Maybe it was the turkey.
On Wednesday night, the Rangers took on the Florida Panthers in a renewed matchup of the week prior where Florida defeated New York 3 - 2 at the Garden.
The effort was there, as they maintained a one-goal lead until late in the third period, and eventually took the game in a shootout on another clutch goal by P.A. Parenteau.
Having defeated Columbus in a 7 - 4 romp the game prior, the Rangers seemed to have possibly turned the corner with back-to-back wins in convincing fashion.
What happened last night may have been a temporary setback as a result of the Thanksgiving break, or it may have been the lackluster effort that has reared it's ugly head on several occasions this season.
Simply put, the Rangers weren't together. With an injury to Wade Redden, Bobby Sanguinetti made his NHL debut, skating for just over 16:00 minutes, but even the Ranger regulars weren't comfortable.
The first goal of the game, by Steven Stamkos, was similar to many goals against this season, as the Rangers scrambled in their own zone, down low on the boards, and lost their coverage in the slot.
The Rangers defensive zone coverage has been a major question mark all season and while the defense can be better, the backchecking positioning has been more of the problem.
Most teams will prefer to keep their wingers high on the point, with the center as a rover to assist the defense. But the Rangers pressure differently, with the wingers going lower in the zone and assisting the defense. The idea here is to overwhelm the opposing forward and look for the turnover, but it leaves the point open.
For more on the Rangers' questionable defensive zone coverage, check out Blueshirt Bulletin Plus tonight.
In addition to positioning, the Rangers also suffered the return of bad penalties.
Late in the first period, Ales Kotalik took a charging penalty which resulted in the second goal for the Lightning and ultimately the game-winner.
Penalties have been moreso a problem this season as the Rangers penalty-killing has been good, but not great, especially with the injuries to Chris Drury and Brandon Dubinsky.
Despite Drury's return, Tampa Bay scored two power play goals as the penalty killing spent more time chasing than positioning.
And stalwart goaltender Henrik Lundqvist didn't help the cause. Unlike his usual-self, Lundqvist looked a little tired and had trouble with his positioning. He was relieved after the fourth goal, midway through the game in favor of Steve Valliquette.
Tonight, the Rangers head to Pittsburgh in a home-at-home with the Penguins. Game time is 7:30 pm.
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