NYR/CBJ Recap: Closing in on First, In Cam We Trust, Marty Heating Up & More From MSG

IN CAM WE TRUST

Welcome everyone to another blog here on DOINOW.com. I am happy to report that we have found a new webmaster here, so later this week, you will see many changes to this site, making the site more user friendly, easier to read on phones/ipads and more interactive. For anyone who writes/promotes/sells anything Ranger related, either email or tweet at me. We will link it in our new RANGER REACHOUT section. We will also be working on a new podcast, as veteran Mets blogger/jack-of-all-trades, Joe DiLeo will be joining this site. Where I will be doing Yankee blogs from time-to-time, Joe will add regular material on his beloved New York Mets. This site will always remain Rangers first, everything else second, but we are going to try to add more views/opinions and topics as well.

Thanks again to everyone for spreading the word about the site, it is appreciated. There’s a lot to get into, so as always, tip your bartender, don’t eat the chicken at the Nassau Coliseum, try the “to-go” soup at the Bold O’Donoghues and as always, IN CAM WE TRUST.

Sunday, 2/22, was a great day for NHL. Dubbed as “Hockey Day in America”, by the NHL Network at least, there was a lot of action to watch. I kicked off the day watching the Flyers beat the Caps. What a game. I couldn’t believe I fist pumped and cheered after a Michael Del Zaster play. From there, it was Boston vs Chicago, where the Bruins drubbed the Blackhawks. The Rangers have the Blackhawks twice in March, so I’m hoping Chicago doesn’t figure out their problems any time soon.

Of course, I had tickets to the Rangers game tonight, courtesy of season ticket holder, JEFFREY, who is now known as JEFFREY Samardzjia by his friends. JEFFREY, being ever so bougias, wasn’t happy with his center ice seats in the 200’s. As I was buying beers for our train ride, JEFFREY flipped our center ice 200 level seats on stubhub and for $20 more, turned them into seats in the 100’s. IN JEFFREY WE TRUST.

IJWT?

JEFFREY, who is friends with a website that I spend a lot of money on, the guys over at WEBLEEDBLUE.com, wanted to check out Hudson Station. I wanted to check it out as well because I will be doing an upcoming blog on every Ranger bar in NYC and that was the only Ranger bar that I’ve never visited. In addition, JEFFREY wants to to hit the WEBLEEDBLUE.com NYR v PHI party next Saturday night. This was a way to do recon on the bar. While I’m not a fan of doing stairs to go to the bathroom, we will be there next Saturday night.

While at Hudson Station, on 35th & 9th, I found out they give out free beers if you have a ticket to the game. With many bars to chose from, this makes going here much easier. Free beer is always a good thing.

My girlfriend had a class in the city that let out around 5PM. With her friend, myself and JEFFREY, we enjoyed our stay at Hudson Station and saw the Canucks take a 1-0 lead before we had to depart to Penn Station. Caps lost. Isles were losing. It just felt like a Blueshirt victory was in the air.

I need to charge my phone

Heading into MSG, I gotta ask- what’s with the down escalators? You got 20,000 people entering a building. No one is going down. You have lines going to 7th ave with the slow airport security checkers. There’s gotta be a better way to speed things up. I love going to MSG, even if it’s a bigger rape than that black girl getting raped in “SHOWGIRLS” on my wallet, but they really make things inconvenient. You gotta wait 20 minutes to get in. Shuffle in like cattle to one escalator. Then if you gotta take a piss, it’s a half hour ordeal. No wonder I just take an empty beer cup and piss in the staircase! When they rebuilt MSG, they should’ve taken a page out of the Rock’s blueprint. MSG just always seems like a hassle.

Examining the game as a whole, this felt like a game the Rangers have played as of late. Dominate the first two periods, fall apart in the third and hope for some heroics. I’ve talked about a few things in the last several blogs, one being the powerplay and the other being the defensemen pinching. The powerplay, while looking pretty, was horrible tonight, going 0-5. Sure, it looks good, but that only goes so far. You need to produce goals, especially against less than stellar teams. I thought the defensemen, while having several lapses, were more conservative than they have been as late.

JEFFREY really did well, getting us seats next to Cam!

Cam Talbot, back in net, after giving Skapski a start on Friday night wound up improving to 6-1-2 as the Rangers starting goalie. The only thing that matters is the W and 2 points. However, he hasn’t been as sharp as he’s been when he was just the back-up. Sure, his defense has let him down at points, but there was times during his back-up run where he just stole games and made superhuman saves. Outside the games with Boston & Arizona, while he’s made great and spectacular saves, he’s done enough to win games, just not steal them. You could’ve said he won this game after two periods, but the Rangers broke down yet again, in the third.

John Moore, who is always rotating with Matt Hunwick, as the Rangers 6th defenseman, took a dumb penalty early into the game. Talbot stopped everything at him. The Rangers special teams have been night and day. While the penalty kill has been good as of late, the powerplay has not produced goals.

The heroes of Sunday’s game

The first three lines of the Rangers have been clicking as of late, with only the fourth line being subpar. Tanner Glass is a poor excuse for a hockey player. Why did Sather take him instead of Derek Dorsett again? Glass has set the record for least amount of points by a Rangers forward in forever. (I’m too lazy/been drinking to look up the exact stat, but trust me, he sucks!) Stempniak has been sitting on scoring milestones for what seems the last 12-15 games as well. Moore has played decent enough, but is being dragged down by his linemates.

The third line, of Hags/Miller/Hayes has been playing particularly well as of late, so it came to no one’s surprise when Hayes took a pass from Hagelin and buried it past CBJ netminder, Curtis McElhinney. McElhinney’s hiney was burnt, giving the Rangers a 1-0 lead, early into the first period.

Marty St. Louis, invisible just a week ago, banged in another goal, as he’s been streaking like Will Ferrell in “Old School”, taking a one timer pass and slamming it home. 2-0 good guys, end of the first period.

I let Michael J. Fox take this picture from my phone after MSL’s goal

You know I’ve said it a million times on this blog, but I’m so happy to see MSL do well. I’ll never forget what MSL did for the team last year. His tenure with the NYR isn’t long, but man, it’s been memorable. He’s a streaky player, so I’m glad he’s streaking now. The Rangers need MSL to be his best, come playoff time. It was great to see Marty at his best, as he took a pass from Ryan McDonagh, in the second period, and whipped it right past McElhinney for his 18th goal of the season. 3-0 good guys, but with a lot of time left on the clock.

In what seems to be a bad trend for the Rangers this season, after a big momentum changing goal, the opposition came right back. This time, it was in the form of Marko Dano, who got a wide open look at Talbot, after a pass from Nick Foligno. 3-1 good guys, with more than half the game to go.

The Rangers looked like they would take the insurance goal lead into the third, but somehow, former Ranger, Artem Anisimov snuck a goal past Talbot’s skate. It wasn’t pretty, and it should’ve been stopped, but it trickled in like a water going down the drain via a leaky faucet. 3-2 good guys, third period on its way.

Trying to get a beer before third period is always fun

You know me, I’m a Cam Talbot guy. Yes, Lundqvist is the better goalie, but for the value, Talbot is great. Since Hank has been down, the Rangers are 7-1-2. They have a better winning percentage without Hank. Yes, it has to do with quality of opposition and the fact the Rangers are putting Papajohn’s out of business. (For the record, I won’t eat that crap until  Mr. Papa John decides to spend his money on his worker’s healthcare rather than spending millions advertising with a league that promotes dog killers, rapists, murderers, DWI’s, women beaters and child abusers, but that’s a story for a different blog.)

While the Rangers dominated the first and first half of the second period, another ugly trend kicked in. Saying the Rangers “fell apart” would be exaggerating a bit, but they allowed a team they were dominating to stay around. The foot was off the gas pedal, so to speak. Columbus got their second goal, a cheap one before the second period expired. The Rangers would then be out-shot, dominated and couldn’t get clears when they needed to. Even more depressing, the powerplay went 0-5. The powerplay needs juice, or whatever electricity pun you want to make. It’s looked nice, but it’s not producing goals. That shit won’t fly come playoff time.

With the Foxwood Final 5 graphic flashing to people at home, David Savard was able to get a long shot past Talbot. I thought it was a bad goal on Talbot’s part, even if the Rangers defense broke down and the skaters look tired. Listen, Talbot makes $8 million less than Hank, but I feel he was making these saves as a back-up. I don’t know if it’s all the games he’s getting, he scouts his starts better or he will become a better starter with experience, but blowing a 3 goal lead, under any circumstance, is Jaroslav Halakesque. I’m the biggest Talbot fan in the world and while he’s played great, he isn’t making the superman saves he was making as a back-up.

With the score 3-3, and with the Islanders & Caps losing, all you had to root for was a point. The Rangers did skate to overtime, played the five minute overtime, blew another powerplay opportunity, overpassed themselves out of wide open shots and when it was all said and done, it was time for the skills competition shoot-out to determine a winner.

Talbot was lights out in the shootout & has a better shootout record this season than Hank

These shootouts are so stressful. I get why the NHL has them, as they want to draw more fans to the sport, but to determine a game with an All-Star activity, after 65 minutes of hockey is a hair-losing experience. It’s great when you win them (Look at the Islander’s record) but horrendous when you lose them. You either walk out mumbling about a point or jumping up & down that you got two points the cheap way. Luckily for me, I was jumping up and down on the LIRR on the way home.

Marty St. Louis, hot as fuck, scored first on the shootout. I wondered why MSL & Nash weren’t in the shootout against Vancouver, but happy they were here tonight. However, Letestu snuck one by Talbot. The Rangers responded, as Talbot stopped his next two shots in his direction and Nash scored the game winner. MSL & Nash won the shoot-out. I hope AV is asked why these two weren’t involved on the shootout vs VAN.

For Cam Talbot, it’s the first shootout victory of his career. I’m glad to have been in the building to witness it.

For the Rangers as a whole, it was a win. Not the best win. While the Rangers are on a 7-1-2 streak without Hank, there is plenty of room for improvement. The powerplay needs to get better. They need to play a full 60 minutes. The weak side of their game won’t be analyzed when they win and Ranger fans have every right to pump their chest out right now, but the Rangers need to improve if they are to go deep in the playoffs.

The usual post-game celebration, slamming 3 liter Boots of German beer with JEFFREY Samardzjia

Let’s take a look at the updated standings:

Islanders – 80 points in 61 GP
Rangers- 78 points in 58 GP
Penguins – 77 points in 60 GP

As a Rangers fan, you have to feel nice. You have not only a shot at getting first place this week, but also have a legit shot at the President’s Trophy. You are a win away, with three games in hand, of taking first place from the Islanders. There’s still 20+ left games in the regular season and anything can happen, but with the face of the franchise for the last ten years out, the Rangers have played even better without him. IN CAM WE TRUST! (Sorry, had to put that there.)

When you look at it, the February schedule, despite a lot of road games, favored the Rangers. Many heavy hitters await the Rangers in March, but the first place Islanders have a ton of road games coming up. For what it’s worth, the two NY teams are dominating the NHL right now, and you have to love that as a NY hockey fan. The Metropolitan division is full of goliaths this year.

The Rangers look to extinguish the Flames (best pun I can come up with at 2:30 am) on Tuesday. Look for the big guy in the Cam Talbot jersey in the building that night. Feel free to buy me Molson while you’re at it too!

There will be a major overhaul to this site this week. I hope to get your reaction, to the positive changes we will be making.

Upcoming blogs/subjects, outside of NYR game recaps, coming up will be looking at the top NYR pregame bars to visit and looking at one of my favorite all-time Yankees, Bernie Williams.

I’ll definitely be back late Tuesday night, with Calgary/NYR reaction.

Until then…

LET’S GO RANGERS
IN CAM WE TRUST
JEFFREY!

Sean McCaffrey
BULLSMC@aol.com
@NYCTHEMIC on the twitter machine

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