NYR/ANA 1/8 Review: Rangers Fight “Quack;” Show Resolve During Bounce Back Victory, Gallant Continues to Push the Right Buttons; NYR D-Men, Unlikely Heroes, The “C” Word, Chytil’s Struggles, “Busts,” Drury, Fans Takeover Honda Center & More from Anaheim, CA

In a game that the Rangers largely dominated, on Saturday night, January 8th, the Blueshirts needed a three goal third period to cement their victory over the Anaheim Ducks. It was a MIGHTY victory, due to that dirty “C” word, as in COVID, which impacted both the game and the roster. More below.

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

(Of note: I have already posted my “pictorial” review of my trip to Anaheim, this game, and of the Honda Center. To visit that blog, which includes over 150 pictures, check out: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/1821pix/)

In a game had the Rangers lost, it would’ve had the analytical pundits saying “I told you so;” the flu-like symptom Blueshirts, along with members of the Hartford Wolfpack, came together as one, and defeated the Anaheim Ducks 4-1 on Saturday night.

While not the best victory of the season or anything like that; this was another game where the Rangers overcame all odds and wouldn’t let any obstacles stand in their way – whether it was COVID-19, the Ducks, or “the mighty” Anthony Stolarz himself.

Had the Rangers lost this game, it would’ve been very easy to explain this loss away, and in one word at that – “COVID.” Instead, the Rangers got contributions from their “FAT CATS,” defensemen, and a few players with only a handful of NHL games worth of experience.

Granted, the Anaheim Ducks were undergoing their own battles with the runny nose ailment too, but they were not nearly as decimated by positive tests as the Rangers were.

In addition, the Ducks were the home team of this contest – at least on paper – as Ranger fans, who always travel well, fully took over the Honda Center on Saturday night.

(And I know I’ve said this before, but while I’m not a fan of the “POTVIN SUCKS” whistle in general – it is always nice to hear the booming chant whenever on the road. It’s a way of letting the home team know that Blueshirt supporters are loud, proud and have taken over an arena.)

I’m now 1-1 on my three-game road-trip to the west coast. Similar to WWE’s Degeneration X, I got two words for ya – “BEAT LA!” (And yes, I know Los Angeles is technically two words in itself, but just go with it for the joke.)

As you’re probably aware of already, I’m currently in Anaheim, the second city of my three-city Rangers road-trip. And while I haven’t experienced any snow like most of you guys back in New York, I did see some winter love while driving from Vegas to California:

The three hour and thirty minute drive from Vegas to Anaheim features a scenic landscape, full of many mountains. There’s also a “Valley’s View,” where thankfully, there are no expected stats or seven-foot jackasses on-sight. You may find a rattlesnake though!

On Thursday night, I wrote a short blog about the Rangers 5-1 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights, and I also included a “pictorial” blog as well. (Both links are featured below, in the PLUGS segment.)

(And in case you’re wondering – yes, I will eventually get into tonight’s 4-1 win over the Ducks. Just give me some time to recap all of the events which led to this victory. I want to savor it, and I do have some free time right now – as the “post-game scene” in Anaheim is no match for Vegas!)

As mentioned on Thursday night, I’m writing these “on the road” blogs on an old laptop, which in turn, it’s quite the undertaking to share all of my thoughts – just as I normally do after watching games at home on television.

No joke, it takes me twice as long to get a blog finished on this laptop, which is really saying something, since my computer at home is almost fifteen years old!

In addition, since I’m on vacation – it’s tough to find the time to go in-depth after the games, which is also the norm here.

However, following Thursday’s loss (where you could make a case was the “worst” loss of the season, which ironically followed the “best” win of the season, the 4-1 team effort over Edmonton); I shared a few more of my opinions from that game on Twitter.

(And after all, it’s much easier to fire off a few tweets from my fingertips on my cell phone than it is to navigate the choppy waters of this old laptop!)

I did have a bad pit in my stomach when I saw CZAR IGOR was removed from the game prior to warm-ups; but even so, the Rangers are a much better team than the squad Vegas knocked off on Thursday night.

Just to give you an idea of where my head was at after the loss to Vegas; it’s still my belief that Filip Chytil is the weakest link of this team, or at the very least, the weakest link of all the regulars.

This is not a new opinion, or as the kids would say – a “hot take.”

Going into the off-season, I said I felt like he would be gone. I’ve since shared that same opinion during the preseason, the regular season and now again today.

Another one of my season-long predictions/feelings/opinions, is that this New York Rangers team is not only playoff bound; but will make noise once there.

However, and as stated before, and as you probably know too – this roster won’t be the same roster (and certainly not the roster who beat the Ducks on Saturday night), come May ’22, or whenever the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs begin.

And I know I’m in repeat-mode here a bit, as I keep calling back to my previous blogs and the opinions shared on them – but yep, as stated 876677967956756756755 times before – I think you will see not only Chris Drury, who sits atop of the New York Rangers food chain as both the franchise’s Team President and General Manager, but every NHL general manager of a ’22 playoff contender too – load up on solid veterans – and preferably veterans who possess Stanley Cup success.

While perhaps he isn’t exactly a “Cult of Personality, nor photogenic either – Drury has won at every level of his career. He’s no dummy. I expect he will make the right moves at the deadline, whether it’s for another center and/or a regular piece for his third pair of defensemen. Photo Credit: M$GN/NYR

For the Rangers to make such a deal happen, they’ll have to part with some assets and players, where I still think Filip Chytil will be one of those guys.

Yes he’s “only” 22 years old, but he’s also in his fifth NHL season, where he’s also the fourth-longest tenured player on the team as well. (Kreider, Zibanejad and Georgiev are your top three longest-tenured Rangers.)

Defensively, the Rangers are happy with their top four rearguards, who are Adam Fox, Ryan Lindgren, Jacob Trouba and K’Andre Miller. When it comes to the third-pair, both Gallant and Drury have options.

I woke up on Friday morning, and from my palatial hotel room, opened up my Twitter app from bed, only to see a lot of hatred for Libor Hajek. (And I won’t even get into the silliness of some fans suggesting a trade of Ryan Lindgren either, as even this small mention isn’t warranted, nor justified.)

Of course, all of the Hajek hatred stemmed from the fans who dry hump spreadsheets and shed tears of joy over analytics.

(Seriously, how do these people get into sports? As you know, I’ve always been a beers, pretzels and an eye-test type of fan. Do other fans, fans who aren’t like me, go to games with their dads, friends, whoever and say, “NO I DON’T WANT A BEER! I’M HERE TO TALK ABOUT LUNDKVIST’S CORSI AND THE GREAT EXPECTED STATS ZAC JONES PUTS UP!”)

“Vally’s Virgins” (patent pending) are really an odd group.

Did Hajek have a great game on Thursday? Obviously not, but really, not many in Rangers white did on that night.

And whether it’s Hajek, or any other sixth and/or seventh defenseman (the same logic applies to a 12th and/or 13th forward too) – if that’s the center of your attention after a loss, then you too are lost.

If you think the Rangers fate and fortune lives and dies with Libor Hajek, then you need to have your head checked. You may have CTE. Then again, you may be an idiot too. Photo Credit: Getty Images

For real – sometimes I read this junk that people tag me in on social media (and sometimes Twitter just spams my timeline of people who I don’t follow anyway, including some of these horrible beat writers who can’t go one paragraph without mentioning some sort of analytical website in their “reports”), and I have to wonder what they expect.

Based on this CRAP (and that’s what it is – CRAP),  that I read from this sick cult that may as well dub themselves as “Vally’s Virgins;” you’d think that every sixth defenseman and twelfth forward needs to record a hat trick in every game played – despite you know, these guys usually averaging eight minutes or less on the ice.

While the Rangers have overcome a litany of issues, both injury and COVID related; what I didn’t see in a lot of the “doom, gloom, and bridge-jumping” reaction following Thursday’s loss, was the fact that the Rangers were without their best forward (Artemi Panarin) and their best goaltender too (CZAR IGOR).

That said, we have seen this team rise-up and embrace the “NEXT MAN UP” mantra all season long and time-and-time again. They did as much on Saturday night in Anaheim.

That’s why it was my belief (and as stated on Thursday night’s blog) that this game was DISAPPOINTING more than any other adjective one could conjure up – especially after seeing how well the team played as one fluid singular unit on Monday.

Seriously, sometimes I read these “SKY IS FALLING” overreactions and wonder if these fans feel like the Rangers should finish the season at 82-0? And should the Rangers ever finish a season at 81-1 – there would still be a ton of fans focusing on the one loss, rather than on any of the eighty-one wins.

It should also be stated, that despite this Rangers team being first place of the league overall on Monday, that fact didn’t satisfy these folks either – because you see, the Rangers don’t have the best EXPECTED STATS in the league. The horror!

I’m sure anyone from any of the Montreal Canadiens dynasty teams would throw away all of their hardware for the right to be the all-time NHL leaders in EXPECTED STATS! And who do you think knows more about hockey – Scotty Bowman or a never-was NHL goaltender of 46 games?

Let me just ramble on a little bit more here, as I play “catch up” here, and then get into the NEWS and GAME REVIEW.

To some Ranger fans of today, Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko are “busts.” If they are busts, what are Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil? Photo Credit: NYR

I don’t want to do my “Greatest Hits” here, and once again, explain everything about Kaapo Kakko and Alexis Lafreniere, and how both of these players joined this league under unprecedented circumstances. I am going to assume that you know all of my usual talking points about these two by now.

And I’m not even talking about COVID here, which obviously, is the biggest factor/element of them all.

What I am suggesting (and as talked about before), is how both of these players joined a franchise that said they were “rebuilding,” but while at the same time, handed out huge contracts to players such as Panarin, Kreider, Trouba, Zibanejad, etc.

More times than not, draft lottery picks land with horrendously bad clubs, where during their first few seasons, while rocky – also feature them getting a ton of playing time.

In addition, these draft lottery players usually have a “savior of a franchise” hype attached to them – which hasn’t been the case for either Kakko or Lafreniere, due to the “Fat Cats” on the NYR payroll today. (That said, both players do have lofty, and sometimes also realistic, expectations bestowed upon them.)

Trust me, I get it – you want to see more out of both Kakko and Lafreniere. Neither player was drafted to win a Selke Trophy.

I’m not here to stomp that opinion out. However, I will say I think the word “bust” is inappropriate whenever talking about these two – a word that is always prevalent after a rare Rangers regulation loss. (And that fact is also often omitted – the Rangers don’t drop too many games in regulation during this season.)

If you want to get slap happy with the word “bust,” save it for guys like Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil, where to be fair, it’s not like #72 in blue was ever thought to have the highest of hopes anyway. In fact, he wound up becoming a nice surprise there for a while.

Instead, those highest of hopes were hitched to Andersson’s wagon and we all know how that planned out. (I can’t wait to boo Andersson on Monday night in LA – providing that he doesn’t pop up on the NHL’s runny nose list.)

Let’s now get into the NEWS, where Chytil’s name is also featured, which is the reason why I brought his name up here in the first place.

I arrived in Anaheim on Friday afternoon.

Of note, after my time in Vegas, on Friday, my buddies and I drove from Sin City, Nevada to Disney City, California, arriving in Anaheim around 3:30PM PST. Since our hotel is only a few blocks from the home of the no-longer-mighty Ducks, we decided to check out the arena before checking into our rooms.

As mentioned last blog (and as you all know already), the Ducks postponed their previously scheduled game with the Red Wings, which was supposed to be played on Thursday night, due to some coughs and farts.

And since I’m already here (physically), and at the point of no-return; all I was hoping for was that this game would go off without a hitch. Listening to Gallant’s press conference from Friday (soon to be linked below) didn’t instill much confidence.

If anything boosted my hopes, it was that as we were driving around the arena, we saw Rangers trainer Jim Ramsey palling around with a few of his buddies. We didn’t want to bother him, so we didn’t pester him for any information – but we did notice a COVID testing site smack dab at the entrance that both the players and team staffs use.

Also increasing our morale (in regards to the game being played, and not postponed – which would’ve just sucked, considering all the money we have spent and all the miles we have traveled), was that both the Rangers and Ducks practiced on Friday.

At this time, let me share Gallant’s press conference with you, and then give you all of the news that you need to know.

Here’s the head coach:

Where to begin, where to begin, where to begin? I guess let’s go with facts first, opinions later.

FACT: Neither CZAR IGOR or Artemi Panarin were at practice on Friday. It’s suggested that Igor may not be able to return until the game against San Jose, while it was speculated that Panarin would possibly rejoin the team on Saturday, for this game with the quack-quacks.

FACT: Dryden Hunt, who suffered some sort of upper-body injury on Thursday night, was listed as day-to-day, where his status for Saturday was uncertain.

FACT: Julien Gauthier finally did something positive, although it was testing positive for COVID/Omicron. He’s now gone for at least five days too.

FACT: Between all of the injuries and triple vaccinated players in the prime of their lives feeling fine, but being taken out of commission anyway; the Rangers recalled Jonny Brodzinksi and Tim Gettinger from the taxi squad. On Friday, all this meant was that they’d be getting a pay-raise.

FACT: Dryden Hunt, listed as “day-to-day” just two hours prior; was now on the Injured Reserve list.

FACT: Patrik Nemeth still remains away from the team, for a “personal” issue.

(Of note: someone who has been a reliable source for me over the years, told me the reason, but it’s not my place to speculate on something like this, nor run the risk of writing something that may not be true. I’ll just wait for Nemeth and/or the Rangers to eventually comment on this.)

FACT: Jarred Tinordi was back with the team. In a corresponding move, Zac Jones was sent back to the taxi-squad.

FACT: With so many roster transactions, Gerard Gallant was forced to juggle his lines and pairings around. (I’ll soon have what he settled on for you at the end of this segment.)

FACT: Both during practice, and in his press conference that followed, Gallant said that he’d be going with Tinordi and Lundkvist on Saturday night, which meant that he’d be abandoning both Jones and Hajek.

And keep in mind – this is just the news from Friday, I haven’t even got into Saturday’s news, nor this game with the Ducks either!


Opinions time!

Jarred Tinordi for Zac Jones created a fountain of tears from analytical Ranger fans. Photo Credit: Getty Images

It’s my belief, that had the Rangers been 100% healthy (and just as Gallant did with Chytil in Arizona), then Chytil would’ve been benched/scratched on Saturday. However, with the Rangers in “patch-work” mode, Chytil is now a necessary evil.

I’ve been critical about Chytil and his horrible numbers all season. Gallant confirmed everything I’ve been saying here during this press conference.

Gallant was most-telling on Friday, speaking candidly and where he pretty much said that his third-line center hasn’t been playing well at all. Gallant was quick to point out that Chytil works hard and has a great attitude (I don’t think anyone has ever questioned these two traits), but at the end of the day, #72 isn’t getting any results.

At no point did it ever feel like Gallant was “shitting” on Chytil; but this was the most honest and critical Gallant has been regarding his struggling center all season.

Switching gears here to the defensemen, if you recall, during the Rangers home game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, I made a joke about the Zac Jones and Nils Lundkvist pairing, when I said the following:

“Of note, with Jones in the line-up, this gave the Rangers a third defensive-pairing with as much meanness and fire as a pair of toddlers fighting over the last crayon inside of their “Crayola” box.”

Behind every joke, there is some bit of truth behind it, whether it’s a morsel or something bigger.

While I was joking about Jones and Lundkvist as a pair, my point remains the same – I didn’t see how this pair would last. They are both young, small, play the same exact type of game (offensive) and don’t instill fear or worry into anyone. These guys don’t hit, they don’t fight, they don’t bruise and they aren’t winning many puck battles, nor any sort of battle that requires superior physicality.

And to be clear – that’s not a knock on them either. It’s just where they are at during this moment in time.

Either Jones or Lundkvist can complement a stay-at-home defenseman (for a recent Rangers example, look no further to the Marc Staal/Tony DeAngelo pairing from two seasons back), but together, and in a league where you need different and unique flavors for your “roster stew” – these two are pretty much the same ingredient for now, here in 2022. (I say this, only to mean that either one (or both) of these players can become more well-rounded and bigger with time.)

As the analytical fans (and beat reporters who couldn’t pick Mike Richter out of a police line-up, much less any other Ranger post-1994) cried deep tears about Tinordi’s return to the line-up; lost in all of the watershed was that Tinordi brings something different to the table.

It’s my educated guess (which I felt both prior to and after Gallant’s presser), that the head coach realizes that he can’t have two small kids on a pair. Gallant would later say as much (without knocking anyone) during his press conference.

Gallant also mentioned that he knows that Tinordi had a tough start to his Rangers career, and where “The Turk” is now banking on his defenseman to play his best hockey of the season. That worked out tonight, as Double G continues to make all the right moves.

(And again, this is an opinion, and not a fact – since Hajek had a bad game on Thursday, he was scratched on Saturday. That was deserved. It’s also why I feel that had the Rangers group of forwards been at 100% health, then Chytil would’ve joined Hajek in the press box too.)

Guys – I’m on vacation here and already at the 3,000 word mark!

Let me quickly get into the Saturday news and move on!

Photo Credit: NYR

Three interesting developments took place on Saturday morning, and yes I’m well aware – this COVID crap is once again dominating not only the Rangers, but these blogs too.

Following an optional morning skate, we learned the following:

— Artemi Panarin was not on the ice. Since he’s been out for a while, we could only assume that he wasn’t going to jump right into a game cold

— The Rangers recalled Anthony Greco and Lauri Pajuniemi and placed them on their taxi squad. This tells me that the NHL does not want to cancel/postpone any of the Rangers west coast games, as they will be tough to reschedule later on. It also told me that Hartford has basically been stripped to the bone, where their roster looks like a supermarket just hours after the announcement of an upcoming snowstorm.

— Gallant’s pregame press conference, originally scheduled after the morning skate, was pushed back to 5PM. When that happens, that tells you that something took place.

No joke, once Gallant’s press conference was delayed, I had a sinking feeling in my stomach, where I half-expected this game to be postponed. While we did get negative news, it wasn’t as bad as a canceled game would’ve been.

Rather than postponing this game (and messing up my trip), it was mentioned that the Rangers still had some tests to work out.

At 6:29PM, just a minute before warm-ups, it was announced that Ryan Reaves had now entered COVID protocol.

To give you an idea of all the COVID crap swirling around Rangerstown, USA right now, here is this graphic from the M$GN:

Photo Credit: M$GN

As the Rangers took the ice for warm-ups, I had a tough time figuring out the lines, but I eventually made do. It took me nearly ten minutes, but I was able to piece it all together.

Let’s finally get into this game with the Ducks.

However, before getting into the GAME REVIEW segment, here was what Gallant settled on, where I imagine his chalkboard rivaled something out of “Good Will Hunting”:

FIRST LINE: Kreider/Mika/Kakko

SECOND LINE: Lafreniere/Strome/Goodrow

THIRD LINE: McKegg/Rooney/Chytil

FOURTH LINE: Gettinger/Barron/Brodzinski

FIRST D-PAIR: Lindgren/Fox

SECOND D-PAIR: Miller/Trouba

THIRD D-PAIR: Tinordi/Lundkvist

And in net, Alexandar Georgiev

I loved that Jarred Tinordi, the target of the loser analytical community, scored the game winning goal tonight. Perhaps more surprising? It was Ryan Lindgren, and not Adam Fox, scoring two goals tonight as well! Photo Credit: NYR

Again, since I’m on the road, this game review won’t be as detailed as usual. Instead, I’ll share thoughts.

Overall, the Rangers held up their own end, limiting the Ducks to a season-low fourteen shots allowed on goal. That said, the Ducks also hit iron twice in the game, but hey – maybe they were scared of that BULGARIAN BEAST in net.

While Georgiev did make 4-5 FABULOUS saves in this game (13 in all), he was nowhere as tested as Anthony Stolarz was. The Ducks net-minder had nearly three times as much work, where overall, he finished with 36 saves on 39 shots.

And again, keep in mind that the Rangers only had their first line intact tonight, where it’s even debatable if Kakko should be skating with Kreider and Mika.

The second line was already patchwork line, due to Panarin’s current status on the NHL sniffles list. By  bumping up Goodrow with Strome and Lafreniere (where Lafreniere is now getting top-six minutes too, due to Hunt’s issues), the third and fourth lines are weakened.

The bottom six only featured two regulars, in Kevin Rooney and Filip Chytil, where as mentioned, you could make a case that Chytil needs a night off too.

While McKegg has filled in admirably ever since Sammy Blais was slew-footed by P.K. Slewban; he, along with “JOHNNY HOCKEY BRODZINSKI,” “THE BARON,” and Timothy Gettinger (still working on a silly nickname for him), are all AHLers.

Somehow, despite everything, these Rangers and Howlers came to play. Were there shaky moments? Sure. But you never felt like the Rangers were ever going to throw in the towel. Their hard work and drive is commendable.

Seriously speaking, to out-shoot a tremendous team like the Ducks (they’ve certainly over-achieved this season, much like the Rangers themselves) by a tally of 39-14 speaks volumes – especially under these circumstances.

The Ducks attendance issues are so bad, that they make you buy warm-up pucks online while in the arena. They don’t print up “match-up” pucks, because they don’t sell many of them.

Quick note on the attendance – the Ducks reported a crowd of 15,146, which is 88% of the arena’s capacity. I’d say the real number was more like 12,000, where about anywhere from 65%-75% of paying fans were cheering on the Rangers.

I should also say this – despite all the things that you may hear about California (and maybe this will be different in LA), I didn’t experience any of that craziness.

Yes, you had to be vaccinated or have a negative COVID test to attend the game, but that stuff doesn’t bother me. However, as someone who is vaccinated, I hate wearing the mask for three hours.

In Anaheim on this night (and really, in all of my travels in the city), no one bothered you about a mask. This was the complete opposite of my experience in Seattle.

(And really, I could go longer on this, but I don’t want to waste more time on COVID, nor go into the political realm. I’m just surprised, and in a good way, about how everything was relaxed in Anaheim. Kudos.)

My attire for this game – thank you Cosby’s!

The first few minutes of this game started off shaky (no timestamps tonight, since I was at the game), as the Rangers got away with two penalties. On the first one, where Rooney high-sticked a Duck, Georgiev left the net for some reason, where I assume he thought his team drew a call. I don’t know what led him to that thinking, but he’d be forced to haul ass and make a save.

And can you imagine had the Ducks scored a quick goal off of a boneheaded play? Minga.

After the Rangers got away with two penalties; about six minutes and change into the period, rookie sensation Trevor Zegras high-sticked Barron in the face. This drew blood, which then gave the Rangers a four-minute power-play.

Despite this extended man-advantage, where they had a ton of opportunities, the Blueshirts couldn’t crack the nil-nil score.

There was also one play here, following a chance that Mika should’ve buried, where Kakko scored. However, the ref ignorantly blew the play dead, as the zebra thought Stolarz had frozen the puck. Instead, the puck squirted by Stolarz, but since the whistle was blown, there was no way for the refs to rectify their mistake.

Once the Ducks killed this penalty, I had that bad feeling in my stomach – momentum advantage, the home team – where I also expected ex-Ranger Kevin Shattenkirk to score.

(Of note: I thought the former #22 of the Rangers had a great game tonight, and he’s now become more of a force in his new home, as the Stanley Cup champion now plays on Anaheim’s PK1 unit.)

Stolarz, who pretty much had a horseshoe up his five-hole throughout; stopped Barron. Live, I thought “The Baron” should’ve dished the puck to “Johnny Hockey.” After the save, and the Rangers face-off win in the Ducks d-zone, Stolarz then stopped Trouba.

The Rangers had more chances in the first frame, but after twenty minutes, we remained scoreless.

It should also be mentioned that at this time, the SOG stat was 12-7, Rangers. That meant your favorite hockey team held the Ducks to only seven shots on goal during the final forty minutes of regulation. Now that’s what I’d say is MIGHTY.

Georgiev had some work early in the second period, but things would soon calm down.

The Rangers, who were playing well, let the Ducks get some chances early into the second stanza, where despite these “GOOD LOOKS” – it felt like the Rangers should’ve been up 3-0. However, it would be the Ducks who “quacked” first.

At around the mid-point mark of the period/game, Kakko screened Georgiev and “flamingo’d” when attempting to block a shot. Georgiev made the save. However, as the Rangers were trying to clear the zone, K’Andre Miller made a brutal turnover, which then led to Isac Lundestrom scoring the first goal of the contest. 1-0, bad guys.

Two things here – first, this goal wasn’t on Georgiev at all. Second, and more importantly – this would be the last goal Georgiev gave up all game.

It should also be mentioned that the Rangers first line was out there for this goal.

They’d soon redeem themselves, as with a clean six minutes remaining in the period, and after killing a Goodrow penalty and after seeing Zegras attempt another of his lacrosse plays; Kakko pulled off some razzle-dazzle, where at the end of it, Zibanejad put the puck into the net.

1-1, and really, a sigh of relief too, as the Rangers desperately needed a goal – especially when you think of their one lone goal scored in Vegas.

It should also be mentioned that Ranger fans were busting-at-the-seams, and waiting for something good to happen to explode about. Mika gave it to them here, even if this was somewhat a “puck luck goal,” where even then, #93 in white’s offensive awareness ability was a huge part of this. (Ditto Kakko, who made the play in the first place.)

After two periods, we remained tied. The Ducks only had four SOG in the second period, as the Rangers doubled them up with eight.

With sports gambling now legal in New York, I wonder what a prop bet of Tinordi scoring not only a goal, but the game winning goal to boot, would’ve paid out? 100000:1?

The Rangers, who have been hit-or-miss in third periods lately, were on the right side of the coin in this game.

In a period full of penalties, where both teams couldn’t score a power-play goal during this tilt (which also means that both PK’s were flawless), and despite the Rangers going 0-5 on the power-play (the Ducks went 0-3); the Rangers would score two five-on-five goals (admittedly, one came right after a power-play expired), and then scored another on empty net.

(And I know that above paragraph is full of grammatical errors, but it’s late – give me a pass!)

Not even two minutes into the final frame, Tinordi wristed a shot. BOOM, 2-1, GOOD GUYS.

The Honda Center exploded with an extreme amount of jubilation. The few Duck fans in the building had nothing to do besides hang their heads.

With the lead, and with eighteen plus minutes remaining, the Rangers had to protect their lead, and for their fans – find the insurance goal.

And while obviously Ryan Lindgren is on a different level than Tinordi – scoring goals isn’t part of double-nickel’s game either. On this night, he set a single-game career-high in goals scored, as after a pass from Fox, #23’s roommate buried one past Stolarz.

3-1, GOOD GUYS, with ten minutes remaining.

After a few more shifts from the special teams, the Ducks would briefly have a 6×4 situation. No matter, as with 30 ticks left, Lindgren found the vacated twine, to make it 4-1 GOOD GUYS, which also held up as the final score.


(And thank the hockey gods too – I would’ve been miserable if I flew out all this way to see the Rangers drop three straight, even if I had the excuse of COVID in my back pocket.)

I really enjoyed my time at the Honda Center. To compare, the arena felt like a “clean, updated and classy” version of the old Nassau Coliseum. It’s a small building, but very fan-friendly.

Just a few parting shots before closing out:

— Among the new faces, I thought Barron stood out the most. That’s not a knock on anyone else, this is just to praise him. And hey, give it up for that fourth line, a fourth line that’s never played one game together in the NHL prior to tonight.

— I say this anytime I see the Rangers live, but yeah – you really appreciate Adam Fox more when you see him play with your own two eyes in-person. Yes, he’s amazing on TV too, but at a game, you can just track him and that’s where you’ll really become awestruck.

— Georgiev didn’t have much work tonight. I think you’d go right back to him against the Kings on Monday, and then cross your fingers that CZAR IGOR can leave the flu list and start against the Sharks. Also cross your fingers for Panarin’s return on Monday too.

— While I don’t think Tinordi is the long-term solution for the third pair, I was happy for him tonight. “GOOD TEAMS FIND DIFFERENT WAYS TO WIN.” This game personified that, where it should also be mentioned that you need different faces to step-up randomly during the course of an 82-game season.

— It feels like Gallant can do no wrong right now.

— I’m now off to Los Angeles, which is a much shorter drive than my car ride from Vegas to Anaheim. There, I’ll see “old friend” Brendan Lemieux and “Crybaby” Andersson – snot rocket list permitting.

— Lastly, I apologize if there are any typos and/or formatting errors tonight. This laptop is a pain in the ass and sometimes has a mind of its own. However, something is better than nothing – right?

PLUGS time!

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:


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/VGK 1/6 Review: COVID Rangers Get a Cold Dose of Reality; Get Blown Out in Sin City & More

NYR/Vegas 1/6/22 Road Trip Pictorial Review

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

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

The worst tattoo I’ve ever seen in my life.

Up next: the Los Angeles Kings, who since 2014 – I will hate for the rest of my life.

Father Fink Alec Martinez.

As always here, thanks for reading and…


Sean McCaffrey


@NYCTHEMIC on Tweeter

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6 thoughts on “NYR/ANA 1/8 Review: Rangers Fight “Quack;” Show Resolve During Bounce Back Victory, Gallant Continues to Push the Right Buttons; NYR D-Men, Unlikely Heroes, The “C” Word, Chytil’s Struggles, “Busts,” Drury, Fans Takeover Honda Center & More from Anaheim, CA

  1. Enjoyed reading your road trip reports from the world’s phoniest city and the happiest place on earth hockey games.
    Stan Fischler was interviewed by KLAA on the post game show and his hockey mind is as sharp as ever. He made a good point when he said that both the Rangers and Ducks were dismissed casually by the pundits before the season started and look at them now.
    Chytil is likely going to be traded somewhere before the trade deadline. He never could establish his role or place on the Rangers depth chart.
    A nice win against a young rebuilding Ducks squad.

    1. I love Vegas, but yeah, it’s very easy to get caught up in everything and lose a sense of reality.

      I don’t know if I’m a “pundit” or not, but I’ve been high on this team ever since Dolan canned everyone. Not so much on the Ducks though!

      Rangers have to be in “win now” mode. Chytil should become a casualty for that goal.

  2. 2 goals for Lindgren, maybe Clem Grogan will someday score a hat trick!

    I wonder if you can get a prop bet on that……………..will score hatty sometime in career!?

    Yea I must say I have also been souring on Chytil this season and Hajek has been plain bad.

    Heh in Hajek’s first game back the national broadcast announcers started gushing over him then they immediately had to point out 3 different plays that Hajek choked on, one or two of them for goals against!

    That was some funny shite.

    I am not giving up on Chytil just yet though because I think he can turn it around but at this point I was expecting him to already have made significant progress which he has not been able to do.

    I was thinking maybe Chytil and Jones might be going if the Rangers pulled the trigger on that Eichel trade but since that did not happen maybe a package of Chytil, Jones and Kravtsov could generate a quality return.

    I don’t usually bother thinking about trades though so I am not saying they are doable salary cap wise or even sensible which is why I don’t usually bother thinking about trades because all the salary cap stuff is fantastically boring to all but the too dedicated few.

    Anyway another great win with once again the usual post Ranger win euphoria!


    1. There was one prop bet I saw (and took) – two points for Fox. He had one. I was hoping for an assist on an ENG, but I’ll take the cash on my bigger bet – a NYR win!

      How has Hajek been plain bad? One bad game for sure, but he was fine in his other action. (Playing with Fox didn’t hurt.)

      I don’t know what they’d get back in your proposed package. Jones probably has the most upside now, as Chytil has been exposed a bit and because Kravtsov seems like a headcase.

      BEAT LA!

  3. I’d say there’s probably no way Drury can trade Strome this season nor should he. Removing him from the lineup and the room would most likely be detrimental to any playoff success. Unless Strome gives the Rangers a big hometown discount this summer he likely walks for nothing which is probably the teams’ best course of action. Consider him a rental that we don’t have to give up any assets for.
    How long before Mushnick rips Lundqvist for getting in bed with a gambling site? 😄

    1. I hope they keep Strome. There’s no way to know what offers he’ll get, but if it’s a difference of just a couple of bucks, I can see him taking NY’s offer, as opposed to a hypothetical team like an Anaheim or Winnipeg.

      And it’s not really a “hometown discount,” especially since this is his third team.

      Lundqvist is doing gambling ads now? Obviously I haven’t seen the last few TV broadcasts to see the commercials.

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