It was bound to happen. The New York Rangers weren't going to win out the rest of the way. Perhaps it was best that their seven-game winning streak came to a crashing halt, 4-0 to the Montreal Canadiens, as the boys in red, white and blue realized there's still a lot to clean up in their game.
From start to finish, this was an ugly, unwatchable game from the Blueshirts at Bell Centre -- possibly their worst effort (or lack thereof) of the season. Referee-induced or not, the Rangers were undisciplined, as they were forced to kill six penalties, and could only kill off four of them. They were quite simply outworked and overmatched against the Canadiens, whose speed created problems all over the ice for New York as they were on their heels throughout.
Nobody was sharp. It was the type of game you learn from, but immediately want to forget and hope it's just a small blip in the radar. New York mustered only 17 shots on net, giving Carey Price possibly the easiest win over his career as high-scoring chances were few and far between. Martin Biron, on the other hand, made 27 saves and wasn't exactly too sharp, either, though he was left on an island at times.
Erick Cole began the scoring for Montreal 3:45 into the game on the power play, when Michael Del Zotto got caught a bit too far up ice leaving Cole with a clear shot at the goaltender. You knew it'd be a long game when Biron let oin a soft bad-angle goal to Brian Gionta midway through the second. Typically, the John Tortorella-led squad shows a lot of urgency in the third period, but in this one, that was not even the case. Tomas Plekanec had a power-play tally while Brian Gionta put the icing on the cake with his second of the game at 13:47 of the period. It was almost as if the Rangers, as a group, didn't really want to play hockey Saturday night.
It's just one loss, and yes the Rangers are 10-4-3 on the season, but they have a lot to figure out from now until Wednesday when they take on the Florida Panthers. Their defensive coverage needs to be better. The lines may be tinkered with as none really generated anything. Most of all, though, they have to realize that you cannot be complacent in this league because it's so competitive ... and a bad game or two, could turn into a bad few weeks or two.