Marian Gaborik had a goal and two assists in the Rangers last game


Overview
The Rangers faceoff against the Boston Bruins on Sunday at TD Garden in Boston (12:30 p.m.), in a matinee matchup between Original Six opponents. The Blueshirts currently rank fourth in the Atlantic Division standings, and 10th in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 31-31-9 (71 pts.). The Rangers enter Sunday afternoon’s contest having been defeated by the St. Louis Blues, 4-3, on Thursday at Madison Square Garden. The Bruins enter the contest with a 31-27-12 (74 pts.) record to rank eighth in the Eastern Conference. Following Sunday’s game, the Rangers return to action on Wednesday, Mar. 24, when they will faceoff against the New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.), in a matchup between Atlantic Division rivals. The game will be telecast by MSG Network in 3D, and will be the world’s first ever hockey game and America’s first live 3D sports game delivered to the home.

Game Notes
After a stunning home loss to St. Louis on Thursday night, it is going to take something close to a miracle for the Rangers to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs. That same night Boston was shutout by Pittsburgh, which meant the Rangers could have pulled within one point of Boston for the eighth playoff spot, which meant today’s game against Boston would have been the biggest game of the year. Atlanta also won Thursday, and since the Rangers lost that left the Thrashers and Blueshirts tied in ninth place heading into Atlanta’s game last night; they dominated Philadelphia, winning 5-2. That brings us to today’s game. The Rangers stand in the 10th spot in the Eastern Conference standings, two points back of ninth place Atlanta and three points back of the eighth place Boston Bruins. What once seemed like being within reach just a week ago, Philadelphia, Ottawa, and Montreal are in fifth, sixth, and seventh, respectively – all tied with 79 points. Right now, the Rangers have zero chance of catching any of the above three teams.

You can usually tell if a team is a “playoff-caliber” team or not based on how they will repeatedly play in certain situations throughout the whole season. If the Rangers were a playoff-caliber team, they would have put everything on the line and defeated Montreal last Tuesday, if only out of desperation.  Then, after two huge wins versus Philadelphia and Montreal (back-to-back wins? It would have been the first time since January 17-19. After that two game stretch, the Rangers lost five-in-a-row), St. Louis would have no chance of winning in The Garden and the Rangers would be in eighth heading into Sunday’s game. I’d be talking about how the Rangers could make a run at Philadelphia or Ottawa for the fifth or sixth spot. Instead, I’m talking about miracles. Against Montreal, it was desperation; the Rangers were desperate for two points. Then against St. Louis, it was do-or-die, eleventh-hour. Now, the Blueshirts need something miraculous to happen. The team that beat the Flyers up and down the ice has disappeared, and that is something that has repeatedly happened all season – the Rangers get a huge win, play close to 60 minutes of solid hockey, finally appear to be coming together as a team…and then they’re different one game later.

I’d be more optimistic if only somebody stepped up and held themselves accountable for all the blame circling this team, namely coach Tortorella. When his team is doing things right, Tortorella should stand behind them; when his team is doing things wrong, he should stand in front of them. When Tortorella was in Tampa Bay, he would bench Vinny Lecavalier for not being aggressive enough on the backcheck. He hasn’t taken the exact same approach in New York, and it just may be too late to do so.

Quote of the Day
“I think if you go out and play your absolute best, I think you can sit in your locker room and say, ‘Okay, we gave it all.’ The frustrating part is when you go out there and feel like you could have played better.” — Lundqvist on the Rangers’ loss to the Blues Thursday night.

Prediction
The Rangers have won all three games so far this season against Boston, and the Bruins have lost 11 of their last 12 home games. Lundqvist is 13-3-2 with a 1.36 GAA in his career against Boston. I think King Henrik has had about enough of what’s unfolding in front of him. If it’s going to take a miracle, I believe. For now …

Rangers win and sweep the season series, 2-1.

Shot Calling – get a goal, Gaborik