It says something about the current state of the Rangers roster that, on their lone goal last night, two players — Chad Kolarik and Ryan McDonagh — recorded their first NHL point, both assisting on Brandon Prust’s tally. Every week, it seems, another player or three arrives from Connecticut; the roster looks more and more every day like the opening night lineup for the team formerly known as the Hartford Wolf Pack, minus, of course, the presence of Wade Redden.
In any case, the team that scored seven goals the night before against Toronto (six of them against Jonas Gustavsson) scored just the one last night against Cam Ward and his Hurricanes. And Marian Gaborik, who netted four goals to snap his personal scoring drought, recorded just two shots on goal last night. That said, the lack of offense wasn’t their biggest concern last night: They generated a handful of quality chances, particularly in the opening minutes of the game. They couldn’t convert, however, and they’d find themselves down two goals by the first intermission, eventually losing 4–1.
After the game, John Tortorella made clear that the Rangers “were brutal defensively,” that it wasn’t just the defensemen but the forwards, too, and that they’d need to do some teaching because of all the new bodies. (He did rightfully praise Kolarik, the latest call-up, who had a solid Rangers debut.) But needless to say, teaching a crop of newcomers (even a crop that, on the whole, has been pretty promising) isn’t something a team would prefer to do in late January — particularly in the midst of a five-games-in-seven-nights stretch. But that’s the hand the Rangers have been dealt, and it’s the one they’ll need to play for the next month.