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That’s enough of an intro. For over 140+ minutes, aside from Rick Nash’s empty net goal on Saturday night, the Rangers have been held scoreless. During their recent 13 out of 14 game win streak, the Rangers had many nights of putting up 3, 4 and 5 goals on any given night. They were putting Papajohns out of business faster than Peyton Manning being bounced out in a first round playoff game.
Whether you want to say that the Rangers feasted on many bottom feeder teams, during their recent streak or that they were playing their best hockey of the season, as was evident during their Western Canada and California road trips, the Rangers have came down to earth these last two games. This was a bad time to revert to the Rangers of November, as the Rangers are being dominated by Eastern Conference teams, chasing the same playoff spots as the Blueshirts.
This game felt like it was going to be just like the Islander game, very early into the first period. The Rangers gave up a quick goal, and a bad goal at that. As I predicted in my blog on Tuesday, I felt Cam Talbot would start, because Boston has made Henrik Lundqvist their personal bitch during the last three seasons. Lundqvist would rather play the lesser Columbus Blue Jackets, than suffer two back-to-back losses, especially since he has a bad history against Boston.
While the first goal Cam Talbot let up, early in the first period, was on him, I thought he played a good game. Unlike Lundqvist, he came out for the third period, despite his team losing the game. Every fan loves to see their goalie give it his all and play a full 60 minutes. You don’t see Cam wearing that Gatorade scarf during his games, unlike Hank.
Since everyone knows I’m a Talbot guy, I’ll guess I’ll get this out of the way – please read “Moneyball” by Billy Beane. Talbot gets $550,000 a season vs Hank’s $8.5 million a year. Hank hasn’t stolen any games this year. His teammates don’t hang out with him socially. His teammates don’t include him in team pictures. Hank is about conditioner and his many boats. Hank is very quick to blame his team for losses, where Talbot said tonight, “It’s on me.” Just a different quality of player. I’m assuming many of you reading this played some sort of team sport during your lifetime, and to break it down, Talbot is the guy you’d rather play and hang with. Lundqvist comes off like the spoiled coach’s son.
Many people argued and disagreed with me, when I said that Lundqvist would skip this game. Just read the facts and look at the games Hank has played this year. Hank is very quick to take on the Sabres or Oilers, but when every Ranger was looking for revenge on LA, Hank was nowhere to be found. Talbot did what Lundqvist couldn’t do, and beat LA.
Since I feel like I have to say it time and time again, please let me make myself clear here, for the last fucking time. I DO NOT HATE HENRIK LUNDQVIST. In my opinion, he’s the third best goalie in Rangers history, behind Richter and Eddie G. He has been a savior of this franchise. He just had bad timing. He never had teams that could score for him. He stole games. He advanced this team in playoff rounds. However, he’s not the Hank of old. So many times in sports we’ve seen big time contracts come back to bite a team in the ass, and that’s my issue. He’s not worth 10% of team payroll. If he’s this inconsistent now, what is he going to be 3-4 years from now, with 4 years left on that deal?
Put it this way, despite winning 13/14 games, with two goalies hurt and taken out of the All-Star Game, Hank wasn’t thought of. $8.5 fucking million in the first year and he can’t even make the ASG? This is not good, Ranger fans. So when you see me bringing up Talbot vs Hank points, please be advised it’s because I think his contract hurts this team now and going into the future.
As far as this game goes, it was a game about FAT. Faceoffs and Turnovers. Just like the Islanders game, the Rangers got dominated in the faceoff stats and made killer turnovers. Talbot fanboy shit aside, I’m surprised this game wasn’t 6-0 with the looks Boston was getting.
On the Rangers side, they came off flatter than a Chinese chick’s ass. The opportunities they did get, Rask shut them down or the Rangers just whiffed. In the first period alone, Kreider and Nash were stoned by Rask, with Hags hitting post. It’s like the NHL has shortened the nets during these last few games.
Marty St. Louis, who sometimes is either really big in Ranger wins or seems like he wasn’t on the ice at all, via the stat sheet, had an easy goal in the second period, that he just missed. It came off of a beautiful rush. These breakaways the Rangers got in this game, are the goals the Rangers have been getting during this whole win streak.
Again, like the Islander game on Tuesday, the Rangers played the majority of the game on defense. Most of the game was the Rangers losing a faceoff, getting back on D, hoping to clear the puck and making a line change. There is no way to build momentum like this. I really felt that Doc Brown brought the Rangers back to the beginning of this season. It’s like what happened the last three weeks never occurred.
If there were any positives to take out of this game, the Rangers powerplay got many opportunities, despite not scoring. The penalty kill was perfect, even during a 4:00 double minor. Talbot kept the Rangers alive and didn’t let this game get out of hand. Talbot made 29 saves on 32 shots. I was surprised the Bruins didn’t have more shots, based on the way this game played out.
With Derek Stepan hurt, the Rangers inserted Tanner Glass into the line-up, for the first time this year. He was an AV favorite early into this season, but recently found himself as a healthy scratch, more because everyone was producing better than him, than anything else. It’s unfortunate the Rangers sent down Anthony Duclair, because there are going to be injuries down the stretch. Perhaps injecting The Duke into the line-up would’ve given the Rangers fresh blood.
Tanner Glass has been a waste this season. I would’ve rather seen Derek Dorsett in his Rangers #15 sweater. He’s not scoring. Sure he’s getting a ton of hits, but you can get that from Dan Carcillo too. I hated, hated, hated, the Rangers sending down Duclair. I hope it doesn’t bite them in the ass, are guys are due to get injured and sometimes, you’re gonna wanna give a guy a rest.
There’s not much else I can say about this game, outside of that it was a complete shit show. I watch the majority of the games with my good friend/next door neighbor, and we both agreed that the Rangers had no chance very early. The speed wasn’t there. The physicality wasn’t there. Converting on opportunities wasn’t there.
This was a horrible loss. If the season ended today, the Rangers play the Islanders in the first round. You think any Ranger fan wants to deal with that right now?
If there was any good news about tonight, in the NHL, it was that Michael Del Zotto was embarrassed several times by the Canucks. Hey, it’s something.
Rangers embark on the rest of their tough January schedule with two road games, one with Columbus tomorrow and Pittsburgh on Sunday, before finishing up with Ottawa, at home, before the All-Star break. On the ASG, I feel like both Kevin Klein and Jagr, of the Devils, were two huge snubs. I’m a Jagr guy, let me say that, but Jagr potentially could’ve been a 1000NHL goal scorer if he didn’t lose 5 years with lockouts/KHL. He’s one of the top 5 players ever in the NHL, in my opinion. Just a shame the NHL snubbed him for some loser from Carolina or Edmonton.
I’d also expect Chris Kreider to be suspended after his cheap hit in the third period. The guy needs to learn how to fight if he’s gonna play dirty.
I’ll be back tomorrow, hopefully recapping a Rangers win over Columbus.
Until then and forever, LET’S GO RANGERS. IN CAM WE TRUST.
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