There was a lot more to like in Thursday's game against the Flyers than the Rangers have shown in previous weeks, but the fact remains that the Blueshirts dropped a very winnable game 2-1 to the team that entered the match with the league's worst record.
Here's a recap of some highs and lows from the night -- a loss that dropped the Rangers to 2-6-0 on the season:
--First of all, a fine effort from 26-year-old Cam Talbot in his NHL debut, filling in for an injured Henrik Lundqvist. He looked poised and confident in his first game as a Ranger and made 27 saves to keep the team in it. Both Talbot and the penalty-killing unit were particularly impressive in negating Benoit Pouliot's five-minute major penalty at the end of the second period that carried over into the third.
--Speaking of Pouliot, he could face supplementary discipline for his ill-advised hit on Max Talbot that sent the Flyers winger headfirst into the boards. He was tossed with a game misconduct, and though Talbot took a nasty spill, he eventually returned to the game.
--A big turning point of the game happened when what would've been a game-tying goal from J.T. Miller was disallowed. The puck glanced off Miller's skate and the official review deemed it a distinct kicking motion.
--Brad Richards continued what has been an impressive start to the season with a sharp-angle shot in the first period that turned out to be the only goal Flyers netminder Steve Mason gave up all night. Richards leads the team with five goals in eight games.
--Besides Richards, there has been little offensive production, and that appears to be the Rangers' biggest problem right now. After the Rangers were blanked by the Devils on Saturday, coach Alain Vigneault bemoaned the lack of offensive push-back. There was a better effort in the offensive zone Thursday, but still not enough finishing. If the Rangers want to climb from the cellar of the Eastern Conference, they are going to have to find the back of the net.