy losing streak which, believe me, is around the corner the way this team is playing. After the second Ottawa game the schedule gets much harder so the current level of play is unacceptable. The fact that the Rangers looked second best in every puck battle against a tired team speaks volumes. The coaches and the team need to find a spark, maybe Zuccarello (or another Connecticut player) can be that spark.