|One more win & the Rangers are Obama!|
Welcome everyone to another Rangers recap blog here, on DOINOW.com. It’s been a huge and busy day site wise. Joe DiLeo and myself submitted two blogs each. Check out the main page or the archives directly, for Joe’s Sandy Alderson Book Review, as well as his Mets Opening Day recap. I also posted my “Deception & Doublecross” Book Review, as well as a Yankees Opening Day recap.
As far as twitter nonsense, you can follow Joe, who is covering the Mets this season on DOINOW.com @maximussexpower. I’m still at @nycthemic.
There’s a lot to get into tonight, so buckle up, don’t drink and drive, tip your bartenders, try to shart over a toilet and always, and I mean ALWAYS, use “IN CAM WE TRUST” as your personal mantra.
|The goalie with the better numbers this season, Cam Talbot, won the Steve McDonald Extra Effort Award|
Cam Talbot, who saved the Rangers season when Henrik Lundqvist went down, won the Steve McDonald Extra Effort award, before tonight’s NYR/CBJ game. Talbot won this prestigious award for digging the Rangers out of a 12 point hole that Henrik Lundqvist had them in, and helping the Rangers become the best team in the NHL in every facet possible – point wise, ROW, head-to-head and whatever else you can come up with.
During Talbot’s impressive streak as starter, he never lost two regulation games in a row, and wound up finishing at 16-3-3. Talbot was also named one of the NHL’s star of the week on two occasions. Talbot also put up better numbers than Henrik Lundqvist during his time as starter. In addition, Talbot was never blown out like Henrik Lundqvist (Who has been blown out 9 times this year) and beat every team Lundqvist was crushed by. (The Islanders, Boston Bruins, etc.)
Cam Talbot, who gets paid $8 Million less than Lundqvist, certainly put in the extra effort this season. If he wasn’t backing up Henrik Lundqvist, he would’ve continued to start, for any other team, save perhaps Montreal, Nashville or LA.
Obviously, we know I’ve been singing the praises of Talbot before this season even started. While he deserves to be starter, because he’s played better THIS SEASON, this consolation price was a good way to honor him. While the Steve McDonald award is prestigious and nice, a Conn Smythe award, while hoisting the Stanley Cup is the goal of any hockey player.
|The best autograph in my collection!|
It is funny, Al Trautwig interviewed Talbot during the first intermission. While Al Trautwig asks nothing but softballs and terrible questions all the time, for the first time, you got the feeling that Talbot needs to spread his wings elsewhere. I wish Trautwig asked Cam straight up what his feelings are, but I guess it wasn’t the time or place for that. Talbot did confirm what I’ve been saying all along, that his one-on-one time with Benoit Allaire changed his game for the best. Allaire also deserves an award, if it’s up to me.
It is a shame that some Ranger fans forget where they were before Hank went down. If it wasn’t for Cam Talbot, this team is not winning the President’s Trophy. I’ll save you why I think Hank is overrated, overpaid and at times, a whiny little bitch diatribe for another time, but it’s a shame that so many people are quick to kick Cam to the curb, after all the work he did this year. It was good to see Steve McDonald honor him.
While on Steve McDonald, what a strong fellow. His speech before announcing Talbot as the winner was great. It was really emotional and it fired me up for the game too. McDonald name-dropped Dubinsky for a thunderous “DU-BY” reaction. McDonald put over the fans for being in MSG, and not at home or elsewhere, to watch the NCAA championship. McDonald obviously has trouble speaking, due to his injury on the job, but to see the crowd hanging on his every last breath, to hear how knowledgeable he was and his spirit bursting out, it was just a great moment. Thank you Steve McDonald for your service.
|Keep on Steppan!|
After McDonald & Co. were done giving Talbot his award (No speech), we had the National Anthem and bam, game time. While the Rangers did win this game 4-3 in OT, this was one of those games the Rangers found a way to win. They didn’t play a full 60 minutes. The turnovers were all over the place again. The powerplay, while it looked good at times, didn’t deliver results. You also had those periods of time where no matter what, the Rangers couldn’t get a clear or possession of the puck.
Lundqvist, who did play strong for the majority of the game made me nervous. You know the deal, highest paid goalie in the league, wants to be called King, etc. However, Columbus got more long rebounds against Hank than Dennis Rodman did in his prime. On the other end, Sergei Bobrovsky, winner of 8 straight, was making glove saves left & right and did not give up too many second chances.
The Rangers had two leads in this game, that were both lost. They then let Columbus take the lead, and if it wasn’t for pulling Hank with a minute left, the Rangers lose this game. Again, the team found a way to win, but can this style of play and the average goaltending work against a playoff team? Looking great against the Devils and beating a non-playoff team tonight are things you should do. I thought Hank looked 100x better against the Devils than he did here tonight. Lundqvist would finish with 29 saves on 32 shots.
For me, the test with Hank will be against the Senators (Thursday) & Capitals (Saturday), who are playing for playoff positioning. For the Senators, they need to win to grab on and hold the 8th seed. For the Caps, by the time the game rolls around, they might have their position locked, but they could be fighting to remain in second place in the division. I hope Hank can pass those tests, it would make me less nervous about the playoffs, especially when you’re leaving a red-hot goalie on your bench.
|I’ll never forget MSL’s role for this team in the 2014 Playoffs|
Marty St. Louis, playing in his third game back since the leg injury, got on the scoreboard, with the game’s first goal. Kevin Hayes, who again, is the future of this team, took the puck up the ice. He tried to make a move to the net, but got jammed up. The puck dribbled off his stick and MSL found it, and buried it home, 5 minutes into the first period. The right Rangers are getting hot at the right time, from Nash to Marty to Stepan. 1-0 Rangers.
The Rangers penalty kill squad was asked to do double duty in the first period, and what seems to be the norm, were perfect. You really see it more live than you do on TV, but Carl Hagelin is just amazing on the PK. The guy flies around like a kid hopped up on sugar and smack.
Where the Rangers PK has been consistently strong, the turnovers have also been consistent. Ryan McDonagh made a brutal turnover in front of the net and Matt Calvert got the game’s second goal, with three minutes to go in the first. Not on Hank at all, he couldn’t do anything about it. I’ve seen some people bad talk McDonagh for his turnovers this season and say silly shit like “The C is weighing him down”, but to me, that’s what it is, silly shit. I know some of you will say that’s how you feel about me with Talbot, but at least I got the numbers and facts to back me up. While McDonagh’s gaffe was a terrible fucking play, don’t get me wrong, but McDonagh, along with Girardi & Staal for that matter, have consistently shut down the opponent’s best players all season.
Dan Girardi has been a beast all year, defensively. The guy is setting blocked shot records and will dive in front of pucks, even with the Rangers holding a 5 goal lead. Girardi doesn’t do much offensively, because that’s not his job. He just shuts down the best player on the other team. However, with his partner making a bad play and his goalie helpless to prevent the goal, Girardi bailed out the team, when he scored 30 seconds into the second period, after strong puck movement from the drop.
Lundqvist, who was playing strong and made several one-on-one saves, would be beat by Marko Dano later in the period. It was a bad goal to let slide by, considering the amazing saves Hank made previous to Dano’s shot.
With the score tied at 2 in the third, the Rangers fell apart. The powerplay was missing again, despite a great and strong first attempt. Bobrovsky was just on his game during that series. However, the Rangers had other chances and couldn’t get it going. In a trend that has been happening all year, an ex-Ranger scored a big goal. Whether it’s been Brad Richards, Del Zaster, Stempniak, Callahan or whoever, the ex-Rangers have been scoring all season against the Blueshirts. Dubinsky beat Lundqvist bad, putting the CBJ up by a goal, with 12 minutes to go.
For Lundqvist, it was another blown lead and a go-ahead goal. I get the turnovers and sloppy pay, but isn’t he paid the most money in the league, at his position, to make the superhuman saves? We’ve seen it before, and while he did play a strong game, this could’ve been a game he gave away. However, Derek Stepan wouldn’t let it happen.
|The alternate captain came up big again|
What’s with Derek Stepan? Either he has no points in a game, or he gets them in bunches. Stepan had another three point game here tonight, scoring both the tying and game winning goal, in addition to assisting on Dan Girardi’s goal.
With Hank pulled, the Rangers took their 6 vs 5 advantage and hoped for a miracle. Leave it to the All-American line of Miller, Kreider & Stepan to find the game tying goal with 30 seconds to go. While Bobrovsky made some huge saves late, Stepan had a wide open look at the net after a great pass from Kreider. More impressively, Coach AV, who should be the Jack Adams winner, used his timeout. 3-3, 30 seconds to go and the Garden woke up.
Both Bobrovsky and Hank made some good saves down the stretch and in OT. Columbus should’ve had this game won in OT, as they had two open looks at the net. One puck was wiffed on and the other was lifted into the netting while Hank was out of position. Talk about puck luck for the Rangers. Bobrovsky robbed Yandle and Glass from scoring on the other end.
With 50 seconds to go, the Americans again produced for the Rangers, as Yandle took a shot, Stepan found the rebound and beat Bobrovsky glove side. 4-3 OT victory!
As a result of the win, the Rangers just need to win one more game in their next three attempts, or get to two OT’s. Bottom line, two more points and the Rangers clinch the President’s Trophy. Who could’ve imagined that at the beginning of the season?
|AV could win his 3rd Jack Adams this year|
What a huge win for the Rangers! It’s hard for me to jump up and down a bit, because I’m so fucking nervous, probably because I’m insane! These hockey playoffs are no joke. The common consensus from talking to Ranger fans is “ANYONE BUT BOSTON” in the first round. Hank is 1-8 in his last 9 against the Bruins. Bring on the Sens, the Isles, the Pens, whoever. Just keep Boston away for the first round. it’s not worth speculating on who the Rangers first round opponent will be, because anything can happen from now til Saturday night.
What makes me nervous about this team, despite them at the top of the league, is the fact is that they have these spurts where they can’t touch the puck, the PP goes into a funk, they can’t win a faceoff and the turnovers lead to bad goals. I mean, it’s been working this season, as the Rangers find ways to win, but we all know that the playoffs are a different animal. It’s why the majority of you people want Lundqvist in net, right? I’m just not sure that the ways the Rangers are winning some of these games, will fly come playoff time. Everyone will be gunning for the Rangers too this year, because they are the team to beat.
Tomorrow is TALBOT TUESDAY! You can bet I will be at the Rock tomorrow night, to watch Cam Talbot & the New York Rangers clinch the President’s Trophy, live and in person. It would be nice for the Rangers to take care of business against the woeful Devils, clinch the #1 seed in the league on their ice and have the last two games of the season be two games where AV can rest guys or even try new things and looks out. I am assuming this is the last game Talbot will be starting for the Rangers, barring a Henrik injury or meltdown. Talbot has been everything I’ve said he would be all season and you can bet I will be there to watch, what could potentially be, his last game as a Ranger.
A big two points for the Obama bound Rangers!
WE WANT THE CUP
See ya tomorrow night!
@NYCTHEMIC on twitter