NYR/PITT 12/5 Review: King Pavelec, King Pipe, A Missed Flu Shot & A Fluky Rangers Goal Takes Two Points From The Two Time Cup Champs, BOO-YA, Rangers Prep For the Winter Classic, MSG Networks Ignore Concussions, Steiner Sports Has No Time For Jokes, NYR Richest Franchise in the NHL; Tells Fans To Keep Ponying Up, CSEA & Much More From RANGERSTOWN, USA

It’s tough to pick the three stars of the game in this one. If it was up to me, it’s Pavelec (41 saves), the goal post (4 saves), and Letang’s skate (1 goal). Honorary Star: Lundqvist’s failed flu shot.

What’s up everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. I missed doing a blog after the Rangers victory over the Carolina Hurricanes, because I was at the game and because of work. When you’re working seven-days-a-week and staying out drinking after a Rangers win, the blog tends to become collateral damage! However, I’m back tonight and there is plenty of stuff to get into. I apologize in advance for going so long, but with another two full days between games, you got plenty of time to read this manifesto!

The Rangers are fresh off beating the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night, winning a wild game, on the road, in a final of 4-3. For the Rangers, these were a huge two points. While I wouldn’t say this win over the two-time Cup Champs is indicative of anything, it was a much needed win. I say it’s a much needed win, because of the division standings. With the win, the Rangers creep closer to the second wild card and prevent Pittsburgh from gaining any ground.

While it’s always good to beat Pittburgh or any other team off a Cup win, this was a different game than recent Ranger/Penguin games. For starters, there were no starting goalies, as Matt Murray is still recouping from an injury and Lundqvist was scratched due to having the flu. If you’re an optimist, with two back-up goalies in net, neither team had a real goalie advantage. While both Pavelec and Jarry, of Pittsburgh, made great saves, neither looked overly strong.

Back-up goaltending is important during the course of an 82 game season. Both the Penguins and the Rangers, have been back-up goalie benefactors over these last few seasons. Matt Murray, the current Penguins starter, backed-up Marc-Andre Fleury, before taking the starting role himself. The Rangers had this guy named Cam Talbot, that you may have heard about on this site, in addition to Antti Raanta. When it comes to getting crucial points, during the tiring days of the season, back-up goaltending may be the difference in a playoff team and a non playoff team.

As usual, to catch you up or in case you missed them, here are my most recent blogs:

NYR/FLA 11/28 Review: Rangers & Pavelec Save Lundqvist But Come Up Short, Horrendous Officiating & Brain-Fart Defense Plagues a Good Hockey Game, Power Play Remains Power-Less, Rangers Continue To Handle Bad Situations With Class, Eli vs Hank, & More From an Ugly & Weird Loss From M$G


NYR/VAN 11/26 Review: Rangers Find a Way To Beat the Mother-Canuckers; Increase Win Streak To 4 & Grab a Playoff Berth (For Now), Jimmy Vesey Proving Himself To AV, What To Do With Lundqvist, Rangers Alum Making a Difference & More From a Sloppy Victory at the World’s Most Expensive Arena


NYR/DET 11/24 Review: Rangers Dine on Redwings As Their Thanksgiving Left Overs, “Vintage” Henrik Lundqvist Carries The Rangers To Two Points, Zucc Can’t Control Himself, Another Goalie Duel Game, Winter Classic Jerseys, False Advertising From the NHL & More


NYR/CAR 11/22 Review: Rangers Score The First Touchdown of Week 12, Pump & Dump The Canes Like a Prostitute at the “Pines Motor Lodge”, Lundqvist Rolling, Why Hayes Has Been the Best NYR Forward, McDonagh Injury, The Unbearable Joe Micheletti Hits New Lows, Soft Schedule, The Godfather & Much More From a Dominating Road Win


Despite being a Friday night at the Garden, the Rangers vs Carolina game, was played in front of a crowd that looked Florida Pantheresque!

Since I didn’t do the blog after the NYR/Carolina game, I want to share a few stories before getting into tonight’s win over Pittsburgh.

To begin this manifesto, a few thoughts on the Carolina win, if you will. For starters, on ice, the team looked terrible, but were eventually able to grind out a victory when it was all over. When Lundqvist gave up that first goal, early into the game, all I could think was “here we go again”, but shockingly, that would be the only Carolina goal of the game. Lundqvist had another rock-solid performance in this game. However, these crappy goals allowed, are a killer, come playoff time.

It’s weird. Maybe it’s the “Power of Negativity” or maybe it’s Maybelline, but at least in this season (I can’t say the same for prior seasons in the AV era) Lundqvist has been great whenever I’ve seen him live, outside of the home opener debacle. Maybe I should go to more home games, especially since tier pricing has backfired on the Rangers. Unfortunately, that means it’s also backfired on the season subscribers as well.

I’ve talked to plenty of season subscribers/season ticket holders, and one thing they all can agree on, is that it’s nearly impossible to regularly unload tickets for face value. As talked about in prior blogs, the Rangers have just pushed their fans over the edge by the continuing increase of the cost of tickets. Many fans gave up their season tickets in the off-season, because they weren’t going to pay anywhere, from 50%-200% more, for the same seat they sat in, just a season ago.

I know I’ve ranted on this subject plenty enough on this blog, but as I predicted, even if the team is playing well, the Garden will remain quiet and you will continue to see pockets & pockets of seats emptier than Craig Carton’s wallet.

The winners of the Garden greed are fans who don’t have season tickets. While ticket prices are still the highest in the league, you can get seats for way under face value these days. Even on a Friday night. I sat in Section 104, row 11, for $80. The face value of the seat was $178 (I could be off by a few dollars.) Check out my view from the game:

“There’s that fat asshole with the blog!” – Henrik Lundqvist

The Garden of Dreams had some kid from “Stranger Things” sing the anthem. Wasn’t the best rendition I’ve heard, but it’s nice to see kids get a crack at it.

I saw a lot of the Rangers defense in the first period.

When Darling effed up, it was the chance the Rangers needed to get some life.

I’m not joking – if my liver holds up, I think I’ll one day see my ticket say this:

SECTION 104 PRESENTED BY CHASE

ROW 22 PRESENTED BY EMPIRE CASINO

SEAT 1 PRESENTED BY DELTA

MADE UP EXTRA TICKET HANDLING FEES PRESENTED BY JAMES DOLAN

Oh and by the way, if you score some good seats for cheap, please don’t be this guy:

 

It’s SAD that I have to say the following, but listen up:

If you’re not a child or a female, meaning that you’re a grown male, if you’re jumping up and down, like a “Price is Right” contestant on ecstasy, for a free fucking T-Shirt, that will never fit your fat ass, please, by all means, re-evaluate your life.

Leave it to me to judge how other people act at games, but let me give you an insider tip – WHETHER YOU’RE SITTING DOWN OR STANDING UP, THE PLAY LOOKS EXACTLY THE SAME. Jump up and down during the whistle or with a minute left in the game. Not in the middle of a play. And seriously, go buy a t-shirt if you need one that bad. And a big fuck you to the grown men who catch one of these shirts and don’t give it to a little kid around them.

I mean, while I understand why Henrik Lundqvist blocked me (too bad he didn’t block pucks in the playoffs against Tampa in 2015 or against Ottawa last year) but being blocked by Steiner Sports was surprising.

In this social media age, we never know who is following us, likes us, hates us, creeping on us, or in this case, blocking us. There’s only one reason Steiner Sports blocked me – because they have no sense of humor.

Listen, I know I can come off like an opinionated asshole, and if you don’t have the same sense of humor as me, I’m more horrifying than a Penn Station bathroom, but hear me out here.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that as a gambler, every game I go to, I visit the Steiner Sports booth. They do a $40 mystery autographed puck & in addition to buying 10 beers every game, I get one of these sucker puckers too. If you go back to my Oiler/Ranger game review from last season, I did a rant on my fury when I pulled an Emerson FUCKING Etem puck.

Lately, Steiner Sports has been stepping up their game and adding memorable ex-Rangers and current stars to their grab.

Quick aside – if you buy one of these pucks, they let you pick your own puck out. Always pick the heavier box, because that comes with a puck holder, which means the player is of value. For example, my Sergei Nemchinov, Harry Howell and Eddie Giacomin autographed pucks came in a puck holder. Meanwhile, my Emerson Etem & Brendan Smith pucks came in plastic wrap, looking like a two-day old Ham & Cheese w/mayo sandwich. The Etem puck even smelt like one too!

When I went to the game on Friday, I was just coming off a 7:00am-6:00pm shift at work, which means I got a few hours of overtime. Feeling nice about myself, I approached the Steiner stand & saw they were now selling pictures too. Figuring what the fuck, it’s only $40 & because I worked OT, I decided to get a puck and a picture. I hit a homerun as I pulled these:

Ryan McDonagh autographed puck. Oddly enough, this didn’t come in a puck holder, but it did include all the authenticity shit.

One of my favorite Rangers ever, Jeff Beukeboom.

As I normally do, after gambling at the Steiner stand, I always post pictures on twitter of what I got. I always joke around and say, “THE STEINER SCAM BAG” or something along those lines, because I pulled two Emerson FUCKING Etem pucks. Again, I’m a sucker and usually you make bad purchases when you’re drinking a bit, but despite two Emerson FUCKING Etem pucks, I still buy this overpriced crap. When I get home, I usually stick these mementos in my glass case, which needs to be reorganized, as it’s overloaded like a toilet after a Michael Moore session.

Twitter, to me, is for shits and kicks. The good stuff about it, like meeting new people and getting news, I enjoy. However, to take anything someone says seriously or to heart, especially when it’s obvious a joke is being made, is silly to me. It’s fucking Twitter! That said, people take Twitter extremely seriously. Steiner Sports is one of those people.

Even by telling this story to you, I’ll still probably buy another one of these STEINER SCAM BAG pucks, because I don’t take Twitter seriously.  I mean after all, if a customer pulled two great items & were happy about it, you think you would retweet that & show to your followers that you can get some nice items in the STEINER SCAM BAG mystery gamble.

Then again, maybe Steiner Sports blocked me for my “Steiner Sports is now selling pieces of Roy Halladay’s plane for the low low price of $767896789678967896786789678967896, an arm and you first born child” tweet.

It’s SAD that we live in a world where everyone is afraid to laugh anymore. I mean, you even got Arab assholes crying about Apu from “The Simpsons”. HELLO – every character on the Simpsons is a stereotype, that’s why it’s fucking funny.

No joke, people these days are tighter than the grip Micheletti has on his Lundqvist Hair Doll. (On sale now at Steiner Sports for $78967896768679786879696, your left nut and your soul.)

After the win against Carolina on Friday night (12/1), the Rangers held their first outdoor practice in Central Park, this century, on Saturday (12/2). Photo Credit: NYR

Kudos to the Rangers for finally having their first outdoor & open practice, for the first time in the 2000’s, on 12/2/2017. It took a while to get there, but at least it finally happened. Now, if the Rangers can finally honor Frank Boucher…

From all reports and accounts, the practice went well and it was a raving hit. While on this topic, I thought the MSG Networks did a great segment on this event during their pregame show.

Making this practice even better, AV catered to the loyal fans, by doing three on three drills, which is not a drill he normally runs in practice. It seemed like over 2000 fans attended the practice and I hope this becomes an annual tradition. Even better for the Rangers, in a town where they struggle to get the back page, they had a lot of media at the event.

Of course, this wasn’t all about making fans happy though, as the practice was used to push the Winter Classic Game, against those, ahem, pesky and hated rivals, the Buffalo Sabres. I’ve talked about this before and I get it, the Rangers have to be the away team in these types of games, because like anything else, it affects their bottom line. The Rangers have a tax-break deal with MSG & NYC, that all of their home games are played at MSG. If they stray from the deal, they lose all their tax breaks. We all know that Dolan won’t let that happen.

I don’t mind that the Rangers have to be the away team, but you’re better off just rolling out Rangers vs Islanders or Rangers vs Devils outdoor games, rather than making up a fictional rivalry with Buffalo. I truly wonder how many fans from Buffalo are coming out to this game? 2? 3? The half empty Citifield will be RANGERSTOWN. (Trust me, they aren’t selling this out because tickets are too expensive, people are hungover from the night before, it’s too fucking cold and the experience is 67679567856756785765 times better on TV than live. Trust me, I’ve done it.)

Ryan McDonagh was giving out free tickets to the Harlem hockey clubs. Photo Credit: NYR

I really can’t complain when the Rangers are doing fan-friendly things and while I couldn’t make the event due to work, I would tinker it up a bit. Here’s a few suggestions:

  • Get a shit load of signed 8×10’s or pucks, from current players, and give them away to fans who are sitting in the cold to see you practice. From many fan accounts, while some fans were able to get pictures, they couldn’t get autographs. As always, make sure the kids are first priority here, because they are your future customers. I’m speaking from experience here, because as a kid, I had nothing but positive experiences meeting my favorite NYR players. Today, I’m obsessed with the team, despite admittedly, a period of time where I cut the team off. (I was very mad about the Graves/Leetch trades & the lockout.)
  • Invite Rangers alumni to attend and mingle with fans. This is always a big hit at Rangerstown during the playoffs.
  • Run raffles/giveaways. It keeps fans there longer and it’s an incentive to get more fans to go.

Not that it irked me, but in an obvious publicity stunt, the Rangers had Ryan McDonagh give out 100 free tickets to hockey players from Harlem. I get promoting yourself and helping out in the community, but can anyone tell me one hockey player that has came out of Harlem? Ok then.

While I don’t mind the Rangers working with Harlem (or any other town in NY) how about giving away an extra 100 free tickets to their season ticket holders? Why not invest in the people that actually put money in your pocket? Ah I know why, because you already got those suckers hook, line and sinker.

Seriously, it’s a shame how the Rangers treat their most loyal and diehard fans, fans that speak with their wallet, at every turn.

I don’t want to end this section on a sour note, because it was a great event. I guess I’m just giving you the fans point of view. I hope to attend one of these next season, as it looked like a really fun time.

“What’s that, I own the who? The Rangers? I didn’t know we had badminton at the Garden.” Photo Credit: SATANHITLERHILLARYFUCKYOU.com

From CBS Sports:

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The New York Rangers are worth an NHL-high $1.5 billion as team values continue to rise, according to the latest estimate by Forbes.

In its annual list of franchise valuations, Forbes says the average NHL team is now worth $594 million, up 15 percent from a year ago. It comes on the heels of Bill Foley’s group paying $500 million for the expansion Vegas Golden Knights, who come in 14th among 31 teams.

The Rangers lead the NHL for the third consecutive year. After the Rangers, the Toronto Maple Leafs are second at $1.4 billion, the Montreal Canadiens third at $1.25 billion, and the Chicago Blackhawks fourth at $1 billion.

gettyimages 878696760 Rangers, Worth $1.5 Billion, Again Lead Forbes NHL Team Value Rankings

New York Rangers’ Mats Zuccarello celebrates his goal at 37 seconds of overtime against the Detroit Red Wings at Madison Square Garden on November 24, 2017. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The back-to-back Stanley Cup-champion Pittsburgh Penguins come in 10th at $650 million. The Arizona Coyotes are last at $300 million.

The Devils, meanwhile, moved ahead of the Islanders in the rankings. New Jersey is 21st, up one spot from last year. Its value has risen 25 percent since 2016, up to $400 million.

The Islanders fell from 18th in the 2016 survey to 22nd this year. They are worth an estimated at $395 million, up 3 percent from a  year ago.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

I’m telling you, the money will never EVER be enough. Ticket prices, jerseys, merchandise, concessions, and even Joe Micheletti’s Officially Licensed Lundqvist Sex Doll, will all go up in price. It doesn’t matter if the team wins or if the team loses. As long as the Rangers have the corporate money, the blue collar folk is like a preppy white kid in Rikers – taking it up the ass.

While TODAY, the Islanders, the Devils and the Flyers are bigger rivals to me, the Penguins are right up there. Photo Credit: NHL.com

See what happens when I miss doing a blog, I do a 3000 word intro, which is ridiculous on my part because I know people hate to read long things and because I have a 4:30am alarm clock. Self-inflicted wounds here!

The Rangers announced this an hour before game time.

While it was known Murray was still out with injury, it was only announced an hour before the game, that Ondrej Pavelec would be the starting goalie for the Rangers tonight. Apparently, KING PAVS knew this information last night, according to the MSG Networks.

Listen, you know I love the MSG Networks crew. I think they do the best job in the NHL. I do have one bone to pick here. Bill Pidto (and this may be coming from his director or producer, and not him specifically) spent the open of the show talking about Lundqvist and his sniffles. Duguay & Valiquette followed up on that talk.

What was flat out ignored, was Mika Zibanejad’s concussion and his history with concussions. Even when Sam & Joe did their usual spiel before the game, DJ Z-Bad’s concussion was quickly glossed over and the focus was on Lundqvist and his runny nose.

I don’t know if it’s the NHL’s, NYR’s or MSG’s mandate to ignore concussion talk, but I thought this was disrespectful to not only Zibanejad, but to the fans. Blowing off a concussion injury like it’s a stubbed toe is uncalled for. This is serious shit. We’ve seen it with countless players and athletes among every sport. Z-Bad might come back and be 100%. Maybe he plays like nothing ever happened. Or maybe he needs to take a year off like Crosby. Maybe he loses a step like Rick Nash. Maybe he finds depression, like the NFL players or like Boogard.

Listen, I’m not trying to paint a picture where Z-Bad goes to either extreme, but to ignore the seriousness of concussions and just blowing his injury off, was a poor job from the MSG Networks. Even worse, John Giannone interviewed Nash, a concussion machine himself, and the only thing John could ask about was Henrik Lundqvist and his tummy ache. I get that the MSG/NYR prerogative is “All Lundqvist, All The Time”, but when you’re two seconds away from airing Lundqvist getting a flu shot, in spite of talking about a serious injury with Zibanejad, it’s pure disinformation, FAKE NEWS and a disservice to all fans.

I’m a union man myself, but Jerry Laricchiuta & his endless CSEA commercials, which promote nothing, are getting more annoying than Kars For Kids!

After an intro where Sam Rosen talked about coffee and Joe Micheletti was debating about leaving the booth to hand-feed Lundqvist chicken noodle soup, we finally got to the game.

As usual, before my recap, here’s the official box score, from ESPN.com:

1st Period Summary

Time Team Scoring Detail NYR PIT
15:13
Conor Sheary (9)
Assists: Patric Hornqvist, Kris Letang
0 1
16:49
Boo Nieves (1)
Assists: Mats Zuccarello, Kevin Shattenkirk
1 1
Time Team Penalty Detail
17:43
Ian Cole: 2 Minutes for Tripping

2nd Period Summary

Time Team Scoring Detail NYR PIT
7:11
Phil Kessel (13)
Assists: Jake Guentzel, Olli Maatta
1 2
12:26
Jesper Fast (5)
Assists: Brady Skjei, Paul Carey
2 2
17:20
Mats Zuccarello (5)
Assists: J.T. Miller, Brendan Smith
3 2
Time Team Penalty Detail
8:20
J.T. Miller: 2 Minutes for Hooking
14:37
Kevin Shattenkirk: 2 Minutes for Hooking

3rd Period Summary

Time Team Scoring Detail NYR PIT
3:35
Patric Hornqvist (11) (Power Play)
Assists: Evgeni Malkin, Ian Cole
3 3
11:12
Pavel Buchnevich (10)
Assists: David Desharnais, Chris Kreider
4 3
Time Team Penalty Detail
1:16
Matt Hunwick: 2 Minutes for Hooking
2:16
Kevin Shattenkirk: 2 Minutes for Slashing

Goaltending Summary

New York Rangers Goaltending

Player SA GA Saves SV% TOI PIM
O. Pavelec 44 3 41 .932 60:00 0

Pittsburgh Penguins Goaltending

Player SA GA Saves SV% TOI PIM
T. Jarry 29 4 25 .862 58:34 0

It’s amazing that a team, off two straight Cup wins and featuring the greatest player of this century, continues to play in front of a ton of empty seats, on any given night.

This was a wacky game, that featured fluke goals and periods of shaky goaltending. At points, the goaltending was shakier than a drunk me, trying to take a piss on a LIRR train. As the game went along, both goalies would settle down and would make some quality saves.

For the Penguins, the story for them is that their defense was atrocious. The Rangers had multiple breakaways and odd-man rushes all game. The Rangers, who got a lot of luck in this game, with the goal post saving four shots, Letang’s skate scoring a goal, a trickler goal & Pavelec not being beat when out of position, wound up walking way with the win.

The Rangers dominated the first period of the game, while Pittsburgh dominated the second. A fluke goal would be the difference in the third period.

When you look at Ondrej Pavelec and his 1-4 record going into this game, you gotta remember, two of those losses were in relief of Lundqvist. The Rangers would battle back to tie the games against Toronto and Chicago, only for Pavelec to give up the game winner in the third. That one goal, in limited time, also inflates his GAA and save percentage. I’m not trying to say Pavelec is Talbot or Raanta, but I do believe he’s better than his stats suggest.

With Lundqvist out, as usual, the Rangers played a better first period than normal, as they were more defensively minded. In the first period, only one Penguin forward got a shot off, out of the four shots the Penguins took. Obviously that changed, as the Jekyll and Hyde Rangers took the ice in the second, but in an area that has been plaguing the Rangers for a while, they came out strong in the first.

BOO-YA: Boo Nieves scored his first goal of the season. Photo Credit: Getty Images/NYR/NHL

In a building so quiet that you could hear Kevin Spacey harass his next victim, the Rangers peppered Tristan Jarry, who Valiquette called “Big Jar”, early and often. On the other end, Cyclops himself, Marc Staal, was diving in front of pucks. Later in the game, Staal would get into a few scrums, defending Zuccarello and Pavelec.

While he only recorded three out of his 41 saves in the first period, this was Pavelec’s worst period, as he was dancing around, like an underage woman sneaking into a club.  Jarry had the more impressive first period, stopping Vesey, Hayes, Nash and Zucc.

Pittsburgh broke the scoreless game, 15 minutes into the first, when Conor Sheary laughed at Nick Holden and scored. Take a look yourself:

 

While Nash is whiffing around and McDonagh is caught looking, Nick Holden, once again, had the best seat in the house for an opposing goal.

Quick thought on McDonagh – after having a strong game against Carolina, I thought he wasn’t that hot tonight. He’s not having his usual season. He did make a few good defensive plays in this game, but for the most part, he looked average and the Rangers need him better than average.

On the other hand, Nick Holden was brutal all game. It’s getting comedic and tragic, to the point where when it comes to the end of the game, I fully expect to have number 55 double shifted. I’m sorry, if these first 27 games are any indication, Nick Holden just can’t be on your playoff roster, if you do make the playoffs. He’s a bigger liability than a female Asian teenage driver.

After Sheary’s goal, 1-0 bad guys.

However, less than two minutes after Sheary scored, Boo Nieves would tie it up, on a play that started with Kevin Shattenkirk. Shatty came flying down the blue line, made a quasi no-look pass to Zucc and Zucc fed an unexpecting Nieves for the blast. It’s the first goal for Nieves. Print out the BOO-YA shirts now. 1-1 game.

The Rangers would get a chance to take a lead in this game, with a powerplay at the end of the period. In an area which have cost them many playoff games over the years, the powerplay looked terrible. AV must have eyes for Scott Arniel like Micheletti has for Lundqvist.

Speaking of Micheletti, he was fucking brutal all night. It’s getting late as I do this blog, so I can’t recap it all, but he was talking about how the goalies were the difference in this game, all throughout. He was saying the score should be 5-4, or something like that, but it was the goalies that were magically stopping the offense. It’s like he ignores the fact that the goalies are paid to stop pucks too. NEWSFLASH: goalies prevent goals.

Micheletti also didn’t cum his pants tonight, because Lundqvist didn’t play. I’m sure if given the option, Micheletti would’ve skipped this broadcast, and would’ve rathered to chew up warm toast & ginger ale, and feed Lundqvist like a mother bird. Again, time is an issue here, and I went way too long in my intro, but take my word, Micheletti finds a way to get more annoying with each game.

Nick Holden, who I’m one day expecting to make an nWo heel turn and shoot at his own net, was pitiful tonight.

After dominating the Penguins and out-shooting them 10-4 in the first, Pittsburgh woke up in the second. Pittsburgh would out-shoot the Rangers 23-8 in the period and if it wasn’t for a final 3-5 minute surge for the Rangers, it would’ve been a lot uglier.

Grabner, who must not be used to shooting with a goalie in net, blew an early chance in the second period to make the score 2-1. On the other end, Jimmy Vesey would thwart a great attempt from Malkin. In a move that will make your ass itch, in one sequence, Holden put the puck in front of his own net, the Rangers got it away and then Holden iced the puck. Holden followed that brilliance up on his next shift, by just watching the Penguins tee off on Pavelec.  Seriously, I know some players just have bad games, but this is a season-long issue for Holden, which in reality, started in last season’s playoffs. Bring up Pionk.

Pavelec, who still looked questionable at this point in the game, would be beat 7 minutes into the period, by a Phil Kessel. It was a perfect one-timer for my fellow American. Can’t blame Pavelec for that one. 2-1 bad guys.

The Rangers would kill a penalty on JT Miller. A few minutes after the PK was successful, at the 12 minute mark of the period, Jesper Fast got a hard work goal, as he followed up a streaking Brady Skjei and deposited the rebound past Jarry. A blue collar goal for sure and a goal that knotted the game up again, at 2-2.

Check out Fast’s goal yourself:

 

Not for nothing, I’m glad the Rangers kept Fast over Lindberg.

With five minutes remaining in the period, the Penguins would get another PP. The Penguins were better on this PP attempt and this was when Pavelec found his groove and arguably made his best save of the game, stopping Sidney Crosby coming from the side. There was also a shot, I believe from Malkin, that hit the post so fucking hard, that it even woke up Marlee Marlin. Grabner would also get a breakway, while on the PK, but since there was a goalie in net for Pittsburgh, he couldn’t give the Rangers the lead.

However, with less than 3 minutes remaining, it would be Mats Zuccarello giving the Rangers the lead, as he went on a breakaway. (Again, the Pittsburgh defense was looser than an employee at the Bunny Ranch.) On the breakaway, Zucc beat Jarry through the pads, a goal that Micheletti called a “scorcher”, despite the puck trickling through the five-hole. Can someone please tell me how Micheletti is the best color commentator available? WE WANT MALONEY.

With Zucc’s late second period goal, the score was now 3-2 good guys. Despite being out-played and out-worked by the Penguins, the Rangers were the ones taking the lead to the locker room.

“IN SOVIET RUSSIA, I SCORE GAME WINNING GOAL, DAH?” – Pavel Buchnevich, maybe. Photo Credit: Getty Images/NHL/NYR

I’m really pressed for time, but since I’m about to bring up the Rangers Russian, check out this article from the NY Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/05/sports/olympics/ioc-russia-winter-olympics.html

In short, Russia is banned from the Olympics due to steroids/doping, but clean Russian athletes can compete in the Olympics, under the Olympic flag and not the Russian flag. I wonder how Ovechkin feels now? I do feel bad for the KHL guys and of course, for CZAR IGOR SHESTYORKIN, who will not be able to play for their country. However, the KHL & CZAR IGOR, could basically go for the gold, while playing for the Olympic flag. Time will tell what happens there.

However, when you look at Pavel Buchnevich and Jimmy Vesey, what a sophomore season they are both having. No sophomore slump here. With Buchnevich already at 10 goals, just think if he continues to progress and the Rangers can buy out CZAR IGOR, they could really be on to something. MAKE THE RANGERS RUSSIAN AGAIN!

Former Ranger Matt Hunwick would be penalized early in the period, sending the Rangers on the PP. However, a minute in, Shattenkirk would take a penalty, negating the Rangers PP and giving the Penguins a one minute PP. After a scoreless four on four, the Penguins made the most of their minute, as Hornqvist tied the game at 3 all.

On the goal, the Rangers were changing lines and Malkin made a blue line to blue line center ice pass to a blazing Hornqvist. Pavelec had no shot, as Hornqvist barreled down the ice and beat him glove side. This goal tied the game with under 17 minutes to go. However, it would thankfully be the last Pittsburgh goal of the game.

These Ranger fan testimonial commercials are brutal. This girl kept talking about her dad. I’m sure her dad is thrilled with her nose ring, looking like a mini-bull. And it’s okay for me to judge, because I can tell you this – my mother was not thrilled with me having a full sleeve tattoo at 16 years old. I waited until I had a career for life, before I tattooed uncoverable areas!

With Pittsburgh having the momentum and doing everything possible to take the lead, it would be the Rangers scoring the final goal of the game. With under 10 minutes to go, Pavel Buchnevich took a shot/pass, that bounced right off Kris Letang’s skate and the puck hopped up and went by Jarry. A total fluke job here, but you can’t score if you don’t shoot. Check it:

 

4-3 good guys and that would be your final score.

With time coming off the clock and with Jarry eventually pulled for the extra skater, Pavelec fought off the Pittsburgh attack. A scary shot from Malkin dinged off the post and a loose puck almost was accidentally knocked by Pavelec by McDonagh. Again, it was a lucky game for the Rangers, but for once, all the good luck was on their side.

Worth mentioning –  Pavelec is 1-0 against the Penguins and did not allow Crosby to score from behind his own goal line. Lundqvist is 0-1 and has given up several goals to Crosby from behind his goal line. Just saying!

At the end of the day, while this win doesn’t mean the Rangers are winning the Cup, as they still might not even make the playoffs, it gets them closer for the tournament in the Spring. Still, a lot of hockey left to play, but for tonight, a win is a win and you’ll take it anyway you can get it.

Speaking of the win, here’s a look at the updated standings:

Metropolitan Division W L OT PTS ROW GF GA HOME ROAD L10 STREAK
New Jersey Devils 16 7 4 36 14 84 81 6-4-2 10-3-2 5-3-2 W1
Columbus Blue Jackets 17 10 1 35 14 80 70 10-5-0 7-5-1 7-3-0 L2
New York Islanders 16 9 2 34 14 101 92 8-1-2 8-8-0 7-3-0 L1
Washington Capitals 16 11 1 33 14 84 84 10-5-0 6-6-1 6-4-0 W2
Pittsburgh Penguins 15 11 3 33 15 86 95 9-3-1 6-8-2 6-4-0 L1
New York Rangers 15 10 2 32 14 91 81 11-5-2 4-5-0 7-3-0 W2
Carolina Hurricanes 11 9 5 27 9 72 77 6-4-3 5-5-2 5-4-1 W1
Philadelphia Flyers 9 11 7 25 9 75 83 4-6-4 5-5-3 1-4-5 W1

In another season where it looks like two Metropolitan teams will be the two wild cards, the Capitals and the Penguins, hold the final two playoff spots in the East. However, the Rangers have games in hand on both. Not going to rehash everything, because you know my spiel from previous blogs, but if you just want to be in the playoffs & take a crack at it, despite 1 Cup in 77 years, then the Rangers are right there. If you want a team that has a realistic shot at the Cup, I just don’t think this team is it.

The last time the Rangers played the Capitals, Shattenkirk was wearing the DC jersey. Photo Credit: Getty Images/NHL

Up next, on Friday night, the Rangers meet the Capitals, in Washington, for their first of four meetings of the season. Both teams changed significantly in the off-season and most likely, will be dancing around each other in the standings. This will also be the Rangers second back-to-back of the season, as they will then host the Devils at MSG on Saturday night.

The schedule has been very good to the Rangers thus far, as it feels like they are having NFL bye weeks in between games. I don’t know what’s up with Lundqvist or if Micheletti gave him the flu by kissing his ass, but I am assuming Pavelec would start in Washington and if Lundqvist can get off his toilet throne, then he would start against the Devils on Saturday.

I think if you were told the Rangers would get 4 points, going into these three games with Pittsburgh, Washington and New Jersey, you would sign up for that. Well, the Rangers are 2-2 in the point department and will look to continue their win streak over Washington on Friday. I should be back after that game, with a much shorter blog than tonight!

Thanks for staying through this long-ass manifesto and as always, thanks for reading and….

“LET’S GO RANGERS”

Sean McCaffrey

BULLSMC@aol.com

@NYCTHEMIC on the tweet tweet

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