Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. A win’s a win and the Rangers sure needed one of them these days.
And if it wasn’t for the goaltending from the Capitals’ Charlie Lindgren, and where Ryan’s big brother is starting to become a “Ranger Killer” himself – then who knows – you may have actually enjoyed today’s 2-1 victory – rather than sitting on the edge of your seat while gnawing away at your fingernails.
But “Chucky” did play, and much like the horror movie villain, he created nightmares for “Lavy’s Lot” all game.
No joke – the Rangers probably should have put a touchdown on the board today (and perhaps kick the extra point too) – but Lindgren, who played in both games of the back-to-back/home-and-home set, wasn’t having any of it.
If there was one thing that was clearly apparent following today’s contest, then it was the obvious – and something that I’ve repeated about 4067367473689436 times before on this site during the course of this season too:
If the three players who make up the “GAG 2.0 Line” don’t score, then don’t count on the Rangers’ second line to do anything.
(And Filip Chytil who? This is just my way of saying that Trocheck’s forced promotion was a hockey god-send for the Blueshirts!)
Once again, the terrific trio, Artemi Panarin, Vincent Trocheck and Alexis Lafreniere, did all of the scoring for the Blueshirts on Sunday – and where I now believe that this line is averaging two goals scored per-game this season too.
The BFF line, Kreider, Zibanejad and the right-winger du jour?
Not so much.
And while I am a fan and respect what both #93 and #20 mean to this franchise; when this game ended, and where these two were doing their usual hugging, kissing and fellatio bromance routine at the Rangers’ tunnel – all I could ask was “why?”
Then again, perhaps they were celebrating the fact that they were carried by the team’s true top line (again) – thus deflecting negative attention away from them (again).
Before going any further, and off puck drop tonight – don’t forget to check out my 2023-24 Mid-Season report card blog – and you can find it here:
As mentioned several times during the past week, and in the Mid-Season Report Card too – I wasn’t going to post/write a recap of the Rangers vs. Capitals game from Saturday, January 13th.
Instead, I was going to enjoy myself at my bar’s Rangers’ watch party – and where I was hoping to be doing some celebrating – rather than drowning my sorrows.
And of course, and by now, you know it was the latter scenario that ultimately played out.
Ugh – but I did have a great time anyway!
That said, here are just some quick thoughts that I had following that game – and for the sake of “site posterity” too:
— This loss felt very reminiscent of the others from what was then a four-game losing streak.
— While the Rangers did snap their three-game streak of 40+ SOG, as defense was a focus during this 3-2 loss – they still finished 0-3 on the power-play – and also got caught up in the fancy over-passing, which as a result, limited scoring chances and SOG.
— At one point, I had wondered if Alexis Lafreniere was contagious, as “The Breadman” missed the net on two wide-open opportunities. But of course, to get on Panarin is ludicrous – as instead, it proved my point – if this line doesn’t score, then don’t expect Mika and Kreider to do anything either these days.
— Once again, and for the eighteenth time this season too (44% of all games played) – the Rangers allowed two goals within a time-span of two-minutes or less.
— The Rangers, who at the time, were up 2-1, these two third period strikes, scored within 1:53, cost goaltender Jonathan Quick his tenth win of the season.
— Fourth-liner Nic Dowd scored the first, a tying 2-2 goal, while T.J. Oshie eventually scored the 3-2, bad guys, game-winner.
— And of course, the Rangers gave up another breakaway goal this season too, this time to Anthony Mantha – where wouldn’t you know it – this was his first career goal scored against the Blueshirts.
— Compounding matters was the fact that Alex Ovechkin wasn’t even in Washington’s line-up, yet the Rangers couldn’t snap their then three-game losing streak under these conditions. Worse than that was watching Zibanejad, who once scored five goals in one game against a better D.C. club than this present incarnation, was rendered completely useless.
— My report card blog that was posted 24-hours prior to puck drop in Washington? Miller, who led the team in the plus/minus stat (+7), dropped by two points, having gone a -2. Mental health issues are real, but he, and on his own accord, has chosen this high-stress profession. He needs to deal with it.
— Conversely, Fox, as a result of his two goals, tied Miller for most goals by a Rangers’ rearguard this season (7).
— I did agree with Mark Messier’s assessment over the Tom Wilson hit on Jonny Brodzinski – but regardless if the hit was clean or dirty – where was the response?
— Once again, Wilson exposed the Rangers.
— Of course, while Wilson was wearing a glass shield over his face after recently breaking his nose, thus perhaps barring a meeting of knuckles and faces – someone in Rangers’ white could have at least laid a big hit on him. Instead, Wilson whistled his way to victory unscathed.
— 3-2, bad guys final – and with the Rangers extending their season-high losing streak to four games – and with a lot of concern going into Sunday’s rematch at M$G.
In an attempt to get up-to-date, I just wanted to cover all of the recent roster moves.
On Thursday, Matthew Robertson was returned to Hartford. He was only called-up in the event that Trouba couldn’t play.
On Friday, and as brought up following the loss to St. Louis (https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/11124/ )- the Rangers finally recalled a spare forward who could play, where as a result, Anton Blidh joined the team in Washington.
Blidh played in the Rangers’ 3-2 loss to the Caps on Saturday, while Jake Leschyshyn took a seat upstairs. During the Blueshirts’ return to the Big Apple after the game, Leschyshyn was then punted back to Hartford.
And as I write these words right now, following the events of the Rangers’ 2-1 win over the Capitals on Sunday – the Blueshirts, at 5:00PM on 1/14, and about two-hours removed from the decision – returned Blidh to the Wolf Pack.
Perhaps Kaapo Kakko should have joined him – but more on this comment below.
On Sunday morning, at 11AM, the Blueshirts’ bench boss conducted his mandatory pregame edition of “LAVY’S LOUNGE.”
Here’s what the head coach had to say for himself:
The biggest news from this pregame chat was the most obvious:
Kaapo Kakko, where the specifics of his injury still remains as a mystery, and after missing 21-games, would be making his return.
I said this before this return had even occurred – I think the Rangers botched this a bit.
Rather than rushing Kakko back into the line-up as soon as possible; instead, I think the Finn, with his three points this season, should have got a rehab game or two in Hartford.
Since Kakko is unable to score at the NHL level, perhaps some games against weaker competition could have bolstered his confidence.
But again, I’m just a beer-bellied bullshit blogger – and not the bench boss!
As far as anything else, Laviolette reiterated what he had said the day before – this team, who entered Sunday afternoon on a four-game losing streak – needed a win – and they needed a win bad.
At least they would get it.
Here was Laviolette’s line-up for the forty-second game of this 2023-24 season – the first game of the second-half of the season – and another new line-up too:
FIRST LINE: Panarin/Trocheck/Lafreniere
SECOND LINE: Kreider/Zibanejad/Kakko
THIRD LINE: Cuylle/Bonino/Wheeler
FOURTH LINE: Vesey/Goodrow/Brodzinski
FIRST PAIR: Lindgren/Fox
SECOND PAIR: Miller/Trouba
THIRD PAIR: Gustafsson/Schneider
STARTER: CZAR IGOR
HEALTHY SCRATCHES: Jones and Blidh
LONG TERM INJURED RESERVE: Chytil
BOX SCORE time.
The following graphics and information come from ESPN.com:
Despite the Rangers’ current woes, I had a smile on my face at 12:30PM when I tuned into the M$GN and saw that Henrik Lundqvist was there – and better than that – Sieve Vagistat wasn’t!
Whenever “THE KING OF COMMENTARY” is around, I feel like I’m getting little gems and thoughts that you’d usually get from a podcast or book.
Needless to say – I never have those feelings whenever the seven-foot stooge is spewing his self-serving nonsense.
On the team’s recent struggles, Lundqvist said:
“When you’re slumping, it’s big to not worry about making mistakes. You make mistakes even when you win. Hopefully being home fuels them and puts them on their toes.
“Secondary scoring was one of my concerns this season. They need the big saves. The goalies have been good, but they need to be great – and they need the power-play to score too.”
On Kakko’s return, while Lundqvist didn’t say that he would’ve given the Finn a short rehab stay in Hartford, he did echo what I felt:
“It’s a good feeling to be back. Expectations? You know, you can’t put too much on the guy right now after being out so long. It’s about getting time, getting comfortable and then raising the bar.”
Just like anyone else, and especially after the long layoff – it was going to be tough to assess Kakko in this game – where one last time – which is why I would have had him make his return in Hartford prior to rejoining the varsity roster.
Kudos to John Giannone, as he had no issues calling out the second-overall pick for his dreadful season thus far.
Giannone also brought up that Lundqvist won 49 games in his 78 chances (63%) whenever his Rangers were on a three-game losing streak. In a response, #30 said that there a lot of good things in Igor’s game, but that he also needs to make the extra save – and that’s what would later take place.
That remark also reminded me of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final – and it was a similar remark that many members of either side of that championship round have said before – and including Jonathan Quick, who made this same exact remark to Jonny Lazarus earlier this season.
Lundqvist then said what I have brought to your attention over the past week, and even as most recently as Friday night on this site:
While CZAR IGOR can dominate and keep the Rangers in games; once he gives up that one bad goal, or that one back-breaking score, then the whole game unravels, hence all of #31’s many games this season with four or more goals allowed.
During an on-ice interview with Michelle Gingras, Ryan Lindgren said that he didn’t give his best friend, Adam Fox, any pointers on how to beat his brother – and then said all of the credit for Fox’s two goals scored against Chuckie was all about what #23 had done.
(Of course, the first goal that Fox scored on Saturday was a fluke-job – but why let the truth get in the way of a good story?)
Up next was Dave Maloney – and where you have to wonder – why aren’t Lundqvist and the former captain teamed-up more often – and a Maloney who raved about both Ryan Lindgren and Will Cuylle.
In his closing remarks, Lundqvist said that he always wanted to prevent his twin brother (Joel) from scoring on him – and as a result – felt like Ryan Lindgren would like to get a puck past Charlie today.
Hands-down – this was the best pregame show of the season – and better than that, not once did we hear any garbage such as “Clear-Sighted Assholes, East-West, My Bloody Groin Johnny, Look at me Hank, I did this, expected stats,” nor did we have to hear Vagistat, the worst back-up in franchise history, compare himself to CZAR IGOR.
REFRESHING – and give me more of it!
Come 1:00PM, we went to Sam Rosen and Joe Micheletti in the booth.
As their toughest critic, I thought that they were largely good today, even if they fell into their usual mind-numbing habits – and stuff that always drives you up a wall whenever things aren’t looking good for the Rangers.
After Sam told us how important winning this game was today (duh – but he did have to say it), these two then singled-out Max Pacioretty as the player that they’d love to see score a goal.
No joke – Pacioretty hasn’t been fully healthy once during the past five-years – and Sam & Joe would give us his litany of injuries, his life story and whether he wears boxers or briefs on six separate occasions throughout the broadcast.
But at this rate, all of this is to be expected, as for whatever reason, and like a human needing oxygen to live – these two need one opposing player to drool and slobber over all game.
GAME REVIEW time.
As the box score would suggest – this was the best period for the Rangers today – and where we had some bizarro world action too – as it were the Blueshirts, and not their opponents, who scored a goal during both the first and last minute of a period.
And while CZAR IGOR didn’t have to do much – he was on-point when tasked – and especially during the final frame.
Otherwise, the Rangers, who made it their mission to protect their goalie, did a strong job in accomplishing that.
But for all of the positivity that was created throughout these first twenty-minutes, and where the Rangers never trailed once in this game either – all such feelings would evaporate minute-by-minute come the second stanza.
But let’s first talk about what happened prior to the tide turning.
The Zibanejad line started the game and to his credit – Kakko wasn’t dry humping the boards like a porn star. Instead, he was actually going to the net on his first shift and trying to screen Lindgren.
But like most positivity created, this solid showing would drift away too – and where by the third period – you weren’t even sure if he was still out there. (Even Micheletti made mention of this.)
With the real top line on the ice for the first time (why M$GN, the horrible beat reporters and many fans continue to refer to the Panarin line as the second line is beyond me) – it only took them fifty-seconds to ruin Lindgren’s chances of posting a shutout:
Bread Blast. pic.twitter.com/s2JIlLCGcU
— Jonny Lazarus (@JLazzy23) January 14, 2024
1-0, GOOD GUYS!
This was a play that we needed to see more of on Saturday – as there was no hesitation here – nor Panarin looking to pass the puck either – and as he did about fifty times just a day prior – and as he would later do throughout this game too.
Trouba, from his own end, made a long distance pass to an awaiting Trocheck at around the center line – and bang – the Blueshirts were off to the races.
Once with the puck, the center found his favorite winger for the one-timer and just like that – BOOM, 1-0, GOOD GUYS – and before most fans had even plopped their asses into their seats.
But of course, we’ve seen this story before with the Blueshirts, especially recently – so this wasn’t the time for Lavy’s Lot to rest on their laurels.
Following the goal, and with the GAG 2.0 Line still out there – Panarin found Lafreniere right in the paint – but you know how it goes for #13 – although such an unlucky number – and streak (2 goals in his past 24 games) – would later be avenged.
Down to 17:25 remaining and Braden Schneider, who I thought had a good day at the office, broke up a Washington two-vs-one odd-man rush.
Following a K’Andre Miller turnover at Washington’s blue line with 16:15 remaining, CZAR IGOR then bailed out his d-man with his first save of the game made after a shot from “Feed My Malenstyn.”
As Tom Wilson was singling out Ryan Lindgren with hits, Rosen remarked, “OH JOE, TOM WILSON LIKES TO HIT JOE.”
Sam was right – but again – where was the Rangers’ response?
As noted above – I get it – Wilson wasn’t going to drop the gloves with his glass shield over his broken nose. But still, you have to make his life difficult and no one went to hit him as he was hitting the Rangers.
Furthermore, and yes, I know that “Wilson PTSD” is part of it – but I thought that he exposed the Rangers’ soft underbelly – again.
With 14:21 remaining, Panarin set-up Lafreniere again, but the first-overall pick couldn’t get a shot off – and despite being wide-open when he first received the pass.
As the game continued, and following a Lindgren save on JONNY HOCKEY; once again, both Will Cuylle and Jimmy Vesey were very noticeable – and yep – more on this below too.
Out of a TV timeout and Giannone reiterated what Rosen had said earlier – the Rangers were upset with Wilson, especially with what happened a day earlier.
So again – where was the response – and especially when Wilson clotheslined Lindgren at the end of the second period?
(Following such an attack, all the Rangers did was whine to the officials – rather than getting their pound of flesh.)
In what was All-Rangers at the time; a Kreider high-sticking penalty, an o-zone infraction at that, temporarily stunted the team’s momentum with 12:22 to go, as the longest-tenured Blueshirt caught the mush of John Carlson.
The Blueshirts’ PK did their job – and where CZAR IGOR only had to come up with one easy save.
With 9:20 to go, the second line center did his MANDATORY MIKA act – you know, when he’s wide-open, and rather than shooting – he forces a pass for a turnover instead.
However, the Rangers recovered here, but despite a long shift from the second line and a pairing of Fox & Miller – this quintet couldn’t register a SOG – and despite their ninety-or-so seconds spent in the Caps’ zone.
Regardless, the Rangers were still playing well, so it was amazing that both Sam and Joe were actually praising them for once – rather than their opponents. Heck, with this love-fest, you were also kind of waiting for the other shoe to drop!
With 5:30 to go, and to show you how much defense and limiting scoring was stressed, the Rangers were out-shooting the Caps 4-2 – while also out-blocking them to a tune of 6-3.
Eighteen seconds later, and there was Lafreniere, who at the time, drew his FIRST OF FOUR penalties in the game.
For whatever reason, Zibanejad (and this tells you how off he is these days), following the win, gave the participation trophy Broadway Hat to Kakko.
But if you thought that Kakko did anything today – or even was a thousandth as noticeable as Lafreniere was – then you’re just as lost as Mika.
Again – HE DREW FOUR PENALTIES!!!
While the Rangers didn’t do anything with their power-plays today (a season-low 0-5 performance – and including failing to score during a 5 x 3 man-advantage too) – you can’t blame Lafreniere for that.
After all, and while I do know that he has his issues with finishing (I may have mentioned this fact one or 987567856789678967896 times during these past two months!) – when you draw four power-plays, then you should be rewarded with some PP1 time.
Plus – it’s not like he could be any worse than Mika and his 896786789678967678968 one-timers to everywhere but the net.
With Martin Fehervary in the box after high-sticking Lafreniere, Mika turned over the puck twice, Lindgren made a hell of a save on Fox and once the PP2 unit came on – Kakko, from point-blank range, dead-center, and two feet away – was then stopped by the Caps’ netminder.
In other words, it was like Kakko had never left.
And I do get a kick out of the fans who think they are the hockey version of Neil Degrasse Tyson whenever they try to show off their “high hockey IQ” by telling anyone who will listen how great Kakko is.
I get being positive – but such talk is hopeful in nature, if not flat-out delusional.
One more time (but probably not the last time) – the Rangers didn’t draft Kakko second-overall to become the second-coming of a poor man’s Jesper Fast – and that’s somewhat ironic (and sad) since it’s the Finn that earns more in salary than the Swede these days.
With 1:40 remaining, the Rangers received another break of many, when CZAR IGOR heard a <DING> in his ears, as his best friend, the iron, made a save for him.
Following a very despondent Sam Rosen bawling his eyes out over the injuries sustained by the Caps’ Alex Ovechkin and Rasmus Sandin – it finally happened – a “Haley’s Comet” goal for Lafreniere:
Alexis Lafreniere buries his own rebound.
Left all alone in front. pic.twitter.com/wUsgSlksOd
— Jonny Lazarus (@JLazzy23) January 14, 2024
2-0, GOOD GUYS – and with just 49-seconds remaining in the period.
While this wasn’t exactly a “puck luck” or “fluke” goal – that’s what this felt like.
But in reality, this was a hard-working goal for a player that most certainly deserved it.
Lafreniere, one-on-one with Lindgren, saw the goalie make a fantastic save on the shooter.
Just as you were rolling your eyes and asking yourself what did Lafreniere possibly do to the hockey gods – a redemption goal – as Lafreniere, who stuck with the play, got his own rebound and then flipped it over the goalie – as Lindgren had fallen to his side.
I’m happy for Lafreniere – and really – just read the Mid-Season Report Card for everything about him.
But for the most polarizing player on this team – a player who is offensively noticeable in every game but just can’t finish – this goal was a long time coming – and his third in his last twenty-five games played. (And yep – one of those goals credited to him was the end result of an opposing d-man booting in a puck past his goalie.)
I don’t think the jaws of life could have removed the smile from his face after this score. (Or his 1970s NYPD mustache either!)
And while this was a heck of a play and goal – this does need to be the start of something.
Simply stated: This just can’t be another goal that is then followed up by a donut in the box score for the next ten-games.
With 11.7-seconds remaining and perhaps nervous about the Rangers leading (PROMO CODE: FIXED), the officials erroneously boxed Wheeler for high-sticking Anthony Mantha.
In reality, Wheeler was making a pass, and on the follow-through, and with Mantha playing defense – the Ranger caught the Cap in the face – or in other words – this wasn’t a penalty.
2-0, GOOD GUYS, following the Rangers’ best twenty-minutes in some time.
Here’s what I said after it:
2-0, GOOD GUYS, after 20. 1P Thoughts:
— The Rangers actually score in the first and last minute of the period – bizarro world.
— Needless to say, Laf needed that goal – but it can’t be one of these Haley Comet goals – and yes – he does play well – but needs to score.
— BlueCollarBlueShirts (@NYCTheMiC) January 14, 2024
After M$GN actually promoted a “RANGERS’ FAMILY FUN NIGHT,” because as you know, a get-in price of $250 (standing-room-only no less) to see the Blueshirts host the Kraken on a school night (Tuesday) is fun for the whole family; I was wondering if Laviolette would return Cuylle to the second-line.
And really – what did Cuylle do to receive his “demotion” back to the bottom-six?
Furthermore, what did Kakko do to deserve a “promotion,” especially after being relegated to the bottom-six long before his injury?
I guess if Cuylle was a second-overall pick, rather than a second-round pick, then he would have remained.
But alas, the Rangers don’t exactly dole out playing time based on merit.
To open the second period, and after asking Micheletti his usual question of, “SECOND PERIOD, WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR HERE JOE?” (“More of the same Sammy!”); Rosen then gave us the weather report.
This is a new wrinkle for Rosen this season – and it’s kind of fitting since just like most TV weathermen – he’s often wrong when calling these games!
As the Rangers successfully killed this penalty, Rosen gave us his ODE TO PACIORETTY and then named him as our KIA CARD PLAYER OF THE GAME.
Following the kill, a GUS BUS hammer shot went wide with 17:00 remaining.
Forty-seconds later, the top line had a nice zone entry, but following a pass from #10 to #13 – #13 was expecting #16 at Lindgren’s backdoor – but alas, he wasn’t there.
While this went for a turnover, this was a good play – and just because we’ve seen these no look passes work out before with this line.
At least you knew what Lafreniere was going for here – as this wasn’t like Mika forcing passes through five sets of legs.
At the five-minute mark, I made the following comment on Elon Musk’s app:
I think this four-game losing streak has affected me – I can’t even enjoy this 2-0 lead and with them playing one of their better games of the season thus far, 15:00 to go #NYR
— BlueCollarBlueShirts (@NYCTheMiC) January 14, 2024
How right I would be.
As Joe did everything in his power to will Pacioretty into scoring a goal; the two goalies exchanged saves, as Lindgren stopped Schneider and then CZAR IGOR made a glove save on Wilson with 13:30 remaining.
After that, Sam and Joe went right back to tickling the balls of Pacioretty again.
Come 11:45 to go, Carlson blazed into the zone, but was met by Miller – who sent him right to the boards. This was encouraging. Thirty-seconds later, and there was Trouba and Trocheck tag-teaming to end a Caps’ threat.
Now at the half-way mark of the game/period and for whatever reason – Sam and Joe then spoke about the Philadelphia Flyers for three-minutes.
What the Flyers had to do with this game I not know.
What’s next, a documentary from these two on the Birmingham Bulls of the old WHA?
But to be fair, the first ten-minutes of this period did feel as slow as molasses, so I guess they were trying to find something to talk about.
The next ten-minutes?
The complete opposite, as it was a non-stop frenzy, and where as a Ranger fan – you just wanted to get to the intermission as fast as humanly possible.
With 8:57 remaining, the Caps were all over the Rangers. The end result? A mad-dash scramble goal for T.J. Oshie – and where of course – Pacioretty received an assist on it.
This was also your MANDATORY AND REQUIRED “Blueshirts’ Brain Fart” of the game, as Gustafsson flubbed when trying to clear a puck, which then allowed the Caps’ attack to go on undeterred – and then score.
Congratulations to Jumpin’ Jinxin’ Joe – who I guess wanted to rival Rosen’s reverse curses!
2-1, good guys – and our last goal scored of the game – but it wasn’t for a lack of trying either.
As I was kind of expecting the Capitals to score two goals within two-minutes – they almost did – but CZAR IGOR survived an initial attack right after Oshie’s goal.
Realizing that this game was somewhat spiraling, both Sam and Joe, and to their credit, called out every other line, in particular the Mika line, for not scoring – while also saying what I’ve been saying – it can’t just be the Panarin line doing all of the heavy lifting on a game-in and game-out basis.
CZAR IGOR, who wasn’t really challenged too much when making 24-saves in total today – made about three or four tough ones throughout the tilt – and one of these big-time saves, “THE EXTRA SAVE,” took place with 6:38 remaining, when he stopped an Oshie tip-shot from the paint.
Whew – and our first “IGOR, IGOR, IGOR!” chants of the game too.
Up next – what could’ve been a turning point and an “off to the races” type of a thing – but it wasn’t meant to be.
With 6:29 to go, Lafreniere drew Fehervary into taking another penalty, this time for interference.
As Mika continued to struggle, and where Sam actually said, “Zibanejad, from his knees, gives it to Fox;” CZAR IGOR then made a short-handed save.
Then, and with 38-seconds remaining on the power-play – Nic Dowd was boxed for roughing Fox – and where the 2021 Norris Trophy winner was absolutely irate over the cheap shot.
At the time (and tweets don’t lie) I thought that Laviolette, now with a 38-second 5 x 3 power-play, should have used his timeout – and especially since his PP1 unit had just been out there.
Such a timeout never took place.
What did take place was Lindgren doing what always happens to the Rangers – another goalie having another game of his life at M$G – and where no save was as big as the one that he made on Chris Kreider.
Right before the 5 x 3 was about to become a 5 x 4; CK20, dead center and one foot off of the paint – was absolutely robbed by Lindgren.
This save messed with Kreider’s psyche, as not only was he talking and cursing at himself afterwards – but he continued to do so from the bench too.
He really looked like one of those junkies at Penn Station who scream to themselves – that’s how huge and crazy this save was.
The end result of this?
The Rangers’ power-play was now 0-3 and Lindgren had racked up nine saves.
The final two-minutes of the period saw the Caps have what felt like 72478247892254254789254789254 chances – but miraculously, both CZAR IGOR and the Rangers survived.
2-1, good guys, through forty-minutes.
Here’s what I said at the time:
2-1, GOOD GUYS, after 40. 2P Thoughts:
— Man, does Lindgren get targeted. Wilson goes after him again – but the Rangers just whine about it – someone has to go after him.
— Don’t deserve to win if you can’t score on a 5×3 PP.
— Exhibit #93438388348 – It can’t just be the…
— BlueCollarBlueShirts (@NYCTheMiC) January 14, 2024
The final twenty-minutes was a classic goalie’s duel – and for the rest of the complete play-by-play, then check out my Tweeter feed over at https://twitter.com/NYCTheMiC
Among the highlights – and “low-lights” – the following:
— You were just waiting for the Capitals to tie it – but again – CZAR IGOR proved true.
— T.J. Oshie had that “Jordan Kyrou Look” to him – as he was gunning for the equalizer this whole period. While he did score earlier, CZAR IGOR stopped him on his six other attempts – and as Oshie led all shooters with seven SOG today.
— With 18:27 remaining, Lafreniere drew his third penalty, this time, Joel Edmundson for high-sticking.
— Jensen blocked a Mika one-timer, where if he hadn’t, then maybe the Rangers would have had their insurance goal. Following the block, Wilson, on a Caps’ two-vs-one short-handed rush – went wide.
— At the end of the power-play, now 0-4, Kakko couldn’t score into a vacated net – so the usual.
— With 14:38 remaining, Kreider extended the Rangers’ zero for their last 8968767867956795 breakaways – where for the kicker – he didn’t even get a SOG off – as he made one deke too many.
— I’m no Kreider hater (in fact, I’m the complete opposite, as I’m a huge fan) – but man – did he look off today – and the way that Zibanejad and Kreider were celebrating after this win was akin to an NFL lineman partying after recording a sack – when down 48-3.
— With 13:30 remaining, Lindgren, who never took his ski-mask off, absolutely robbed Vesey. On this save, Vesey forced a turnover, got to the paint and like if there was a magnet on Lindgren’s right-handed catching glove – he nabbed the puck like Don Mattingly scooping up a bad throw at first base.
— Had Lindgren been a traditional left-handed catcher – then this would’ve been a goal.
— With 12:15 remaining, Lindgren had already made his eleventh save of the frame, this time on Cuylle.
— Down to 10:45 remaining and the refs swallowed their whistle when the Rangers had too many men on the ice. In other words, the Rangers got a ton of breaks and calls from the refs today – but did nothing with them. And yep – Lindgren deserves a lion’s share of the credit for that.
— As many Ranger fans were using the same old and tired “GOALIE” excuse again (this excuse works once in a while – but not every game – and at some point – YOU HAVE TO FINISH); Lafreniere drew his fourth penalty with 8:38 remaining as Carlson had tripped him.
— Again – if you draw four penalties – then you deserve PP1 time – but that’s not what happened.
— What happened? The Rangers went 0-5 on their power-play – and go figure – the top power-play in the league is now two of their last twenty. Wow.
— And oh yeah – the Rangers didn’t even get a SOG during these two-minutes either – thus keeping the Caps’ chances for an equalizer alive.
— With 5:08 to go, Schneider and Oshie took off-setting slashing penalties, so up next was two-minutes of foreplay.
— Once returned to full-strength; with 1:33 to go, CZAR IGOR continued to make “THE EXTRA SAVE” – this time with a huge glove save on Kuznetsov.
— Following the stop, and with an o-zone faceoff to be had – Caps’ coach Spencer Carberry pulled Lindgren.
— After an icing from Ryan Lindgren with 49-ticks to go, Carberry used his timeout.
— Following the Rangers’ final icing of the game – Trocheck lost a d-zone faceoff with 6.7-seconds to go – which then set-up CZAR IGOR for his last “EXTRA SAVE” of the game. And had this Caps’ shot gone in – well I rather not think about it!
2-1, GOOD GUYS, final – but where you were breathing a huge sigh of relief afterwards, rather than screaming in celebration – that is – unless you were Kreider and Zibanejad.
Here’s someone else who was relieved on Sunday after the win – Peter Laviolette:
At the end of the day, it’s all about the two-points netted in the standings – and especially with most of the teams in this division now heating up.
This was also another game where my season-long daily disclaimer applies too, you know, the following:
“WHATEVER THE RANGERS DO IN THE REGULAR SEASON DOESN’T MATTER. THEY CAN ONLY BE JUDGED BY WHATEVER THEY DO IN THE 2024 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS!”
But regardless of all that – this didn’t feel a “turning of the corner” type of a game.
This felt more lucky than anything else (and with all due respect paid to Charlie Lindgren) – and sometimes – you do have to make your own luck too.
Up Next: FAMILY FUN NIGHT at M$G on Tuesday, as the Rangers will host their old rival, the Seattle Kraken.
The annual three-game left coast road-trip – but a stop on Thursday night in Las Vegas first.
And my new job that I was telling you guys about?
I start Monday, January 22nd – so I’ll be able to do my usual “live-tweeting/blog notes” next week.
Let’s hope for an ass-kicking type of a win on Tuesday.
See ya then – as the Rangers are off on Monday.
PLUGS TIME! (Buy a book and support my Rangers’ induced therapy bills. After all, I don’t run ads on this site!)
My fourth title and tenth book is now available!
“The Top 100 Villains of New York Rangers History,” is now available for sale!
For complete information, please visit: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/rangerkillers/
My second plug of tonight’s blog – the mandatory plug for my book, “The New York Rangers Rink of Honor and the Rafters of Madison Square Garden.”
As mentioned previously, the book is now available in hardcover, in paperback and in Kindle formats. To purchase a copy of the book, visit this link:
For those still looking for signed paperback versions of the book, I have re-ordered more copies. I now have a few signed copies for sale at $25 a pop (includes shipping price) through me directly. Here is all the information on that:
My four-volume set of books, “One Game at a Time – A Season to Remember,” is a game-by-game recount of the Rangers 2021-22 campaign.
My second title as an author, “One Game at a Time – A Season to Remember,” is now available in eBook, paperback and hardcover formats.
To obtain signed copies, visit: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/onegamebook/
To purchase all four volumes on Amazon, visit: Amazon.com – “One Game at a Time.”
The greatest volume-set of books on Rangers’ history today!
“Tricks of the Trade – A Century-Long Journey Through Every Trade Made In New York Rangers’ History,” a four-volume set of books that meticulously covers every trade made in franchise history, is now on sale.
All four volumes of the title can be purchased on Amazon.com and are presented in three different formats – eBook, paperback and hardcover.
To purchase Volume I: Conn Smythe (1926) – Craig Patrick (1986), visit Amazon.com
To purchase Volume II: Phil Esposito (1986) – Neil Smith (2000), visit Amazon.com
To purchase Volume III: Glen Sather (2000-2015), visit Amazon.com
To purchase Volume IV: Jeff Gorton (2015) – Chris Drury (2022), visit Amazon.com
To purchase signed copies of all four volumes, visit https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/tricksofthetrade/
Here are my last few blogs, in case you missed them:
The New York Rangers Mid-Season Report Card: Grades & Detailed Reviews of Every Blueshirt, Thoughts at the 50% Mark of the Season, The Highs & Lows, 2023-24 Campaign Review, Predictions & More
NYR/STL 1/11 Review: The Honeymoon Period Is Over; Rangers Experience Their First Three-Game Losing Streak of the Season, Negative Trends Won’t End; “Goalied” Excuse No Longer Valid Either, Mika’s Disastrous Diarrhea Leads to Sloppy Special Teams, Blues’ Top Line Eats Rangers Alive Like Mosquitos, Drury Needs To Respond; Shut Down Chytil, M$GN & More
Chris Drury Makes His “Deschyshn”: Leschyshyn In; Othmann Out, “The Wallflower” Kaapo Kakko Ready To Make Love to the Boards Again, “LAVY LOUNGES,” The Real “BABY TROUBA” Expected Any Day Now; Robertson Recalled, Upcoming Site & Social Media Changes & More
If you haven’t already, subscribe to this blog for the next update:
Don’t forget to order my recently released four-volume set of books, “Tricks of the Trade!”
If you don’t order through me, all four volumes are now available on Amazon.com
For more details, check out: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/tricksofthetrade/
Thanks for reading.
LET’S GO RANGERS!
@NYCTHEMIC on the Tweeter machine