Tough Tuesday Night for Whale, Rangers

The Ranger organization went up against the Devils in both the AHL and NHL last night, and the double-bill did not go well for the Ranger crew.

The Devils, in fact, swept both contests, with Albany getting by the Whale in a shootout, 4-3, at the XL Center and New Jersey besting the Rangers by a score of 3-1 in Newark.

Both the Ranger and the Whale coaching staffs were distinctly perturbed by how their respective squads performed, and both groups of players felt their mentor’s wrath, the Whale more physically and the Rangers more on the verbal side.

Ken Gernander put the Whale through an arduous practice at Champions Skating Center in Cromwell, a session dominated by hard skating that left most players dragging as they came off the ice.  John Tortorella, meanwhile, fired several direct shots at his roster through his words to the media.

Tortorella said of Chris Kreider and J.T. Miller, the latter of whom was making his NHL debut, “They’re probably going to take some people’s jobs….  We have guys that look scared to me and tentative….  I’m not waiting, we have some guys that are very tentative, very careful and we don’t play careful hockey.”

Kreider, who had missed the previous five games due to an ankle injury, and Miller started the game on the fourth line and were on the power play by the end of it, and Kreider scored the only Ranger goal of the game, his first career NHL regular-season tally.  Miller got 14:25 of ice time and had two shots on goal.

J.T. Miller, in his NHL debut Tuesday night in New Jersey ((Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

J.T. Miller, in his NHL debut Tuesday night in New Jersey (Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Whale, for their part, were up against an Albany club last night that came into the game only two points behind Connecticut in the Eastern Conference and Northeast Division standings, with four games in hand on the Whale.  And the home club seemed to come out with very little urgency, giving up a goal on the first shift and falling behind 3-0, before salvaging a point in the standings with a three-goal surge in the final 10:42 of regulation.

With the shootout defeat, the Whale went 0-1-1-1 in the last three games of their six-game homestand, after winning the first three, continuing the pattern of marked inconsistency that has defined their season so far.  And in addition to losing the game, the Whale were without Benn Ferriero for the third period last night, after just getting him back from the Rangers, and he did not practice today, and Shayne Wiebe found out that the injury that knocked him out of Tuesday’s game-day morning skate was a torn ACL, meaning that he will have to have season-ending surgery.

So the Whale will have to put in a call for some lower-league reinforcements as they get ready to leave tomorrow for their only Canadian road trip of the year, a two-gamer up to St. John’s, Newfoundland.  With Wiebe out and Ferriero questionable, Ken Gernander’s squad could be down to as few as 16 healthy skaters at this point.

On the positive side for the organization, reports on Ranger captain Ryan Callahan’s progress in recovering from a shoulder injury were encouraging, as Callahan took contact for the first time since the injury today and reported no problems.

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