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3 Straight losses, Rangers are in a funk

Justin Azevedo celebrates Evan McGrath's powerplay goal in the first period.

After allowing their highest goals again in each of their previous two games, yielding 5 goals to the Storm and another 5 to the Peterborough Petes, the Rangers one-upped themselves allowing 7 to the Toronto Majors making it 17 in three games.  The Rangers could be on their way back to their top flight game.  Slumps often do not start with losses, more often they were a result of poor efforts.  One week ago this Friday the Rangers were being outshot by a 25-6 margin at the game's midway point, and although they managed to come from behind to win in the third period the shell-shocked look that the Rangers displayed through 30 minutes was a sign of things to come.  Fortunately, this Friday night's loss appeared to be a giant step in the opposite direction.  The Rangers really showed up and get full marks for their hustle and effort, it was just the execution and by night's end it was blatently obvious that lady luck wasn't really smiling on the hapless Rangers.

This time it was the Rangers turn to have the opportunity to be up two men in the first period, the Petes enjoyed several of these opportunities one night earlier at the Rangers' expense, much like the night before Evan McGrath was the marksman on the powerplay.  He got the puck at the side of the net and outwaited Peters who was aware of a passing opportunity, McGrath used that and waited for Peters to leave the post and made a sniper-like wrist shot over Peters' shoulder giving the Rangers an early 1-0 lead.  McGrath struck again exactly two minutes later, on special teams, but this time it was the penalty kill Mike Duco and Evan McGrath broke out 2-on-1.  Duco flipped the puck up to McGrath who snapped it in as it hit his stick with a Toronto defender applying pressure.  Action in the first period was fast and furious, Matt Caria sent a blind pass from behind the Rangers' net the found it's way onto Cory Vitarelli's stick at he opposite side of the net, Turple tried to stretch across the net but couldn't make the big save.  Jakub Kindl's blast from the middle of the blueline extended the Rangers' lead to two goals.  Then a controversial goal, with the Rangers on the powerplay, Justin DiBenedetto managed to strip the puck off of Matt Pepe, Valabik took DiBenedetto's feet out from under him, and appeared to play the puck in the process, after DiBenedetto bowled over the Rangers' netminder Matt Halischuk slipped the puck in, with Turple burried in the net.  Jean-Michel Rizk got that goal back late in the period, leading the rush, firing a wrister and then putting the rebound past Peters while en route behind the goal.

Mike Duco watches, and Patrick Davis (legs in view) is flattened as Jakub Kindl's point blast finds the back of the net.

The Majors quickly came back to within one goal while on the powerplay.  Cory Vitarelli managed to poke a puck loose in the Rangers' crease and then into the net with Turple unsure as to where the puck had ended up.  Controversy continued in the second period.  In the dying minutes the Majors were treated to a powerplay, and while shorthanded Justin Azevedo and Kevin Henderson appeared to be doing good work shorthanded in the Majors' zone with some no-stop hooking being done on Azevedo who simply refused to give up.  Tyler Haskins, the Majors' captain repeatedly hooked Azevedo who had the puck.  At one point, Haskins threw the puck over towards his netminder in frustration assuming a penalty was called, one was not forthcoming and worse yet, on the ensuing rush the puck was thrown out from behind the Rangers' net and after bouncing off several skates, including Kindl's found its way over the goal line, tie game and things seemed to only go down hill from that point on.

Former Ranger: Peter Franchin, who has bulked up to 215 pounds since leaving the Rangers, scored his 4th of the season, after a point shot by Wilson, Franchin found himself infront with the puck nearly on his stick for a gimme style goal.  Justin Donati appeared to have finished off the Rangers scoring with just over 7 minutes left.  The minute of madness couldn't save the Rangers but one thing that did work was a page from the playoff book of yesteryear.  With the Rangers up playing 4-on-3 hockey, DeBoer elected to call a timeout and pull his netminder with close to four minutes left, the one Majors penalty expired, but Mike Duco was able to finally beat Peters with on a rebound.  The Rangers' empty net magic having gone well over ten minutes between the 2005 playoffs and the beginning of this season without allowing a goal finally wore off as Justin Donati stole the puck from Jakub Kindl and scored on the empty Rangers' goal.  Kindl who has struggled defensively, despite scoring his first goal of the season needs to manage risk better, on the play where he pushed the puck in causing a turnover, playing the puck off the glass similar to the conservative play of Valabik would have been a much more advisable action.  For the Rangers it was their first regular season 3-game losing streak of 2005, their last occured in late December of 2004, Jakub Kindl had the second three point effort of his young OHL career, incredibly McGrath had his 5th 4-point effort of the season.  Jean-Michel Rizk who had a goal and an assist, is finally getting some results from his consistent strong efforts.