NYR/FLA 11/8 Review: CZAR IGOR Neuters The Undefeated Cats; Ranger Fat Cats Dump in Florida’s Litter Box, Eye Test > Analytics; Negative Fan Reactions, Good “Knight” Out, Hajek, M$GN, Gallant, Kakko “Kursed”; Second D Pair Snaps Slump & More

To continue my theme during these past few game review blogs, where I’ve talked about the topic of M$GN and jinxes; isn’t it amazing Suzyn, how you never hear the crew on the M$G Networks bring up the idea of “trap games” for the opponent? In a game where no one would’ve been surprised had the Rangers lost, the Rangers survived a sixty minute thriller, where they knocked off the top team in hockey, the Florida Panthers, by a final score of 4-3. Perhaps the Rangers were Florida’s “trap game” – something I said prior to the game on social media!

Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. The Rangers sure are going to enjoy these next four days off.

On Monday night, at “The World’s Most Expensive Arena”, the Rangers pulled off the near-impossible, neutering the previously undefeated Florida Panthers to a tune of 4-3.

While the final score suggests a true nail-biter (and for CZAR IGOR it was; especially since he had to make 42 saves in the contest, a season-high – and with many of these denials being highlight reel saves), after forty minutes of play, the Blueshirts were up on the scoreboard 4-0. However, after another shaky third period, where the Rangers gave up another field goal in; rather than celebrating a blow-out victory, the Rangers breathed a sigh of relief and ultimately enjoyed this one-goal win.

Even better for Gerard Gallant’s squad? After a grueling schedule, including back-to-back road-trips of four games a piece, the team now has four days off. In addition, the upcoming quality of competition isn’t as strong as it has been during these first thirteen games. As stated last blog, come Saturday, it’s time for the Rangers to make a big run.

And if you’re one to sulk, bitch, moan and groan after a win, especially with the team now holding a record of 7-3-3 – I don’t know what to tell you. Yeah, I’ve been criticized for my “glass half-full” approach, but as stated numerous times this season – the SKY ISN’T FALLING, no matter what others may lead you to believe.


Are the Rangers being carried by CZAR IGOR right now? Sure, but wasn’t Igor supposed to do this anyway? After all, going into this season, how many times did you hear doubters defiantly state – “CZAR IGOR HAS NEVER PROVED THAT HE CAN STEAL WINS!” #31 in blue has been doing just that all season, but I guess some people can never be happy – even when the team knocks off the best team in hockey!

I don’t mean to sound so negative or drab after a huge win (which this game was), but immediately following this game, my social media was blown up with pessimistic comments, where you would’ve thought the asses of the Rangers were probed by aliens with fingers of ten feet or longer.

And even worse, once the game was completed, the seven-foot jackass on the M$G Networks went right into his Henrik Lundqvist pom-pom act, and called this game a “HANK HEIST”. (What, a “RICHTER ROBBERY” or “GUMP-STOPPER” doesn’t work?) In fact, Vally then went on to say that the best thing about this game was that the Rangers didn’t take that many penalties. Really, that’s your biggest takeaway?

Seriously – can’t Vally talk about what IGOR did, just once, rather than constantly comparing every game to what Lundqvist once did during his prime years? It’s getting old, just like Vally’s corny jokes whenever he tries to playfully suggest that he had a better career than Lundqvist. In my opinion, Vally should save his flirty material during a night out at “The Ramrod”.

And to be clear, my bone of contention isn’t with Lundqvist here. Lundqvist has been a breath of fresh air and the best thing on these M$GN broadcasts since the days of Ron Duguay, and before that, the days of Rosen and Davidson.

You know this site (and the blogs I post on it) is my way of venting and celebrating after games. That’s why I start this particular blog by saying what I said on social media right after the win – “BE HAPPY!”

And heck (and in something straight out of bizarro world), the man whose jersey that will soon be going into the rafters in two months, #30 himself, said the exact same thing on-air following the game too – “BE HAPPY!”


Lundqvist, once again and as usual, was great on the broadcast tonight. Steve Valiquette? Not as much. Please, I beg of you M$GN – send Vally to the Islander broadcasts and let him serenade the lonely Shannon Hogan with his war stories and love of Rick Dipietero! Photo Credit: M$GN

Let me get this out of my system and then talk about this AMAZING (or as Joe Micheletti would say – “FABULOUS”) victory.

Once this game was complete (and admittedly, after surviving a scare during the final two minutes), I received a ton of comments, where ANALytics, and the Rangers dreadful performance in that department, was the center of attention. Are you FATHER FINKIN’ kidding me? That’s your final takeaway after knocking off the previously 10-0-1 Panthers?

Had the Rangers lost this game, you could’ve made a million-and-one excuses, including:

— The Rangers were coming off a four-game road-trip, where they didn’t enter their own homes until 9AM Sunday.

— The Rangers “body clocks” were thrown off, due to the time zone difference between the east coast & Calgary and day-light savings time. (I know this is a stretch, but if you’ve ever traveled coast-to-coast then you know this is a real thing.)

— The Panthers, undefeated, beat the second-best team in hockey, the Carolina Hurricanes, and badly at that, just a mere 48 hours prior to this meeting.

— The Rangers were without their third line center (Filip Chytil), forcing Gallant to go with a different line-up and putting players who never played with each before on lines.

— The Rangers may have been looking ahead to the upcoming four days off, where they then could sleep in their own beds and catch-up with their respective friends and family. (Something ANALytics never takes into account – the human factor and simply put – being human at all. These players aren’t robots on someone’s spreadsheet, despite what some may suggest.)

Here’s what I saw, despite whatever the charts, graphs, hieroglyphics and Vally’s finger-paintings may say – the RANGERS showed RESOLVE (once again) and beat the best team in hockey. Nothing more, nothing less. Two points is two points, and to take two points with so many different factors going against you – that speaks volumes.

Sure, did the Rangers once again have a Charles Barkley “TURRIBLE” third period? Yes, as they ceded another field goal during another perilous third period. However, the Rangers held on and the previous forty minutes (and CZAR IGOR, let’s not forget that) was enough.

I don’t want to keep mentioning Florida’s status as the most elite team in the NHL right now, but yeah – the Rangers didn’t have an easy opponent tonight. Had this been the Arizona Coyotes in the same situation – sure, if you want, go ahead and cry – even though I think it’s silly to shed tears after a win. But to beat this team, and under these circumstances? As yours truly and Lundqvist said – “BE HAPPY!”


I’ve been to many Ranger games over the years, including during the Rangers debut in Seattle.

Lastly, while wrapping up on all of the “doom and gloom” feedback that not only I received (but that is also everywhere else), I present the following for your attention.

Here are several things I’ve never heard of while inside of M$G (or inside of any NHL barn ever):

— “It was a great win, but the Rangers CORSI stats really let me down.”

— “What a victory, but what about 5 vs 5 Fenwick stats?”

— “Yea, they won, but the Rangers expected stats didn’t impress me.”

— “I have to check Natural Stat Trick to give you my assessment on this game.”

— “MA – MEATLOAF!” (Yes, that’s an “Old School” reference, which is fitting, as my approach to watching hockey is “old school” as well! After all, and as I always say here – all of these ANALytic nerds are always shocked come playoff time, when hitting, physicality and teams that can roll four lines is what wins in the Spring – and not all of the crap on their meaningless charts.


If the season ended today, Fox would have two straight Norris wins to his name. And if he keeps this up, in a few months from now, he’ll do just that. Photo Credit: NYR

Rant over, and back to elation and celebration!

Going into the third period, and up 4-0, it looked like the Rangers were on track to play their second complete sixty minute game of the season (vs Columbus being the first). Even better, the Rangers were getting contributions from everywhere against this tough Florida team, including from the fat cats, the fourth line and of course, from CZAR IGOR. Adding to the positivity? The struggling K’Andre Miller and Jacob Trouba had their best games of the season too – something that was sorely needed.

However, and for whatever reason, the Panthers were able to “CLAW” (har-har-har) back into this one, behind three straight unanswered goals. Thankfully (and unlike the three previous third periods that these Rangers have played), the Blueshirts were able to finish this game with a win. And that’s all that matters, where I can’t stress enough how important a win was tonight – especially with the team now having four days off.

After all, had the team lost (or been blown out, as some thought would be the case prior to puck-drop), this week would’ve been never-ending headlines suggesting the team’s demise and how this one and that one should be sent to Hartford. (Ironically, a player was sent to Hartford on Monday, which I’ll soon get into.)

During my Flames vs Rangers game recap/review, I pretty much said it wouldn’t surprise me if the Rangers lost this game, where all the focus would then be on what the team did during the off-days and how they handle their next three games, all winnable, against inferior competition in the Blue Jackets, Devils and Canadiens.

With a huge momentum and confidence win (as this game was), the Rangers should be full-steam ahead, when they have another three games in four nights. (Thank you NHL Player Safety.)

For all of the fans who remain skeptical about this team; I think you’ll learn about who this team is in these next few weeks, as the Rangers approach the Thanksgiving tent-pole of the season – where shouldn’t you know it, the Rangers play the Islanders at the IBS Arena on the eve of T-Day.

PLUGS time, and then everything else, including the game review.


The hardcover version of my book.

The first plug of tonight’s blog – the mandatory plug for my new book, “The New York Rangers Rink of Honor and the Rafters of Madison Square Garden”. And let me say this – thank you to everyone who has bought one, as my Amazon sales have exceeded all expectations, where for a limited time (that damn Mark Messier who just released a book!), my book was number one on the Amazon hockey book sales charts.

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:

https://www.amazon.com/Rangers-Rafters-Madison-Square-Garden-ebook/dp/B09CM5N2WD

For those still looking for signed paperback versions of the book, I have 6 copies left for sale for $25 (includes shipping price) through me directly. Here is all the information on that:

Order “The New York Rangers Rink of Honor and the Rafters of Madison Square Garden” Book Today


Here are my last few blogs in case you missed them:

NYR/CGY 11/6 Review: Rangers Get Torched in a “C of Red”; Worst Loss of the Season, Many Excuses Turning into Fears; Fat Cats Not Producing & The Kids Are Not Alright, Jake “The Mistake”, Gallant’s Decision Backfires, M$GN Sucks; Lundqvist Makes Right Call, Panthers & More


 

NYR/EDM 11/5 Review: Rangers Lose in an Embarrassing Fashion; Choke Three Goal Lead, Gallant Fires Back at NYR Media Over Alexis “LaFourthLineiere”; Rangers Scrub Clip, Chytil’s Big Night Ruined, Rough Night For Miller, Trouba & Georgiev; Hartford Rumblings & More


The Jacob Trouba vs Henrik Lundqvist Contract Comparisons (And Why They Are Silly), Alexis Lafreniere vs Gerard Gallant, Kravtsov Story on Pause, Gaborik Retires, Tony DeAngelo on Fire & “EICHEL MANIA” Finally Concludes!


On Monday afternoon, head coach Gerard Gallant said that Filip Chytil is currently day-to-day. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Filip Chytil, injured just 2:07 into the first period during the mess against Calgary, is currently day-to-day. It should be noted that the last few times Gallant has said a player is “day-to-day”, that player wound up on the IR for a week (Kakko and Reaves).

Fortunately for Gallant, the Rangers and Chytil; the Rangers now have four days off, so perhaps #72 will be ready when the Rangers return on Saturday night, when they travel to Columbus for the first time this season.

With Chytil out, here’s what Gallant went with against the Panthers:

FIRST LINE: Kreider/Zibanejad/Blais (I thought Blais did a great job in his debut on the Rangers top line, especially defensively.)

SECOND LINE: Panarin/Strome/Kakko (Kakko still hasn’t shown up in the scoreboard, and if there is such a thing as luck, he has the worst luck going on the team today. More on this in the game recap.)

THIRD LINE: Lafreniere/Goodrow/Gauthier (If it wasn’t for an embellishment penalty Lafreniere took in this game, I wouldn’t have even noticed that he played. Zero shots on goal again. Gauthier is just one rung below Kakko for worst luck on the team, where he had two scoring opportunities, but once again, like a bad porn star – couldn’t finish. Ironically, Kakko can’t “Finnish” either!)

FOURTH LINE: Hunt/Rooney/Reaves (Another strong performance from perhaps the Rangers most consistent line.)

Defensively, we had this:

FIRST PAIR: Lindgren/Fox (For the first time this season, these two were on the ice for the bulk of the goals allowed, but Fox, after being screwed in Calgary, pulled off the same move from that game, where this time, his backhanded goal counted.)

SECOND PAIR: Miller/Trouba (Best game of season for these two, where Miller had the prettiest goal of the game and where Trouba wasn’t a shit-show defensively.)

THIRD PAIR: Nemeth/Lundkvist (A strong effort, even if they had to chase a lot, but you must consider the quality of competition too.)

And in net, CZAR IGOR Shestyorkin, who as deserved, was the #1 star (and CZAR) of this game.


Thirty minutes before puck-drop on Monday, the Rangers announced that defenseman Libor Hajek was sent to Hartford. Photo Credit: NYR

In our final news update before getting into the box score and game recap; prior to tonight’s game, the Rangers sent Libor Hajek to Hartford for conditioning. This decision was kind of surprising – not because it was made, but because it was made today.

Thirteen games down, Hajek hasn’t played one game this season. As we all know, the Rangers have tried to trade him, but with no success in that department – and if you’re not playing him, you’re not showcasing him for a potential trade suitor either.

What baffles me, is why this decision was made today? Why wasn’t Hajek sent to Hartford at the beginning of the season, if not for salary-cap purposes alone?

Yes, Hajek carries a minimal salary-cap hit of under $1M, but every dollar counts – especially come the trade deadline. Why carry Hajek’s cap hit for so long, only to finally make this long over-due move on Monday?

I doubt that Hajek ever plays for the Rangers this season (barring multiple COVID and injury issues); but the original decision of re-signing him was questionable (only done to save face on the poor McDonagh/Miller trade made by Drury’s predecessor), and to hold him (and his cap hit) for this long is even more questionable.

In either event, all the best to Hajek, whose NHL future is most likely somewhere else.


BOX SCORE time.

The following information and graphics come from the new world-wide leader in NHL coverage, ESPN.com:

SCORING:

PENALTIES:

TEAM STATS:

GOALIES:

FLA
SA
GA
SV
SV%
ESSV
PPSV
SHSV
SOSA
SOS
TOI
PIM
18 4 14 .778 9 4 1 0 0 58:37 0

 

NYR
SA
GA
SV
SV%
ESSV
PPSV
SHSV
SOSA
SOS
TOI
PIM
45 3 42 .933 39 0 3 0 0 59:56 0

Will this be the season that Chris Kreider finally hits and breaks the 30 goal mark? Thirteen games into the season, #20 now has nine goals.

When it comes to the M$GN pregame show tonight, as mentioned on this site on Saturday night, and on social media on Monday – the “ANTHONY DUCLAIR WAS ONCE A RANGER SIX YEARS AGO” stuff was indeed in overdrive. In fact, I think we had more Duclair references than Micheletti using the word “FABULOUS” on this broadcast – a rare feat.

While I thought Lundqvist was once again solid in his new role, it was the bleach-blonde douche that was horrendous. For some reason, Vally told us what it was like coming back from a road-trip and all the grind that comes along with it. I thought the man sitting next to him would’ve been better “suited” (literally) to talk about this issue.

Michele Gingras, back on the broadcast, did her act of wearing a mask and then taking it off in the segment following. I don’t get it. Maloney is right at ice level and doesn’t wear a mask, but Gingras does these intermission interview segments from a mile away and then covers up her mouth as if she had teeth worse than Al Trautwig.

Gingras also gave us a hot and an exclusive scoop – “The Rangers want to play a full sixty minute game.” You don’t say. Shouldn’t that be the focus and priority before every game?

In a comical segment, we learned that Spencer Knight, starting in steed of Panthers starter Sergei Bobrovsky, grew up idolizing Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist said he loved this guy. I’m not doing this segment justice, as it was funny if you saw it live.

Of note: I wonder if Knight got this start for two reasons? One, Florida treated the Rangers as a night off/inferior competition. And two, Panarin and Bobrovsky are friends, and train together, and maybe the Panthers didn’t want to give “The Breadman” an advantage? Just some food for thought.

During “Military Night”, as the Rangers & M$GN showed their appreciation prior to Veteran’s Day; Dave Maloney told us a great story about how his son, like Giannone’s son, serves in the military. Following Maloney’s real-life story, Vally followed up by asking a question that pretty much came off as, “why does Panarin suck?” Classy.

If Vally couldn’t be anymore full of shit, he tried to do out-do himself, stating that “Henrik Lundqvist never played angry once during his career, just like Igor.” Maybe all the hair-dye over the years has seeped into Vally’s brain, but if any goalie showed their emotions, especially when pissed off, it was Henrik Lundqvist. I mean how many stick-smashes, flipped nets, sprayed water bottles, hissy fits, screaming matches with his teammates and other displays of anger did we see during Lundqvist’s career?

Funny enough, later on during the broadcast, Lundqvist himself would admit that he played angry and would show his emotions – and during three separate segments at that. Vally is such a d-rider, that he’ll just make up anything in order to get Lundqvist to bat his eyes at him. Let Mr. 10 Goals Allowed to Dallas sling his shit to Shannon Hogan.

Lastly, prior to puck drop, Micheletti said that the Rangers may be afraid of the Panthers and could be embarrassed. While I don’t think that sentiment/prediction was entirely wrong, it was just weird to hear one of the biggest homers of the NHL to say something like this.


We’re still waiting for Mika Zibanejad to break out, but with two assists, he was named as the third star of the game. Photo Credit: NYR

Here’s something I didn’t know prior to the game, until Sam Rosen said it on-air – the Florida Panthers, despite their record, are the worst face-off team of the league. The second-worst? Of course, the team in blue. In turn, the Rangers dominated the dot during the first two periods, only to finish slightly ahead, 29-26, at the conclusion of the game.

Jacob Trouba, who did look motivated tonight, tried to put a SOG early on, only to have the puck go nowhere near the net. Before I could gripe in real-time, he hustled back, and broke up an Anthony Duclair attempt. Speaking of shot attempts, Florida dominated this stat, 91-37 – but hey, all that matters is the final score and that’s why the Rangers gave Igor big money.

(Again, I ask you to consider the circumstances going into this game and the quality of competition, where again, if this was the Coyotes – I’d understand the negative responses.)

Igor, similar to ex-NBAer Dominique Wilkins, and who has become a “Human Highlight Reel” himself; had another showing of the ages in this game, where on one of the first few shots he saw, he broke up a tic-tac-toe type of play, denying Tippett of a goal.

Just 4:55 into the period, Nemeth was nailed and penalized, after interfering with Sam Reinhart.

Goodrow, once again, was solid on the penalty kill, where he won a face-off, cleared a puck and then got a SOG. Right after Goodrow’s solid play, Sasha Barkov had a wide-open net, but failed to finish Shestyorkin.

With 24 seconds remaining on the Panthers power-play, the man-advantage was negated, after Carter Verhaeghe was nabbed for high-sticking Ryan Lindgren.

After the conclusion of the limited seconds of four vs four foreplay (where 4 x 4 would later play a huge factor during the second period), with 12:08 to go in the period, Chris Kreider picked up another power-play goal, his sixth of the season (tops in all of the NHL), to give the Rangers an early lead:

1-0, GOOD GUYS, as once again, Kreider played mop-up duty in front of the net and scored a rebound and/or deflection power-play goal; where this time, he had all day to pot this puck, which he successfully did.

Right after this goal, Igor’s #31 was called upon frequently, as he made a bevy of saves, including another one of his new patented saves, where the puck goes through his five-hole, and at the last possible moment, he snaps his pads and makes the save with the back of his skates. The CZAR of NYC then made another FABULOUS save, stopping Duclair.

Trouba, who looked much better tonight (finished with four hits, second-best to only Ryan Reaves who had seven hits), made two back-to-back hits, but on the second hit, he fell down, allowing the Panthers to go to work on the other end. No matter, as Igor once again bailed out the overpaid defenseman.

With 41.7 seconds to go, and following a long delayed penalty attack, Kevin Rooney, a PKer, was sent to the box after screwing around with Frank Vatrano. However, it would be the Rangers penalty kill picking up their first short-handed goal of the season, rather than Florida scoring on the power-play, after Adam Fox did this:

2-0, GOOD GUYS and with just under six seconds to go!

What. A. Goal. While not as gorgeous as the disallowed Fox goal against Calgary, this was pretty much the same type of goal, as Fox walked it in, made his backhand move and then beat the goaltender. Talk about a huge momentum goal, especially since it was of the short-handed variety and scored late into the period.

After twenty minutes, we remained 2-0, GOOD GUYS, where may I remind you – SPECIAL TEAMS SWING GAMES. It was nice to see the Rangers on the right side of this for once.


K’Andre Miller, who many Ranger fans would like to see moved to Hartford (with Jones being called up in turn), instilled promise in the Rangers faithful tonight. Photo Credit: NYR

As the second period began, the Panthers were still on the power-play, where Igor made three fantastic saves during the Rangers PK. He’d make three more saves following the kill, as not even 2:30 into the period, he was up to six saves.

With 16:33 to go, Igor made another great save, where he then gloved the puck to Rooney, which then led to Brandon Montour cross-checking Reaves from behind – and cowardly at that. This Rangers power-play reverted to its usual awfulness, where the team didn’t even get a shot on goal.

Now up to ten saves in the period (while the Rangers didn’t even have a SOG); Julien Gauthier did his act of streaking to the net, finding himself all alone with the goalie, and like a piss-poor undertaker – couldn’t bury it. The man has no luck at all, but surprisingly, there’s someone else with even worse luck than Gauthier.

With 10:50 remaining in the period, Panarin fed Kakko. Kakko had Knight in “deer-in-headlights” mode, but didn’t shoot the puck. Just as you were cursing out Kakko, the second-overall pick of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft skated to Gretzky’s office (behind the net) and fed Panarin for a beautiful one-timer, giving Panarin his first 5 x 5 goal of the season – or so we thought.

Instead, Florida successfully challenged the goal for goalie interference, with Strome being the offender.

In what was funny (only because the Rangers won), Lundqvist later said this was goalie interference, stating that Strome gave Knight no room to move while in the crease. Conversely, Dave Maloney, the ex-captain and former defenseman of the club, said Strome had nowhere to go, due to Ekblad pushing Strome, and not allowing Strome to clear the crease.

Goalies and skaters see things differently – which is why M$GN should give Vally the boot and bring an ex-skater in to chime in with Lundqvist!

To me, this was interference, where at the same time, the referees didn’t call this game consistently, as I’ll soon get into.

And of course, for Kaapo Kakko, who has no points this season, his first point of the season was wiped away like a baby’s buttocks. Ditto Panarin’s first full-strength goal. These two brown streaks, like a baby’s diaper, still remain in tact.

And oh yeah – that’s now two straight games where a gorgeous goal, scored by a Ranger, was erased.

The turning point of this game occurred with 7:51 to go in the period, when Ekblad held Lafreniere, and #13 in blue then dived, in order to sell the call that was already made. As a result, Lafreniere was nailed for one of those lovely “embellishment” calls. And as stated earlier, this was the only time I noticed Lafreniere all game – a statement, not an indictment.

In a span of thirty seconds, the Rangers won this “foreplay” battle, with two quick goals:

3-0, GOOD GUYS, as Miller went end-to-end and belly-to-belly, taking the puck from the defensive zone, went up ice, then went one-handed and swooped the puck past Knight.

Hands-down, not only was this the best goal that Miller has ever scored in his NHL career –  but this was also his best game ever since the first run of games he had at the start of his career.

Immediately after, we saw this:

4-0, GOOD GUYS, as Panarin found his favorite center, Ryan Strome, for the tally. Depending on how you view this, this became fortunately (or unfortunately), the game winning goal. After the goal, and with 6:42 remaining, Florida took their time-out.

As I was trying to slam it into the face of the “SKY IS FALLING PEOPLE”, the period soon expired, with the Rangers maintaining their 4-0 lead, despite being out-shot 28-15. Thankfully, I wouldn’t have to eat crow, but I almost had that meal.


Gallant has to figure out how to fix these “kryptonite” third periods. Photo Credit: NYR

I’m not an NHL head coach (you may have heard), even if I do manage an NHL fantasy team and do pretty well on NHL ’22 on Playstation. I say this, because I have no clue why the Rangers have these awful third periods. Do they just take their foot off of the gas? Are they thinking about the hot chick in the third row? Are they wondering where to go after the game? These are questions I can’t answer, but they are questions that Gallant will need to answer.

What surprised me about another woeful final frame of a game, is that during the first intermission, Ryan Reaves, who is a fantastic interview and interesting to listen to, brought up how the Rangers must play a full 60 minutes and close out third periods. For whatever reason, the opposite occurred here.

Twenty seconds into the period, and after a Panthers center ice face-off win, Ekblad rang a puck off of the iron. Eetu (who?) Luostarinen then buried the rebound. 4-1, good guys.

I hated, hated, and did I say HATED this.

On the review, it was 100000000000000% blatantly apparent, that Hornqvist pushed Igor down. The referees let this go. Ditto Gerard Gallant, who didn’t challenge this goal at all.

I was really pissed off about this at the time, and still a tad irked, as consider the scenario:

— The Rangers were up 4-0. This goal broke up Igor’s shut-out, during a play where there was CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE of goalie interference.

— The Panthers had a goal overturned for less contact, during the Panarin goal.

— When your goalie is standing on your head and in “FTW” mode, you owe it to him to protect his shut-out.

— Up by four goals, even in the rare event that Gallant would’ve lost this challenge, thus putting the Cats on the power-play; you’re still up three goals and with a penalty kill that’s been good more times than not.

At the end of the day, I thought Gallant needed to give his goalie the benefit of the doubt. While Igor has only one shut-out this season, and should probably have 4-5 more if it weren’t for defensive brain farts at inopportune times; he may have had another had Gallant challenged here. (Of course, the media didn’t bring this up at all during the post-game.)

(And yes – I know the Panthers would score two more goals later on, but had the score still been 4-0 as time waned down, the approach may have been different here. One event can “snowball effect” others, and I think by not challenging this, not only did Gallant hurt his goalie, he hurt the team too. Just an opinion from a beer-bellied blogger here – nothing more, nothing less.)


Maybe Igor could care less, but as a coach, when your goalie is one of your top players, you need to support him whenever you can – or so I say!

Following the momentum of the goal that should’ve been challenged; the Panthers controlled the opening minutes of the period, as the Cats toyed with the Rangers like a piece of string.

It would take about six minutes for the Rangers to regroup, following a pair of solid shifts from the Rangers bottom six.

About nine minutes into the period, Marchment tried to level Lundkvist with a hit, where the bruiser missed #27 in blue and smashed into the boards head first. Marchment would need help and would leave the game, never to return.

Approaching ten minutes into the period (and following a barrage of shots that Igor denied), the Rangers finally got their first SOG of the period, where Kakko was absolutely robbed by Knight, in the Panthers goaltender’s best save of the game. Kakko has turned into “MUSH” from “Bronx Tale”.

Not to be outdone, Gauthier streaked to the net again, where once again – no goal.

As Igor continued to deny shooter-after-shooter, where he was approaching an “OLD ENGLISH” game (40 saves for a 40 ouncer); with 5:46 remaining, he showed his frustration with the officials, after the stripes allowed the Panthers to collide into him all game. (No calls of course.)

After Igor logged his 40th save, with 86 ticks remaining, Reinhart ripped a shot from the middle. Igor thought he had this, and so did I, but no dice. 4-2, good guys.

Now with a two-goal deficit, the Panthers pulled Knight for the extra attacker. I was hoping Igor would finally get his first goal of the season (one more point/goal than Kakko); but instead, with 40 seconds remaining, Hornqvist, who previously interfered with Shestyorkin on the first Panthers goal, scored a “Nok Hockey” goal, where the puck took a fortuitous bounce for the Panthers, and eked through Igor’s legs. 4-3 good guys.

As you started to chain-smoke, nail-bite and creep to the edge of your seat, the final 40 seconds of this game were in the Rangers zone, where all you could do was dread what you’d thought would be the inevitable. Instead, CZAR IGOR clamped down, made another save and got the Rangers out of the game. 4-3, GOOD GUYS, your final, where admittedly, you may have sharted while watching this.


A win is a win. Photo Credit: NYR

Looking for a full 60 minute effort, the Rangers didn’t exactly do that (although they did play well enough in 45 minutes), but to knock off this team is fine enough for me – especially considering the circumstances.

Up next, four days off. Come Saturday, it’s another three games in four nights set, with a road game in Columbus, followed by two home games with the Devils and Habs. And after tonight’s win, I’m looking for the full six points, and where I think Georgiev will get the game with the Devils – unless Gallant breaks tradition and allows his starter to go back-to-back.

(And if it were up to me, why not – as I’d like to see what Igor could do in this situation, a situation we haven’t seen yet this season, but will see in the playoffs, should the Rangers qualify. And they will!)


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Book review coming this week.

Up next: take a breath and get ready for Saturday. I’ll have the Mark Messier autobiography book review up this week and then go back to working on my second book, which fingers-crossed, will be done this summer.

Stay FABULOUS my friends.

As always here, thanks for reading and…

LET’S GO RANGERS!

Sean McCaffrey

BULLSMC@aol.com

@NYCTHEMIC on Tweeter

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13 thoughts on “NYR/FLA 11/8 Review: CZAR IGOR Neuters The Undefeated Cats; Ranger Fat Cats Dump in Florida’s Litter Box, Eye Test > Analytics; Negative Fan Reactions, Good “Knight” Out, Hajek, M$GN, Gallant, Kakko “Kursed”; Second D Pair Snaps Slump & More

  1. Another funny and informative blog and yes a win is a win especially against the best team which I am sure FL is pissed. I do think the turning point was Gallant not challenging the call because it was goalie interference and what is the worst that could happen a penalty.

  2. Another funny and informative blog and yes a win is a win especially against the best team which I am sure FL is pissed. I do think the turning point was Gallant not challenging the call because it was goalie interference and what is the worst that could happen a penalty.

  3. Maybe the best photoshop ever? Two huge points after that road trip, just what the doctor ordered.

    Agreeing with Barbara about the interference challenge. Were NYR fearful of a Panther PP taking the score to 4-2 after a possibly failed challenge?

    Wow though, 91 shot attempts against, and 45 actually getting through. So that averages out at 1.5 reaction moves every minute for the length of the game. Not to mention the beat down he was getting in front of the net. Not exactly a formula for sustained success.

    1. Best photoshop ever doesn’t mean much around here lol, but I appreciate it!

      As I said, let’s see what happens starting on Saturday, I think many will be surprised.

    2. Best photoshop ever doesn’t mean much around here lol, but I appreciate it!

      As I said, let’s see what happens starting on Saturday, I think many will be surprised.

  4. Happy for the win. It shows how deep the Panthers are when they were heading into the 3rd by 4-0 and roared back . Florida had a 20 year old rookie in the net who left the game with a .774 save percentage. The Panthers are an ascendant elite team with a load of prime time mid career players. Miller scored a beauty and likely Rangers fans will be asking for more of that. Shesterkin did another fabulous job of holding the fort.

    1. That Spencer Knight isn’t half bad, he had some good games last year, and it’s why they moved on from Dreidger, even with Bobrovsky struggling.

      I hope Igor gets a back-to-back this upcoming weekend, just so we can see what he can do.

  5. I agree with you Sean — I think everyone should just relax. Four home games among the first 13, with two pretty significant road trips mixed in, and the record is 7-3-3. Hardly a scenario to start calling for heads or jumping off cliffs.

    Remember: In AV’s first year, when the NYR went to the Cup finals, the team’s record a couple of days before Christmas was a game under .500.

    So let’s let this bunch and its new coaching staff continue to develop, and let’s stay off the cyanide for at least a few weeks more…..

    1. Great point about the first AV year, I think I may have said that on social media and not on the site, but thanks for the reminder.

      I’m not planning a parade route just yet, but the jumping off the bridge stuff is even more ridiculous to me.

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