NYR/EDM 1/3 Review: The Red-Hot NHL’s Best New York Rangers Do It Again; Reclaim FIRST PLACE, Georgiev’s Redemption Game; Extracts Revenge on McDavid, Team-Wide Victory, Second Line Soars; Lafreniere’s Big Night, Mika’s Successful Shadowing, REAL STATS vs Analytics, Gallant & More

In their final home game before a five game road-trip; the FIRST PLACE NEW YORK RANGERS handled business inside of “The World’s Most Expensive Arena” on Monday night, where the Blueshirts knocked off the Edmonton Oilers by a final score of 4-1. Did I mention that with this win, the Rangers are now in FIRST PLACE? I may mention this a few more times tonight!

Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. FIRST PLACE!

Hell, let’s start with that!

Following their huge team-wide victory over the Oilers on Monday night, where there was not one weak link (okay, maybe Filip Chytil) – the Rangers grabbed two more points in the standings.

On January 3rd, 2022, and with over 40% of the season now completed; the New York Rangers aren’t only in first place in the toughest division in all of hockey, the Metropolitan Division – but the Blueshirts stand tall among all 32 NHL franchises:

Photo Credit: ESPN.com

If you’re like my miserable and pessimistic friend (the horrible YOFFREY), you may point out how Carolina has three games in-hand and are a point back of the Rangers. In response to that junk, I say this:

The Rangers haven’t played the Carolina Hurricanes this season. That means the Rangers still control their own destiny.

Should the Canes creep up in the standings, and then jump the Rangers – all the Blueshirts need to do is to beat Carolina.

At this point in time, the Rangers own their own fate. That’s all you can ask for. To be “glass half-empty” here – well that is the mission of a blithering fool.

Also foolish? Complaining that Alexis Lafreniere only scores “gift goals,” but more on that in a bit!

I swear, some Ranger fans can never be happy, where wouldn’t you know it – all of them come from the ANALytic community.

(And isn’t it poetic justice that the Rangers are rolling without that seven-foot stooge Steve Valiquette right now? Keep Maloney on these M$GN broadcasts and let the good times roll! These last few broadcasts have been the best of the season, especially without Vagistat going on-and-on about his made-up fake news stats – stats that never have anything to do with the game you’re watching.)

On that note, I’ll soon have REAL STATS for you tonight, in a response after being bombarded by useless nonsense from the unwashed masses that make up the analytical community on Monday.

(Seriously, and I’m not making this up – prior to this win over Edmonton, the Rangers just swept the best team in hockey, the Tampa Bay Lightning, and I still had MORONS flooding my social media feeds with talk about how “the Rangers are lucky, the expected stats don’t support the win, I popped my blow-up doll and blah blah blah.”)

Also of note – I’m still waiting for the first NHL player, coach or general manager, to thank their analytical department after a victory, whether it be a regular season victory, a playoff victory or a Stanley Cup victory.

I mean I can see it now, Gerard Gallant’s Rangers win the Stanley Cup in 2022, and “The Turk” responds with this:

“You know Larry Brooks, none of this would be possible if it weren’t for the analytical department and that Hall of Fame goalie of 46 games telling me all about EXPECTED STATS and giving me reams of paper from his “Clear Sighted Analytics” company. I credit this Stanley Cup championship to them.”

Alas, I digress and have gone on a tangent. Back to this game!


Ryan Strome, picking up where Barclay Goodrow left off, continued to “REVERSE THE CURSE” on Monday night. Photo Credit: NYR

In a game where a win would’ve given the Rangers the top spot of the Metropolitan Division; the entire Father Finkin’ team stood up and also nabbed first place in all of the NHL.

You guys know I like to make my god-awful horrible photoshops after every game, which are featured at the top of these blogs. What a legacy I have created.

While I went with Georgiev as my feature tonight, after his robbery save on Connor McDavid (more on that below) – I really should’ve just posted a team photo. Then again, the Rangers haven’t published such a team photo yet. (Plus, even if they did, that photo wouldn’t have reflected every Ranger that played in this game.)

It’s tough to feature any one particular player as a singular hero tonight. The whole team showed up.

Ryan Strome, who had already debunked the “he only plays well with Panarin” talk, had a three-point game tonight, behind a goal and two assists.

Alexis Lafreniere, the number one overall pick of the 2020 NHL Draft (you may have heard about this once or twice before), arguably had his best game of the season tonight, behind a goal and an assist. (And solid defense too!)

Barclay Goodrow, the new third member of the temporarily “breadless” second line, chipped in a goal. He also recorded an assist as well.

Mika Zibanejad, tasked to primarily focus on his defense tonight (since he was matched up with Connor McDavid), did just that, as #93 in blue shut down the greatest player in hockey today.

For all the talk about the Rangers defensemen, where many fans try to single one out as a whipping boy (Hajek is their latest enemy) – all six of them played well tonight, including that Adam Fox guy who I’ll soon get into.

(Of note: I’ll never get the fans who bitch and moan about a sixth defenseman and/or a twelfth forward. If you’re going to cry, whine like I do – over a high-salaried player! Heck, this “reverse jinx” has worked out for me – see Jacob Trouba!)

And while the Rangers power-play could’ve been better, they picked up a goal on one of their five tries. More importantly, the Rangers penalty kill kept the best power-play team in all of the NHL off of the board.

Then there was Alexandar Georgiev, who had the target on his back by many in this ridiculous fan base, who once again proved big.

After being on the wrong end of a Connor McDavid highlight reel goal in early November; “THE BULGARIAN BEAST” redeemed himself on this night, where it was his turn to be the star of a McDavid highlight clip, where #40 in blue ABSOLUTELY ROBBED #97 in white.

And oh yeah – if it weren’t for a puck-luck tap-in goal, the Rangers would’ve won back-to-back games by a final score of 4-0! (Still waiting for Derek “NO FLEX, ALL WELCH” Felix, of NewYorkPuck.com, to man up and eat his shoe as promised!)

But not for nothing – my prediction of the Rangers scoring four goals tonight did pan out!


DQ who?

I know I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating again – while many Rangers are up for accolades, whether it be the All-Star game or individual trophies; it’s my belief that Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant should start getting some buzz for the Jack Adams. And maybe general manager Chris Drury deserves some attention for “Executive of the Year” too.

I’ll try to limit myself from the “I-told-you-so” stuff, but yeah – I knew this new duo would have success. While nothing against John Davidson, Jeff Gorton and David Quinn – I just had a good feeling about this team in the off-season, during the preseason, into the regular season and even more so today.

(And as mentioned in the past, every time JD leaves a place, his team does better without him.)

You can check the archives of this site for more on my past predictions – but yeah, it’s nice to see this all work out as envisioned.

(And if you don’t know, no one wanted CZAR IGOR to take over the Rangers net more so than me. I feel vindicated after hearing so much junk over the past 3-4 seasons!)

Let’s now get into some REAL STATS, the news, the box score and of course, the main event – the game review.


I still believe Adam Fox will win his second Norris Trophy come June of 2022! Photo Credit: Ryan Strome

I wanted to present some REAL STATS for you tonight, since fairly often, we are plastered with fake news stats, such as “EXPECTED” this and “EXPECTED” that.

Going into this game, Adam Fox was pretty much in a virtual tie with Victor Hedman for most points in the NHL by a defenseman. Hedman led Fox by one point, but had played in one extra game.

It should also be stated that while the Norris Trophy is awarded to the best DEFENSEMAN, very often, the word defense gets lost in that.

I’ll save you from another one of my rants, where I campaign for the NHL to create another award for their defensemen – where it’s my belief that there should also be a trophy rewarding the league’s best defensive-defenseman too.

That said, while the Norris Trophy usually is doled out to offensive-oriented defensemen; defensive skills are also factored into the equation. Breaking up plays and being great on the penalty kill is very important.

This is why Hedman and Fox are in a 1-2 race for the trophy this season, and why someone like a Tony DeAngelo, who also has gaudy offensive numbers, wouldn’t (and shouldn’t) be considered. (DeAngelo doesn’t play on Carolina’s penalty kill like Fox and Hedman do for their teams.)

Anyway, here were the REAL STATS between these two Norris contenders (prior to Monday), stats which don’t reflect tonight’s game:

Photo Credit: NHL.com

Following this game, Fox now leads Hedman for most points, as a result of #23’s two assists tonight. Fox now has 35 points, one better than Hedman and in the same amount of games played (34).

I’m telling you, Fox will soon be a two-time winner of this award!

When it comes to the land of goaltenders, CZAR IGOR Shestyorkin, who didn’t start this game as I hoped he would’ve (more below), is currently second-best in the league when it comes to save percentage.

Due to his recent groin injury, his total wins number isn’t as high as the goalies above him; but despite missing a chunk of games, he’s still fifth-best in that department. And I’m sure as the season moseys on along, everything will balance out and he’ll jump up a few spots.

Right now, Shestyorkin currently trails Campbell out of Toronto (and who knows when the Leafs will ever play again) by .03 points:

Photo Credit: ESPN

Lastly, and before getting into the rest of the news – you know one of my favorite expressions that I frequently use on this site – “SPECIAL TEAMS SWING GAMES!”

This game tonight featured the league’s best power-play, the Edmonton Oilers, going against the league’s fifth-best penalty kill unit:

Going into this game, the Rangers had the fifth-best PK unit in the league and jumped up to third-place after tonight. Photo Credit: ESPN
The Oilers have the best power-play in the league. Photo Credit: ESPN

And as we saw tonight, the Rangers PK did their job, as they shut down the heralded Oilers’ power-play. That’s extremely impressive.


Perhaps Gallant’s New Year’s resolution is to tell the media who his starting goaltender will be before games? Then again, maybe the entire NHL will feel pressure to do so, especially when sports gambling becomes legal in New York! Photo Credit: NYR

Prior to Gallant meeting with the media on Monday afternoon, the Rangers announced that both Ryan Lindgren and Kevin Rooney were out of COVID protocol. Artemi Panarin, who found himself on the flu list yesterday, remains there.

In a corresponding move, with Rooney back, forward Timothy Gettinger was returned to the Rangers taxi squad. Defenseman Zac Jones was not. In fact, Jones got the start on the third pair tonight, where he replaced Nils Lundkvist.

During his pregame chat with the media, Gallant wouldn’t tip his hand one way or the other, regarding his starting line-up. However, for the second time this year (he’s now 2-2 in ’22), he did announce his starting goaltender, where he said that Alexandar Georgiev would get the start.

(And after winning both of these games, perhaps Gallant should keep on telling the media who he’s going to put in net!)

As talked about last night; going into this home-set, I thought the two Ranger goalies would split these two home games, since Gallant doesn’t like to give his goalies back-to-back games. At the same time, I also thought CZAR IGOR should’ve went tonight, but that’s me – as I always want to see a goalie off of a shutout get the next start.

Plus, with this game being the only game of the league played on Monday night – I thought every hockey fan should’ve seen the Rangers best in net (Shestyorkin) against the Oilers dynamic duo (Draisaitl and McDavid).

(To be clear, I’m fine with whatever Gallant does. I had no issue with Georgiev going – something I said prior to the game on social media, so this isn’t a case of hindsight being 20/20.)

However, no matter, as Georgiev did his job, helping the Rangers to not only a victory, but FIRST PLACE too!

In something mildly, and I mean mildly, related; prior to the game, the Rangers were emailing their fans, where they offered tickets for as low as $55:

I received this email on Monday afternoon.

To be fair, one thing doesn’t exactly have to do with the other. After all, I received this email prior to Gallant’s announcement of Georgiev’s start.

In addition (and as talked about 7867866789678967 times before), there are a bunch of reasons for the Rangers light attendance as of late (white collar crowd no longer in Manhattan, lack of tourists, limiting the pool of people who can legally attend, etc.)

And of course, another reason for small crowds are the Rangers high-priced ducats, which had been an issue long before COVID’s ugly head came rearing in.

With that all said, here was what Gallant went with on Monday night:

Photo Credit: M$GN

Here’s the text version, in case that graphic is too blurry:

FIRST LINE: Kreider/Mika/Kakko

SECOND LINE: Lafreniere/Strome/Goodrow

THIRD LINE: Hunt/Chytil/Gauthier

FOURTH LINE: Rooney/McKegg/Reaves

FIRST D-PAIR: Lindgren/Fox

SECOND D-PAIR: Miller/Trouba

THIRD D-PAIR: Hajek/Jones

And in net, Alexandar Georgiev


BOX SCORE time.

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

SCORING:

PENALTIES:

TEAM STATS:

THREE STARS:

GOALIES:

EDM
SA
GA
SV
SV%
ESSV
PPSV
SHSV
SOSA
SOS
TOI
PIM
28 4 24 .857 19 0 5 0 0 60:00 2

 

NYR
SA
GA
SV
SV%
ESSV
PPSV
SHSV
SOSA
SOS
TOI
PIM
34 1 33 .971 29 1 3 0 0 59:42 0

In game that not only was featured on the M$G Networks, but on ESPN and SportsNet (Canada) too – Alexis Lafreniere shined under the bright lights. Photo Credit: Aaron Davis (RIP)

Dave Maloney, as he always is, was FABULOUS on the pregame show. Then again, I think the M$GN could pluck some junkie out of Penn Station, and they’d be a refreshing alternative than the usual tripe we get out of Valiquette. (Have you noticed – I’m not a fan of analytics!)

It’s so nice to hear from a player that actually played, knows the game, and talks about the stuff on the ice – and not what his spreadsheet expected.

Maloney said to expect Fox and Lindgren to get a lot of time tonight, especially against McDavid. He would be right.

The ex-captain also said that Georgiev needs to stay in his own net (where he didn’t mention the name of Brian Elliott while saying this) and let the game come to him. Maloney then raved about Georgiev’s recent stretch and said he’d be good. That proved true as well.

Maloney would later go on to say that because of his new role on the Rangers penalty kill, it has allowed Chris Kreider to become more involved in these games, where in turn, it’s helped Kreider’s offensive game. I never thought of that before. I’m inclined to agree.

Kreider, part of two successful penalty kills in this game, would then go on to score a power-play goal too.

This is what you’d call a REAL-EYE-TEST ANALYSIS!


Lastly, and as I breeze through our usual M$GN bit; due to runny noses, the Oilers production staff couldn’t enter M$G. Instead, the M$GN feed of this game was broadcasted in Canada, where those mother-canuckers had to hear the word “FABULOUS” a few hundred times.

Since this broadcast served not only as a dual-broadcast; but aired in two different countries too – Sam and Joe, who usually praise the opponent and wack their wieners to them anyway, really went out of their way to focus on the Oilers all game long.

While Sam did get giddy about the Rangers at times (he also nearly had an orgasm when he got the #CadillacTrivia question correct too, shrieking out the word “BINGO!”) – these two kind of adopted a “national broadcast” style, as they talked about the two teams equally, rather than just focusing on the Rangers.

I thought this was understandable, but as stated, it’s not like these two don’t “reverse jinx” and “mush” the Rangers on a daily basis anyway!

And let’s be happy that for all the “mushing” they were doing, none of their bad “juju” hurt the Rangers on this night!

Game review time!


In his first start since the return of CZAR IGOR; Georgiev continued to roll. He finished with 33 saves on 34 shots, and where the one goal allowed was not on him at all. He was also named as the third star of the game. (I would’ve given him the first star, but none of that matters!) Photo Credit: NYR

After Mika won the first draw of the game; fifteen seconds later, Koskinen, facing pressure, lifted a puck over the glass. The Rangers would immediately go on the power-play.

The PP1 unit had their chances, where Koskinen made two good saves on Kreider, and another save on Fox. Once the PP2 unit came on with 56 seconds remaining on the man-advantage, they couldn’t get anything going. Instead, the Oilers penalty kill made three clears and that was that.

As mentioned last night, in the Rangers 4-0 win over the Bolts, the team blocked eighteen shots for CZAR IGOR, while Tampa only blocked three shots for Vasilevskiy.

In tonight’s victory, the Rangers upped themselves four blocked shots better, where they blocked 22 shots in all for Georgiev. The Oilers only blocked three shots for Koskinen.

And let’s face it – these analytical geeks will always ignore the importance of blocked shots. It’s why these mooks always buried Dan Girardi – despite Girardi’s status as the NHL all-time blocked shots leader.

These forty blocked shots (between these last two games) tells you that this team is functioning as one. They are playing as a team. There are no egos. Everyone is blocking shots too – stars, veterans, rookies, everyone! They’ve all embraced the concept of team play, and that starts at the top with Gerard Gallant.

Let me put this in capslock for emphasis – THIS SHOULD NOT BE OVERLOOKED.


Libor Hajek, who has done everything possible since getting a chance, and along with Jacob Trouba, led the team in blocked shots tonight. Both men finished with four blocked shots each. Photo Credit: NYR

After Fox blocked a Draisaitl try, the third line came on and battled, where they won some wall battles. This then led to Hunt getting a shot off, a shot that hit the side of the net.

Once Koskinen stopped Kreider again (CK20 had three shots on goal in the first 3:30 of the game), it was Zibanejad’s turn to block a shot. Again, no egos at all on this team!

5:25 into the period, this happened:


1-0, GOOD GUYS!

While not exactly an “Elliott;” Koskinen went behind his net, said “oh shit,” and Ryan Strome forced a turnover and got the puck to Lafreniere. The number one pick then buried the puck into the back of the net – just like he did against Elliott under similar circumstances from two games back.

This is when I was tagged in some social media silliness, where people said, “Lafreniere only scores gift goals.” Ugh. MORONS.

Are these goals gifts? Yes and no. However, that shouldn’t really be anyone’s concern anyway.

What should be the topic of conversation is that Lafreniere is in the right place and his offensive awareness skills are increasing.

These goals don’t happen if Lafreniere isn’t tracking the puck and in the right position to capitalize.

I don’t know how people ignore this. I guess they can’t figure this out with their t-squares and heat-maps. Maybe pull your head up for once from your charts, and use your eyes when watching the game!

And as fans, shouldn’t we all be happy that Lafreniere is capitalizing on these chances?

The guy scores goals and people still complain. After all, just imagine if it were Chytil, and not Lafreniere, in these situations? These pucks would’ve hit some homeless tent camp at Newark Penn Station!

It should also be stated that the returning Ryan Lindgren set this whole play up, by simply dumping the puck into the zone, which then set up Strome in scaring the bejesus out of Koskinen.


Following the goal, the same play almost happened again, but after this Koskinen turnover, the Rangers couldn’t find their second goal of the game – at least not yet.

Eight minutes into the first period, the Oilers only had one shot on goal, a Georgiev save on Puljujarvi.

With under 9:30 to go, Sceviour went on a breakaway, but he went wide. However, he’d get the puck back, where Georgiev denied him for good measure.

In a funny play, McKegg was sent into Koskinen’s net. No call. However, once inside of the net, Koskinen kept McKegg trapped and wouldn’t let him leave. No interference call on that either. However, McKegg then pushed Koskinen and the Oilers crappy goaltender dove as if he was Rodney Dangerfield in “Back to School.” The refs decided not to bang Koskinen for embellishment here either, as the Oilers got away with three separate penalties on one play. Excellent officiating. Where’s Howie S.?

The Rangers fourth line, the best the franchise has ever had since the 2014 and 2015 runs, were once again FABULOUS tonight. Ryan Reaves in particular stood out with some big hits, where he finished as the game’s leader in this department, with six in all.

The new second line, motoring all game, had a good forecheck going on during the final minutes of the period. However, they’d be denied here with around four minutes to go. Once the Oilers got the puck following this forecheck, Georgiev denied the wet Nurse.

Slater Koekkoek, who from this point forward I’ll refer to as Slater, as his surname gives my spell-checker an aneurysm; got crushed by Ryan Lindgren, just before Georgiev denied Barrie of a goal.

Around this time on social media, I remarked how great Lafreniere looked on the second line, and in general – how well the second line was playing as a unit. That would prove prophetic later on – despite the previous goal scored by the line. (It would only get better.)

After one period, we remained at 1-0, and where the Rangers almost doubled-up McDavid’s men in the SOG department too, at 11-6.

And as mentioned earlier, Strome finished this game with three points. Goodrow, in his first game back in Tampa, scored two goals last Friday. He then picked up an assist on Sunday.

In other words, the curse has been broken. It’s now the Rangers scoring against their former teams for once, a trend that I’m happy to experience!

This is my way of saying that Ryan Reaves scores on Thursday night in Vegas!


Goodrow, known for his defense and physicality, has been racking up the points during this three-game winning streak. Photo Credit: M$GN

As the second period opened up, and as Sam and Joe did everything in their power to will the Oilers into a goal too; Georgiev shooed away a McDavid attempt.

On the next possession, Lindgren ate a puck, which was deflected, right in the mush. He wouldn’t miss a shift, where in fact, Adam Fox, when sitting next to his defensive partner and roommate, shared a laugh with #55 about this misfortune.

After Koskinen stopped Hajek, Georgiev stopped McDavid and broke Hyman’s hopes for a goal too.

As Sam and Joe still lamented over the Oilers woes, 3:49 into the period, this happened:


2-0, GOOD GUYS, as Lafreniere returned the favor to a linemate and set up Goodrow for this quick tally. Man oh man, how “good” has Goodrow been lately?

Following the face-off after the goal, Lafreniere, still on the ice, then tried to set up Reaves. This try wouldn’t be successful, but as was the case all game, #13 in blue was creating offense.

Between Mika heating up (he didn’t score tonight, but give him a pass, since it was his job tonight to shadow McDavid) and now Lafreniere showing off his potential – this team continues to become more dangerous than ever before. Their record reflects as much. (And they are doing all of this without Panarin.)

During back-to-back Oiler possessions, two of the six alternate captains helped out their goaltender, as both Trouba and Zibanejad cleared perilously loose pucks in front of Georgiev, which prevented easy Oiler tap-in attempts.

With 13:34 to go in the middle stanza, Slater held Mika. However, just 31 seconds into the power-play, Kakko was boxed for hooking Shore. Of note, that’s now two times in three games where Kakko took a penalty while on a Rangers power-play. In his defense, both calls were bullshit, as he was a victim of circumstance and questionable zebras.

On the foreplay, Miller was stopped by Koskinen and then Mika hit a crossbar. Neither team’s power-play scored during all of this, and with nearly eleven minutes remaining, both teams returned to full strength.

Once back to five-vs-five, the third line had a 3×1 try, but Chytil couldn’t get a shot off. Micheletti wasn’t happy about this. Neither was I, but sadly, I also expected it.

After Georgiev made a few saves; Koskinen then made back-to-back great saves on both Kreider and McKegg, robbing the latter on a one-timed deflection with 7:45 remaining in the period.

A stretch of nearly eight minutes of whistle-free hockey took place here, where with just six minutes on the dot remaining, Benson found McLeod all alone to the right of Georgiev for an easy tap-in goal. 2-1, good guys.

This goal wasn’t on Georgiev, as McLeod got behind the defense and the pass made its way through cleanly.

Now within one, the Oilers heated up a bit here and found their second wind. No matter, as Georgiev wouldn’t give up another goal in this game.

The Rangers would get another 3×1 try, but Adam Fox, on the ice for over two minutes as a result of an icing; over-skated a bit, which then allowed Koskinen to reposition himself and keep the Norris winner off of the board.

In the final minute or so, Georgiev made two more saves, upping his save total to 19 at this point in the game.

As the horn went off, the Rangers remained up by one goal.

Up next, the Rangers would try to repeat their third period success from the day prior – which they did.

Even better, the Rangers looked better during this third period than they have looked during most of their third periods from this season – or at least as of late.


Okay, this is an old picture, and this was a home game to boot – but I just like Kreider and Fox as the old LEGION OF DOOM! These two doomed the Oilers chances of winning this game tonight.

Zibanejad, who wasn’t as successful at the dot as he was during the last two games (6 of 15, for a winning percentage of 40%), did win the first face-off of this third period. However, the Oilers would get the first shot on goal of the period, just 43 seconds in, as Georgiev stopped Foegele.

As both goalies exchanged saves, with 17:40 remaining in regulation, McLeod tripped McKegg.

1:12 into the Rangers power-play, Adam Fox fired a shot from deep, and the puck trickled past Koskinen. 3-1, GOOD GUYS!

On this goal, it looked like Fox had it, but on replay, we saw that Kreider had deftly and skillfully deflected the puck. Either way, this gave the Rangers a much-needed insurance goal. It also gave Fox another point, and even better – gave Kreider his 12th PPG of the season (career-high) and his 20th goal overall.

And if I said it once, I’ve said it 785678578579659 times this season – not only will Kreider eclipse the 30 goal mark this season – he’ll hit 40 too!

With 13:27 to go, Trouba blocked two more shots back-to-back. This set up Lafreniere for a try on the other end, a save for Koskinen.

After Gauthier showed us that he’ll never score again; with 11:55 to go, Yamamoto slashed Ryan Strome. The Rangers power-play wouldn’t score here. In fact, for the second time in the game, they took a penalty while on their own power-play, as Trouba high-sticked Sceviour.

In turn, after some minimal foreplay, the Oil had 1:38 power-play time. This would lead to the save of the game:

GEORGIE! GEORGIE! GEORGIE! pic.twitter.com/SujI893M3h


After McDavid embarrassed the Rangers and Georgiev in Edmonton, it was the Bulgarian’s turn to extract revenge, as he made a FABULOUS, ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS SAM, save on McDavid.

I’d have to go back and look at every Georgiev save from this season, and perhaps I’m living in the moment here – but I thought this was the best save that #40 has made this season – especially considering who he stopped and the circumstances (Oilers PP).

And needless to say, M$G exploded after this save, with enormous chants of “GEOR-GEE! GEOR-GEE! GEOR-GEE!”

I’ve done my piece on Georgiev before, but this had to feel good for him. The once former starter of this team, for as brief as it was, and who is now relegated, showcased himself to the entire NHL tonight.

(And as said before, I think this is Georgiev’s last season in New York, one way or the other. For now, I’m just happy to see him succeed.)

With 5:49 to go, the Rangers put a bow on this contest:


4-1, GOOD GUYS, as Strome got some puck luck, courtesy of Barrie’s skate. But hey – they all count the same.

And for a season full of cliches and adages, how about this one – “good things happen when you shoot the puck!”

Even better, and from the REAL STATS department, Fox got an assist here, which pushed him one point over Hedman. Also, Goodrow got an assist here too, which meant that every member of the second line had a multi-point game.

And did I mention that the Rangers have now defeated two great teams (I know the Oilers are struggling, but they can flip the script as fast as anyone), without the $11.6M Artemi Panarin?

(AND LET ME BE CLEAR: this is not an indictment about Panarin at all. This is my way of saying that this was a TEAM WIN and that the Rangers are personifying the adage of “NEXT MAN UP!”)

With 2:40 to go, Foegele ended any chance of an Oilers comeback, as he high-sticked Trouba.

The Rangers power-play didn’t really try to force the issue here, as they played conservatively a bit, and as they should’ve. (And perhaps because of how lethal the Oilers can be, Gallant didn’t reward his fourth liners with any PP time here as he has done in the past during similar situations.)

With 35 seconds to go, and to remind everyone that he is struggling, Chytil shot a puck wide while two feet away.

4-1 your final, for your FIRST PLACE (have I mentioned this yet?) NEW YORK RANGERS!


What a big night for Georgiev and the Rangers.

It’s late as I write this and I have to pack for my upcoming trip – but you owe it to yourself to watch the Rangers YouTube channel, and enjoy the post-game interviews.

Everyone was praising everyone. Georgiev didn’t take an ounce of credit for the win, as he thanked his teammates for blocking shots and helping him out all game. Strome was praising Lafreniere. Lafreniere was praising the veterans for helping him. You couldn’t wipe the smile off of Gallant’s face, a head coach, who time-and-time again, has pressed every right button this season.

Enjoy it Ranger fans!

And with the Capitals and Canes idle for the next two days; once the Rangers play next, this Thursday in “Sin City,” they’ll start that game still as the first place team of the Metro. They may even remain as first place in all of the league too!

PLUGS time, followed by a few site programming notes.


The hardcover version of my book, available now at Amazon.com

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”.

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 re-ordered more copies. I now have 14 signed copies for sale at $25 a pop (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/TBL 1/2 Review: Rangers Blowout & Shutout The Bolts; Chump The Champs, No Breadstick; New Year New Mika’s Hat Trick, CZAR IGOR’s Second 4-0 No-No, CK20’s Three Apples, Jones’ Debut, NYR Continues to Defy the Odds & More


NYR/TBL 12/31 Review: Rangers Ring in New Year with a “Stolen Victory”; Goodrow Gets a Ring (And Two Goals Too), Santa Elliott’s Two Belated X-Mas Presents, Gallant’s “Rabbit-Ears” Moment, CZAR IGOR, Jagr, M$GN & More


NYR/FLA 12/29 Review: Another Terrible Third Period Topples Rangers; Panarin’s Big Night Wasted, Taxi-Squad & Call-Ups, The Never-Ending Pandemic & Hockey; IIHF Nixes Male & Female Tourneys, Lundqvist Night Not in Jeopardy, FABULOUS Micheletti, JB Smoove, DQ, Marchand, S.O.S. Trends & More


If you haven’t already, subscribe to this blog for the next update:


If all things go according to plan, I’ll be back in Vegas on Thursday night.

Up next: the Rangers head out west, starting in Vegas on Thursday night.

As mentioned last blog, and for the last month – I’ll be attending the next three Ranger games. Pray to the hockey gods for no interference from omicron and that these games go off as planned!

Site-wise, the next three game recaps will be posted extremely late and will be shorter than usual.

As you may know already, I use Twitter as a running notebook, where I then reference my tweets when writing these blogs. However, when I go to a game, outside of taking pictures during whistles/TV timeouts – the phone stays in my pocket.

I think my plan is to post a ton of pictures from each game, and then write a short recap. If you find these blogs via social media or other outlets, I’d suggest subscribing to the site to get first access to everything.

WHAT. A. WIN.

WHAT. A. TEAM.

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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30 thoughts on “NYR/EDM 1/3 Review: The Red-Hot NHL’s Best New York Rangers Do It Again; Reclaim FIRST PLACE, Georgiev’s Redemption Game; Extracts Revenge on McDavid, Team-Wide Victory, Second Line Soars; Lafreniere’s Big Night, Mika’s Successful Shadowing, REAL STATS vs Analytics, Gallant & More

  1. I believe you overlooked one bit of information. Without Panarin, the Rangers are showing their speed, play making, scoring and defense. With Panarin, there is too much standing around waiting for everone (including Breadman) to stick handle and make fancy dan passes. I prefer the flying around and shooting on net to standstill and wait for a pass.

  2. Wow what a great win and in first place. They are really stepping up playing like a whole team. Georgiev is still my favorite and so glad he got the chants and played so well. Have a fun and safe trip and let’s go Rangers.

      1. Zap, in Georgiev’s post-game news conference, he explained that he was able to stay sharp by skating on his own during the few days he was ineligible to play due to a positive COVID test. None of the reporters had to ask him if being vaccinated (like 99% of NHL players) enabled his body to fight off the infection so quickly since it was self-evident the vaccine had done its job. Maybe he should have had a shutout against EDM, but the one goal he allowed was because Dryden Hunt missed a check, not because the vaccine didn’t work.

        1. Bill
          I don’t know exactly what non sequitur tangent you are on here Bill, so we are now talking about Georgiev and vaccines here?…….I cant recall ever bringing this up but ok lets talk about Georgiev and vaccines

          So your argument is………a hockey player who was already vaccinated still got the illness he was vaccinated against but since he made a speedy recovery this proves the vaccines work?

          The vaccine does not work as a vaccine, official sources are now admitting this and even making the extraordinary and deliberately fraudulent claim that the vaccines were never intended to give immunity in the first place and that they were designed as a “treatment”……this statement is such an outlandish fiction that it is difficult to try and even put into words how outrageous a claim it is……….yet it goes without the slightest of criticism’s because that would be “dangerous disinformation and misinformation” as they have now deemed any and every criticism of the science and data surrounding this completely contrived medical boondoggle.

          How long are people on the pro vaccine side going to allow the authorities to make outlandish claims about this “vaccine” that turn all of their previous claims about the very same thing upside down and on it’s head before they point out the obvious discrepancies and say………hey this is NOT what you were claiming before!!!……or then notice that all of the people who the authorities were attacking, smearing in the media and banning from social media were correct in their counterclaims all along?

          Ever?

          I mean how many times can the authorities on this holy water….errr……psuedovaccine…. keep pulling this presto chango, now you see it, now you don’t, shell game on these people before they realize they are being swindled?

          1. Zap
            You replied to my comment about Georgiev being NYR goalie number 1A by complaining that you feel “unalleviated heh” about “vaccine concerns,” so I explained that Georgiev’s rapid progress from a positive COVID test to a negative test is a good example of how well the vaccine works.

            I wasn’t going off on a “non sequitur tangent.” I was just answering your request for reassurance about the effectiveness of the vaccine. Sorry that triggered you. If you didn’t want to get into a vaccine discussion, you shouldn’t have addressed your unalleviated concerns to me. If you bring up the subject with me again, do you want me to just ignore what you write?

        2. Bill
          Like I told Sean, he can wish C19 away but it is not going to go away because they will just keep drumming up the dangers of variants to keep the authoritarian control measures permanently in play…………….well not permanently in play but in play at least until the global banking sector collapses again which is what all of this nonsense is about in my opinion.

          The fact that speculating about deadlier mutant variants of a virus completely contradicts the consensus view of the science of viruses and their life cycles dating from anytime before Jan 2020 does not seem to bother anyone in authority or the general public………..but shouldn’t it?

          Viruses tend to mutate into variants that are more contagious but much less lethal in the majority of cases and more lethal extremely rare cases not the other way around……..yet you see academics and authority figures treating this virus like deadlier variants are the norm and there will always be another one coming along any minute that will be even worse than the last!…….this is nonsense, lies, blatant and obvious propaganda…………a violation of the Nuremberg Code even in my opinion

          By the way if Georgiev recovered faster don’t you think it is because he got the Omicron variant or it was a false positive because the Omicron variant already has a very short duration as far as symptoms go……..the vaccine gets no credit for providing a recovery that would be no more speedy than for an unvaccinated person that came down with the very same strain.

          https://www.yahoo.com/news/next-big-covid-variant-could-100250868.html

    1. I was not answering your comment about Georgiev, I was merely hitting the reply button on your post to bring up our previous conversation about the vaccines which in my opinion you ducked out on

      I already assume you don’t want to talk about the vaccines because even though I asked you specific questions last time you did not respond to a single one of them and instead started asking me questions about issues and points that were never even mentioned by me in that conversation…..in other words…….non sequitur’s

      By the way your assertion that Georgiev’s quick recovery shows how well the vaccine works is a logical fallacy, it is right up there with…….”No Colin Powell did not die because he got the C19 vaccine, he died because you didn’t”

      Let me ask you something, have you ever noticed that every time someone brings up a negative critique of the vaccines numerous stories appear where the headline mentions……..Trump says!……right wing says!…….Maga! Maga! Maga!…and all of these other political straw men statements right in the headline itself……..all of which have nothing to do with the facts about the issues with the virus and vaccines and are merely used to illicit a knee jerk reaction in the reader. If you have noted this dont you ever say to yourself……..could you at least let me get to the first paragraph of the text before telling me what to think?

      I dont give a shite about Trump and he has nothing to do with any of my opinions about anything but for a good portion of people the mere mention of his name causes them to immediately take the other side of whatever issue is presented whether they know any of the facts at all

      1. Zap –

        Ha ha ha. You threw dead Colin Powell into your rant about non sequiturs on a NYR blog. I’m done trying to explain vaccines to you, but I love laughing at your wacko comments. Keep the comedy coming!

        1. I’m with Bill. Rangers had a great win. Let’s talk about how amazing they’ve looked and shelf the Covid crap. I much rather talk about a first place team than all of this stuff that never goes away.

        2. Bill
          This is how this conversation started

          I saw in a post of yours talking about the vaccines that you did the usual shuck and jive about Covidiots not taking the vaccine so being one of those idiots I responded saying…….I was not offended by this but I decided to challenge you on it saying…….Ok Bill, here are my concerns about the vaccine perhaps you can persuade using any and all reference sources at your disposal and tell me that they are unfounded, tell me how stupid they are and alleviate my fears.

          I must have covered a half a dozen different and extremely disturbing points about the vaccines but you never responded to a single one of those and instead asked me about issues that were never even mentioned by either of us.

          Would you like to start over?

          I will ask you a simple question and you just respond

          1. Are the case totals and death total numbers that this entire scientific experiment are based on valid?

          I was going to say……scientific fiasco……..or psuedoscientific boondoggle………but I figure it would not be cool to editorialize in the question itself…….heh

          Now all you have to do is answer that one simple and we can go from there.

          I will not be holding my breath waiting for your response because in my experience I have never seen a pro vaxxer ever answer any of these types of questions or even admit their importance even though some of these questions are profoundly serious and many times deeply disturbing.

    2. Maybe they hold on to Georgiev for the rest of the season for the playoff run, as an insurance plan, and then just let him walk in the off-season.

  3. Well I posted a comment about opportunities the other day as promised and it seemed to have stuck, it was there with no “awaiting moderation” warning when I checked after but later it just disappeared…….comment gremlins, I figure!

    Great win!

    Gallant seems to have a lot of faith in Zac Jones, he had him on the ice protecting the shutout in the last minute of play with the goaltender pulled the other night, I thought that was a good move too since Jones has those darting bursts of speed over short distances which might be ideal for those situations………..at any rate it worked.

    Laffreniere sure looks like he is gaining confidence……….or absorbing all the confidence Chytil is steadily losing on a shift by shift basis!

    1. I have no clue about the comment moderation, that’s on the application (WordPress) that I use for this site. Only thing I have filtered out is obvious spam posts, like “BUY SEX PILLS IN INDIA” links lol

      Jones got caught on icing late in the game. I thought the same thing though, but that’s why he was out there in the last minute as well.

      Fosho?

      1. Sean
        Ok the gist of it was this, since you completed your book you got your foot in the door as a writer and now have more credibility but you need to capitalize on it quickly or at least get into the planning stages of your next book and that book needs to be different than your current project because it needs to involve more than research you can do through the computer or at a library. It needs to involve interviews and such and to do this you will need help……..help from someone say like Stan Fischler?……(hint,hint)

        I am not saying you have to shite can your current project or write about the subject I was suggesting, it could be any subject but you want that subject to involve interviews.

        Ok I will throw one out there off the top of my head……….you write a Nick Fotiu biography, I am just saying……….Ok so how do you get to interview Nick?……..well maybe Stan can help with the introductions and Stan might because help because he now knows you are very capable of completing such a project while on Nick’s end he will be assured that you are not just a blogger and a fan boy who is not serious about writing a book but only wants to meet players and ex players from the team.

        Do you see what I am getting at here Sean?

        Let me ask you this……..you are writing your new book and are very into it and someone calls says…….ok Nick agreed to meet you for shots and belts in order to discuss your new book proposal……….tell me you would not throw that book you are now working on up in the air and hit the door faster than Speedy Gonzalez to go meet Nick!!…………yea I can see the pages flying around the room and out the window as you whiz by

        heh

        1. You didn’t read my first book, so you don’t know if I had interviews with people in it or not. (I did.) Maybe read the book first so you can comment from an educated point-of-view?

  4. A fairly easy win for the Rangers last night. The Oilers were careless with the puck at times and the Oilers defense was simply too slow giving the Rangers their share of dangerous odd man rush opportunities. The Oilers like most of the league’s non elite teams almost never score the first goal. Right now there is plenty of existential angst in Edmonton over this unsuccessful East Coast road trip. Coach Dave Tippett is on the heat seat for the Oilers having a weak depth chart and losing frequently. Georgiev played with a lot of confidence against two of the best snipers in the NHL. The entire Ranger team played well in protecting the lead.

    1. Tippett is most likely the next coach to get canned as you said, providing he can’t lift the nose up.

      That truly was a team-wide victory, let’s hope it carries over in a different time zone!

  5. Hey Sean I agree with the Gallant accolades but not so much with Drury’s. Not that my opinion matters but as far as I’m concerned this is Gorton’s team. Drury’s done a good job with the moves (tweaks) he’s made but the core of this team was assembled by Gorton. I know Fox and Panarin fell into his lap but the Mika Zibanejad and Rick Nash deals were franchise-altering trades. You’re right on the money with your “special teams swing games” assessment. Probably the biggest reason for the success of the team this season. Special teams affects 5×5 too. The team gets a boost from a successful penalty kill and a hot power play makes your opponent play cautious.
    Have a great trip, bring home some wins and look out for my Cuz.

    1. Tommy is in his glory with the state-of-the-art gym here at the casino. Sorry I missed you at XMAS, got my booster shot (specifically for this trip) when you were meeting up with Tommy.

      I get what you mean, but let’s see what the points-per-game percentage is at the end of the season, since we really can’t compare wins from last season. (And even then that’s tough.)

      I think Drury has been winning with all of his moves, and I’m really interested in seeing what he does at the deadline.

      Hoping for a three-game road-trip sweep (we aren’t going to San Jose.)

      We’re off to watch Toronto/Edmonton as I write these words to you, be good and I’ll try to have something up tomorrow night. (Tommy likes when I write blogs on the road, allows him to sleep without having to deal with my snoring.)

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