NYR/FLA Review: A Complete Team Effort Results in a Much Needed Win, Rick Nash Sighting, Fourth Line Dominates, Rangers Shaky Third Periods, Where Were These Refs in 2014 & More

The Rangers Fourth Line were the best line on the ice tonight.

I love saying “where to start?” after a win!

What’s up everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. I know I said yesterday that I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to recap this game. I originally planned on attending, but since we were let out of work early today, I didn’t feel like fighting the LIRR twice in one day and watched it in the man-cave. I love going to Ranger games, but a late night LIRR train, with a 5AM LIRR train the next morning looming, is a recipe for madness. Plus, I’m going to Montreal on Saturday and will be at the Easter game against Pittsburgh. So missing one game isn’t the end of the world. At least that’s what I’m telling myself right now!

After one of their most pathetic games of the season on Saturday afternoon, the Rangers rebounded and beat a top team in the Florida Panthers on Monday night. If you’re a regular reader of this blog and a follower of me on the twitter @NYCTHEMIC, you may know I am known for placing a wager or two on a game. I had a few pennies on this game, because I really thought the Rangers would pull it out.

While the Rangers have had their dicks stomped on, plenty of times, this season, the majority of the time, when they have a bad loss, they are able to rebound with a statement win. It’s happened several times, with the Simmonds incident/Flyers game, being one that sticks out particularly.  For as bad as the Rangers can be at times, they are remarkably resilient. Resilient to beat the Capitals in a 7 game series this year? Only time will tell.

Many newspaper writers, bloggers, players, fans and anyone else  that watches this team had tons of things to say after the Shark loss. Some are calling for Girardi’s head. Some are calling for AV’s job. Some are saying “Zed is dead”. Even after a win, I go back to what I’ve been saying all season – “this team is consistently inconsistent.” Even after a game like this, I can see the Rangers shitting the bed against Boston, then destroying Montreal & Pittsburgh this weekend.

However, at least for one night, the Rangers had a great effort from everyone from the goalie to the coaches to the first line to the fourth line. The only issue and criticism I have with this team after tonight’s win, is that they still fall apart and are shakier than Michael J. Fox, in the third period.

“Oh shit, it’s the third period!”

The Rangers dominated the first two stanzas of this game. Just take a look at the shot statistics through the 3 periods:

Shots On Goal courtesy of ESPN.com

Team 1st 2nd 3rd T
Florida 3 9 15 27
New York Rangers 8 15 9 32

The Rangers TEAM, not one player, were dominant in the first and played great hockey in the second. However, with a 2-0 lead entering the third, the Rangers went back to their punt/prevent defense style of game. WHY? Whenever the Rangers are leading, heading into the third, get a psychiatrist, a psychologist, a proctologist or whatever, and put him/her/transgender (Being PC here!) in that locker room.

Whether it’s a mental thing or the Rangers have their heads up their asses (Hence the need for a proctologist) they just go into “Walking Dead” walker mode in the third. Luckily, they were able to do the impossible tonight – score on a third period power play (Rick Nash of all people) and get an empty net goal (Tanner Motherfucking Glass of all people).

I don’t want to sound too negative, because this was a huge win for the team. However, these third period collapses, lapses and offensive relapses need to be solved before the playoffs.

We all have seen the Rangers struggle in the third period. The only thing I’ll say and leave it at that, is that the Rangers need to play every third period like they are down 3-0. They gotta stop doing this NFL prevent defense, because all it does is prevent them from closing out games in ease. There was no reason the Rangers had to sweat out this win. They were superior tonight and were the better team. There was no reason to give Florida hope.

Zucc had plenty to smile about tonight

This was a team win in every way. I still find it funny that whenever Hank makes a save, I get a million tweets saying “Hank is king”, “Hank is carrying this team”, “Hank is the best ever omg!” but when he gives up a goal, I get “It’s the team’s fault”, “It’s a team sport”, “The defense let him down”. I need a job where I’m credited for all my success and never have to take any blame!

Hank played well tonight. In fact, every Ranger played well. I think at times, fans go too berzerk (I know, ironic coming from me) over turnovers. It’s what happens. The other team is talented too you know!

Since I’m pressed for time (I’m only going to have 4 hours to sleep by the time this is done), let’s get into the official scoring sheet, then follow up with more game thoughts. I feel like a crack addict going a million miles a minute in my head, because there is so much good stuff to get into after this game.

As always, credit ESPN for the box score and my notes are in italics:

1st Period Summary

Time Team Scoring Detail FLA NYR
11:15
Viktor Stalberg (9)
Assist: Dominic Moore

 

The fourth line got the scoring going, as Stalberg, racing to the net, was able to bury a nice pass from Moore past Florida back-up goalie Al Montoya.

0 1
Time Team Penalty Detail
19:53
Vincent Trocheck: 2 Minutes for Roughing Dominic Moore
19:53
Dominic Moore: 2 Minutes for Roughing Vincent Trocheck

2nd Period Summary

Time Team Scoring Detail FLA NYR
3:33
Mats Zuccarello (23) (Power Play)
Assists: Derick Brassard, Derek Stepan

 

The first of two powerplay goals of the night. Yes, I checked if pigs were flying too.Zucc, with a fighting spinarama, was able to beat Montoya from a central position on the ice. I don’t even think Montoya saw the puck.

In fact, this goal was so pretty, you gotta see it for yourself:

0 2
Time Team Penalty Detail
2:31
Vincent Trocheck: 2 Minutes for Hooking Mats Zuccarello
11:06
Derick Brassard: 2 Minutes for Delay of Game Steven Kampfer
11:06
Steven Kampfer: 2 Minutes for Delay of Game Derick Brassard

3rd Period Summary

Time Team Scoring Detail FLA NYR
6:51
Vincent Trocheck (23)
Assists: Jussi Jokinen, Reilly Smith

 

The Panthers started from their defensive zone, passed the puck around and Jokinen found Trocheck in front of Lundqvist for the goal. Rangers twitter blamed Yandle for not stopping the play, but did not blame Lundqvist for not making a save he’s made a million times in his prime. Funny how that works. It was a tough shot to stop, but Hank has done it before.

1 2
11:14
Rick Nash (13)
Assist: Kevin Klein

 

This is not a typo. I thought this was a PP goal, as it looked like he scored it with 1 second left on a PP, but I guess the official clock isn’t the same as the MSG network clock. More on Nash below.

1 3
19:24
Jiri Hudler (14) (Power Play)
Assists: Teddy Purcell, Dmitry Kulikov

 

A 6 vs 4 goal, as Montoya was pulled for the empty netter. I don’t blame Hank here, but still, the Rangers continue to infuriate fans late into games.

2 3
19:51
Tanner Glass (4) (Empty Net)
Assist: Kevin Klein

 

Leave it to Tanner Glass to close the game out and leave Ranger fans in a state of elation!

2 4
Time Team Penalty Detail
9:14
Jonathan Huberdeau: 2 Minutes for High-sticking Chris Kreider
17:59
Viktor Stalberg: 2 Minutes for Tripping Jonathan Huberdeau

Rick Nash finally scored a goal tonight.

If you know me in person, or feel like you know me from these blogs/twitter, you know I value the worth of a players contract against the salary cap. As much as I get on Lundqvist, at least he plays and usually plays well. Still think he’s a hypocrite, but you already know my rant on that.

For Rick Nash, and again, you’ve heard this before from me, for $7.8M a season, he is the least productive player in the league, when you compare his stats against anyone making similar money to him.

In my wildest and wet dreams, Lundqvist and Nash both play up to their contracts. Obviously, Lundqvist has been a huge player in the playoffs before. I just think he’s peaked. The Lundqvist of old, doesn’t blow 2 goal leads or give up 2 touchdowns in 2 straight playoff games. However, Lundqvist was phenomenal, even at 33 years old, against the Pens & Caps last season, in the playoffs.

Rick Nash on the other hand, not so much. Rick Nash has been playing well – if he was making $2.5 million a season. He drives to the net. Good on the PK. Takes shots. Doesn’t overpass. What he doesn’t do well is finish and score goals this season.

I pray to the Hockey Gods (and I’m an atheist, but if I have to pray to a hockey god for a Rangers Cup, then so be it) that Rick Nash can turn it on.

The pessimist in me says that Nash scored a goal here tonight, and that’s that. I really hope he can turn it on. Can you imagine Rick Nash playing up to his potential/contract? The Rangers would be unstoppable.

What some of the critics of this blog don’t understand is that I want this team to win. It’s hard not to be negative, especially when you’ve only seen one cup in your lifetime and there are only 4 in a near 90 year old history. I really hope Nash can use this goal as a “monkey off his back” type of thing and streak into the playoffs. A scoring and healthy Rick Nash puts his team in every game they have moving forward.

For one day at least, get rid of that milk carton. Rick Nash has been found.

For at least one night, AV can smile again.

Many people are criticizing AV for the Rangers recent troubles. I am not one of those people. I still believe AV has the “Midas touch” and has been the best coach the Rangers have had in some time. It’s tough to rank the top Ranger coaches in history, but to me Lester Patrick, Emile Francis, Frank Boucher and yes, John Tortorella has to be there. Before you say Mike Keenan, he had a great team in front of him and bailed on his team during that 1994 run.

In AV’s first two seasons with the team, he led them to a Stanley Cup appearance and an ECF Game 7. The chapter remains to be written on this season, but AV has done a great job of maintaining second place in a division where the Capitals are just running wild.

Do you blame AV for the Ranger’s third period woes or lack of effort during games? If you do, I can see why you would underrate him. That said, he wins and anyone looking for him to be fired is a fool.

AV has had some hard decisions to make recently. His love for Tanner Glass is paying off, at the expense of Oscar Lindberg. With the way the fourth line has played since the west coast trip, it would be hard to envision Lindberg in the line-up for the playoffs, barring a major meltdown. Sucks for Lindberg, but for a win-now team, Lindberg is the odd-man out. You go with experience.

AV switched around his first and second lines, promoting Fast to the first line (Nash/Brass) and putting Zucc with Stepan & Kreider. It worked tonight.

The only real knock I’ll give AV, is that Klein should’ve been McDonagh’s partner a long time ago. As long as the switch stays for the playoffs, I have no complaints.

The Great Jagr was honored at MSG tonight.

There’s so much to say, but when I tell you this was a great team win, believe me!

I said earlier on this site that due to my work schedule, some blogs would be quicker than others. I just want to hit a few things in random order.

QUICK SHOTS:

  • Credit the Rangers for honoring Jaromir Jagr for moving into third place in goals and points scored in NHL history. For the first time in a while, it’s a slam dunk Jagr is returning next season. When it’s all said and done, he should pass Messier (points) and Howe (goals) for second place all time in points and goals. We are watching a living legend.
  • It still drives me nuts that Sather ran Jagr out of here. If you don’t like Jagr, you must be a fan of ISIS.  He’s a top 5 player of all time to me.
  • That said, credit the Rangers for not allowing Jagr to get on the board tonight. That’s not easy these days!
  • The fourth line had an insane Corsi number after two periods. I don’t invest too much into stats, especially this new Corsi stat, made up by basement geeks, because games are won on the ice. That said, it’s nice to see a stat reflect the play on the ice.
  • Speaking of stats, did you know Ryan McDonagh is second in the league, among defensemen, in the plus/minus stat?
  • This is a team I believe in and want to see every night. When I get the “R U RELLY A RAINGERZ FAN” comments, it does drive me nuts for a second, then I realize where it’s coming from. Some idiot from his mother’s basement, you know, like Seth Rothman, a reporter that wasn’t allowed to go to road games. I spend $10K a season on this team, thru tickets, road trips, merchandise, pucks, jerseys, etc, so I don’t really need to justify my “fandom” to people. When I criticize the team, and people don’t understand why, it shows your age. One cup in my lifetime. I’m a Yankee & Giant fan and indifferent (meaning I hope they win, but I don’t give a shit if they don’t) to the Knicks. I just want a Ranger’s Cup in my adult life.
  • When the Rangers play like this, they are unbeatable. That is what drives me nuts about Lundqvist blowing two goal leads, the team coming out like shit for the third period, Rick Nash missing, a horrible PP, a useless PK, and guys not showing up. If you get the same effort from this team, every fucking night, there is no reason not to be  talking Cup aspirations.
  • With the Rangers win and Islanders loss, the Islanders find themselves fighting for a playoff spot through the wild card. Some teams match up better against other teams, and I don’t think the Rangers match up well with the Islanders.  They do match up better with Pittsburgh tho…
  • Bottom line, when it comes to predicting who’s playing who in the playoffs – don’t. We won’t know shit til the second to last, if not last, game of the season. The Islanders just found a perfect time (if you’re a Rangers fan) to fall apart. It helps the Ranger fan cause with Halak being injured too.
  • Rick Nash got the broadway hat tonight. If it was me, I thought Stalberg deserved it.
  • How about Brassard sticking up for Tanner Glass and picking a fight with Trocheck? Nice to see Brassard sticking up for his scorers!
  • This was the best the Rangers PP has been in a while.
  • How bad are these referees? I wish we had them in the 2014 Cup. There was one sequence, where Hank was probably credited with 11 saves. The refs blocked a Panthers goal, as one ref was in the crease during play! How the fuck does that happen? Then, the Panthers scored, but the ref waved it off immediately, calling high stick. Even more impressive, replays of  these potential Panther goals were concluded in less than a minute. The Rangers had a horseshoe up their ass, as they NEVER get help from Toronto.
  • Back to that play in the second period, with Lundqvist making a ton of saves. Really – how does a ref stand in the crease during a scoring play? It did work out for the Rangers, but what if a puck deflected into the net off the ref’s skate? Then what? I’m used to NFL refs being bad with the gambling and fixed games and all, but I can’t remember, in my 33 years, the NHL officiating being this bad. I used to praise the NHL for having the best refs in the four sports. Now I think MLB has that distinction. More frustrating about this play was that a whistle was blown earlier in the game during a Rangers rush, while this play went on forever with no whistle.
  • Who has a tougher time closing out games in 2015-2016 – the Rangers or the NY Giants?
  • Tanner “MOTHERFUCKING” Glass. That is all. You know what I’ve been saying about him ever since he was recalled.

The Rangers have an NBC game Wednesday night.

Up next is an NBC “Rivalry” night game on Wednesday with the Rangers hosting the Bruins. I hate these 8PM starts. Place your bets now – who will be the biggest douchebag for the course of 3 hours – Milbury, McGuire or Marchand?

For me and this blog, I’ll try to recap that game, even if it’s quick one. On Thursday, after work, I head to Montreal again and will watch the boys try to shake off the bad luck and get a win in French-Canada, this Saturday. On Easter Sunday, I return home and will be at MSG to see a big showdown with Pittsburgh. Depending on my travel, I’ll try to have something up after both games.

If there is anything you take out of this game or out of this blog tonight, let it be this- “THIS WAS A HUGE TEAM WIN AND PROVED THE RANGERS CAN WIN ANY GAME WHEN THEY GIVE 100%.”

I got a train in 4 hours!

As always,

LET’S GO RANGERS

Sean McCaffrey

BULLSMC@aol.com

@NYCTHEMIC on the tweet tweet

Comments

  1. Anyone who lists John Tortorella as one of the top coaches in Ranger history PLUS leaves off Mike Keenan is insane. But then again, still whining about the 2014 refs pretty much destroys their credibility anyway,

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