Rangers blow a lead for the 8th time this season in loss to Detroit (DET 3 v. NYR 2)

Detroit celebrates as Talbot sweeps puck out of the net 12.6.14 (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Detroit celebrates as Talbot sweeps puck out of the net 12.6.14 (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

The New York Rangers are battling what could be their last demon of the season – inconsistency. A rash of injuries in the first two months of the year have been overcome, but now they must put it all together for 60 minutes every night.

RED WINGS 3 v. RANGERS 2

NYR at DET 12.6.14 ESPN

NYR at DET 12.6.14 ESPN

The Rangers had a 2-0 lead halfway through the game when for no reason, they stopped working. Cam Talbot who had a shut out streak of 159:48 had it snapped by two goals in 61 seconds – tie game.

“Two lazy back checks by our forwards,” was Alain Vigneault’s explanation. “In the second period, something that is not very characteristic of this group is two very lazy back checks by our forwards coming back into our zone.” Unfortunately, when that uncharacteristic laziness shows itself, the Rangers blow leads and lose.

However, maybe that’s not as unusual as AV thinks. Eight times this season they have blown a lead in the game to either lose in regulation (5) or a shootout (3). In three of those contests, they blew a lead twice in the same game. In total, that’s 13 points wasted in the standings.

Dan Boyle let out a sigh in the locker room and said, “Who knows why?” He further told the NY Post, “We’re just not getting that consistency out of everybody and our team game. But nobody knows why.” That’s certainly isn’t going to help the team, but at least it’s honest.

As Pat Leonard of the Daily News eloquently put it, laziness doesn’t mean physical – it could also be lazy thinking. Example, Chris Kreider’s reasoning for losing his man on the tying goal, “I thought I was there, but I wasn’t there.” Kreider is also having a terrible time putting the puck in the net which makes defensive lapses harder to swallow. “I’ve got to be on top of him. It was a mental mistake,” he explained, but owning up is only meaningful if you correct it.

The Rangers got goals by Kevin Klein, his career high 5th of the year (it’s only December) and Rick Nash’s team leading 17th. It wasn’t enough as the Wings washed it out in 61 seconds and a tally in the third. Still the Rangers had a slew of power plays late in the game and were out worked by Detroit for all of it, including 2:36 of a 5-3 man advantage.

The Rangers get the prize of facing the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday. Another chance to slay the demon of inconsistency.

Side note for the Lunatic Fringe Fans: The NYR have the same amount of points as they did last season after 25 games (26 points).

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Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore