JIM: Sunday's 1-0 loss was frustrating for sure, especially coming off the high of Saturday's victory in Montreal by the same score, but the Rangers and their fans must keep things in perspective. It was yet another strong defensive outing---though not nearly as complete a shutdown effort as was evidenced in Montreal---and the Rangers have now held the opposition to two goals or fewer in 11 of their last 13 games. A team is going to win a lot of games over the course of a season playing that kind of defense---from the goaltender on out. And that's what the Blueshirts have done, going 9-4-0 in their last 13 matches. What is a bit more of a concern is the inconsistent finish on the offensive end. Last night was the fourth time in ten defeats this season the Rangers were shut out. Eight times out of 20 games overall the Rangers have been held to one goal or fewer, winning one of those eight contests. Perhaps the answer to this problem is coming in short order as Rick Nash targets a return to the lineup this week, but no question the Rangers need to find more finish in the offenisve end of the ice.
MATT: It's been a Jekyl and Hyde offense for sure, as we've seen this team get stymied in shutouts and then erupt for five goals against teams like Pittsburgh and Carolina. They have to get consistent efforts from their top players, something over the last handful of games that has been missing. Derek Stepan hasn't scored in five games, Chris Kreider has gone eight games without finding the net and Derick Brassard has just seven points in 20 games. While these three players have been contributing in other areas, the absence of Rick Nash has put the spotlight on these players to produce on a regular basis, and when that doesn't happen, it looms brighter. As you stated, if the defense can continue to play as well as it has, the offense will come back and that's a winning formula.