MSG on Messier Night ( dtnyc383/Flickr)

The same old New York Rangers showed up at the newly renovated Madison Square Garden Thursday night. Lackluster everything was the only way to describe the teams effort in a 4-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The first period saw a Ranger team it hadn’t seen since the 3rd period of the game against the Canucks last week. They were flying. The team seemed to have an extra jump in every single step, winning battles, and picking up loose pucks. Unfortunately, once again, a 60 minute effort was not there.

“After they scored their goal, we struggled. We struggled with our energy, we struggled making passes, and as a team we did, not just one particular person,” Rangers head coach John Tortorella said after his teams uninspiring play in the second and third periods.

Even the teams superstar net minder struggled with some of the easier shots. Although, he was able to deny the red-hot Phil Kessel on a breakaway not once but twice. Tortorella didn’t lay the blame on King Henrik Lundqvist however.

“We win and lose as a hockey team here.”

Brad Richards (Resolute/Wikipedia)

Now John Tortorella will bring back a familiar tactic, constantly switching the line combinations. At practice today for the first time all year, Gaborik was Richards-less. Erik Christensen, who stayed with the big club in favor of Sean Avery (much to the chagrin of Rangers fans everywhere) could see time with the sniper.

Richards is not taking it to heart, and know the team needs to find consistency.

“Offensively our team is not clicking overall. Some individuals have had some good games, but as a player if things aren’t going good and you finish a game feeling you didn’t create much offense as an offensive player, then change is sometimes what you need. If it was working there’d be no line changes. It’s simple.”

John Tortorella knows he has been criticized quite a bit for his constant juggling, but preached patience.

I wish that Artie’s line was playing that well, and that Gaby and Richie clicked right away. I don’t enjoy changing everything up here. These are decisions we have to make every day, and we’re in the process of doing that right now. I have changed lines quite a bit. I know the team needs to get into a routine, and we can’t keep changing lines. But you can’t get stuck on one situation, you have to worry about the whole team.”

The Rangers will continue their home-stand against Ottawa tomorrow at 3, and will be desperately seeking consistency. It’s not time for any sort of major shake-up, but there are a few players tearing it up in the AHL right now.

The Rangers need their building to be a home-ice advantage this year, and the most important part of that will be winning. Over the last few years they have not owned their home-ice like championship teams often do.

The Rangers need to give the Garden Faithful something to cheer about.

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