NYR/NYI 2/18 Review: MIRACLE ON ICE! Rangers Win Superbowl Spectacular Stadium Series Game; One of The Most Incredible “Disney Finishes” of All-Time, What Fans Will & Won’t Remember, Rempe’s Historical Debut Lives To All Hype & Expectations; Give Credit To Matt Martin Too, Questionable Officiating, Both Teams Exhibit Their Season-Long Issues & Microcosms, Alumni, ESPN & More

I know, I know, I know – I’m starting this blog 24-hours after the fact, but I just wanted to enjoy and savor this win – and not rush home to my computer after it. After all, outside of book sales, I don’t make any money on this hobby – and I’ll always continue to refuse to run ads on this site too! And sometimes, it’s just nice to “be a fan,” if you know what I mean – and on Sunday – it was an exhilarating time to be a fan of the Blueshirts – and where I’m sure some new “life-long” fans were birthed too!

Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. What a time to be alive!

The date of February 18th, 2024, not even 48-hours beyond us just yet, is already going down as one of the most famous dates in Rangers’ history.

Or at least in regular season history anyway!

While not exactly June 14th, 1994; over time, what took place at Metlife Stadium this past Sunday, already the material that makes legends, will become one of those games that everyone and their mother will tell their future children that they attended.

Officially, 79,690 fans were in-attendance for a contest that not even Walt Disney himself could have scripted a better ending. Unofficially, and as time marches on, there will be 79 million fans who will have claimed to have been there for one of the most amazing spectacles in NHL history.

That’s how magical it was at the former Meadowlands – and where as today’s headline pays homage to – the newest “Miracle on Ice” too – and where go figure – it was a Russian, who has called America his home for the past decade, that scored one of the most memorable walkoff goals in franchise history.

Of course, that person?

None other than “The Breadman” himself, good old Artie Panarin:

Similar to an NFL playoff game, where it’s just one game and not a best-of-seven series, it’s Panarin’s final play – and both the build up and reaction to it afterwards, that will always be remembered – and even now – this moment has already been etched into the annals of Rangers’ history. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Off puck drop, this won’t be your usual style of a GAME REVIEW blog – and really – win-or-lose – that was always going to be the case anyway.


I’m assuming that by now – you already know what has transpired – and where you may still be as pumped up about this game as I am when writing these words!

In other words, you don’t really need me to give you the play-by-play for this game – and where as previously stated – this contest was always going to be more about the final score – and not exactly everything else on the ice so much – or at least not for the first fifty-five minutes or so!

Simply put: This wasn’t a game that you could truly analyze afterwards, as it was more about the extravaganza that was successfully presented by the league.

In addition, I don’t want to go back on what I said from Saturday night, when just hours prior to puck drop, I covered all of the Rangers’ previous off-day news, and the hype leading into this Stadium Series game too.

In case you missed it, then you can find that blog here:

In a photo that screams “old timey,” Panarin looks like Joe Namath walking off the field after Superbowl III. And while I’ll have his post-game interview for you below – you can see how emotional he was throughout the game – and most certainly after it! Photo Credit: NYR

I bring up last night’s blog, and really, what I’ve been saying for some time now, for one reason – to remind you that you can’t really judge a team by what they do in these cash grab gimmick games – and even if this one was definitely the best of the lot – and where the Rangers improved their outdoor record to 5-0 as a result of it too.

Specifically, this is what I said on Saturday night:

As far as any final thoughts on the game itself, and as I have been saying all week – it’s just one game out of eighty-two.

And more times than not, and as I’m watching right now with the Flyers and Devils – you really can’t learn anything about the two teams playing – as the unique conditions always leads to wacky situations.

(Then there are the whole “fixing” allegations – and such allegations that were later proven following the 2012 Winter Classic in Filthadelphia.)

Plus, it’s not like playoff games are contested under these outdoor/makeshift rink parameters either.

But it is a fun television event – and of course – you want to prevail at the end of it too.

And who wants to go out in public, whether live in-attendance or at a bar – and then have to listen to some piss-pot Islander fan give you hell after a loss?

That said – this game is bigger for the Islanders than it is for the Rangers – because at the end of the day, the Blueshirts are first-place in the Metro, while Lamoriello’s Losers are perilously close to falling out of the playoff race.

Outside of a Rangers’ win, what I’d like to see the most?

Edstrom and Rempe contributing – and leaving the bodies of the Isles black-and-bluer than what their lips will look like when playing outside on Sunday!

Outside of Panarin, who already has a Hall of Fame resume, the other thing that Ranger fans will always remember about 2/18/24 is Matt Rempe’s first fight – and where even if REMPESTEIN never plays for the Rangers again – he has already carved himself a spot not only into Blueshirts’ hearts – but into franchise history too. Photo Credit: SportsNet

In a way, should any us of die before Tuesday night’s puck drop against the Dallas Stars (and let’s hope that’s not the case!), then we will have departed this blue-and-green marble on an ultimate high – and with a beaming ear-to-ear smile that no mortician could remove from our faces.

That’s how exciting the Superbowl Showdown/Stadium Series game was for Ranger fans – and for everyone involved with the team themselves – and as all of their post-game interviews suggested.

As I told you all week prior to the first faceoff on Sunday – it were my plans to attend a watch party at my local watering hole – and I never had any intentions of attending this game.

And even with this thriller/Hollywood ending – I don’t regret that decision – although I must admit – I am now jealous of anyone who did see the festivities transpire with their own two eyes in-person!

Talk about a memory for life!

If anything, then this game only sold the idea of outdoor hockey – and where this concept, and largely due to overexposure, had waned a bit – has now grown to new levels afterwards.

I know that this game is just one out of eighty-two, and played under conditions that we’ll never see again this season – but I want to share this with you too:

When watching the game at the bar with my dad and friends – there were other patrons bellied up to the stick – and where some of these men and women weren’t hockey fans – much less knew that the game was taking place.

As the game progressed, and with the volume pumping throughout the joint which only hooked their attention – eyes that were once glued to their phones and drinks were now 100% focused on the big screen televisions in front of them.

And since the bar was largely made-up of a Rangers’ contingent (and just like how Metlife was) – you could feel the intensity and excitement levels increase following the previous grunting and groaning from the Blueshirt diehards.

Down 5-3 with under five-minutes remaining and during a game where both teams displayed all of their negative issues that have plagued them all-season – it all came to a head.

The Rangers’ power-play, once their biggest strength, was colder than the buttocks of the fans sitting at Metlife Stadium – and where at the time – these fans were regretting their decision to make the trip to the worst stadium in America.

But the Islanders’ penalty kill, worst in the league and their biggest weakness too – “prevailed.”

With 5:44 remaining, Mathew Barzal hooked K’Andre Miller.

Down by two goals, Blueshirts’ bench boss, Peter Laviolette, and as he’s done so many times before this season too, hooked his goalie with plenty of time still left to be ticked and in order to give his power-play a 6 x 4 attack.

And as we’ve seen before – this strategy wouldn’t only work – it would soon work twice.

Chris Kreider kicked off one of the most incredible regular season comebacks in franchise history – and where yes – the near 80,000-person audience, the rivalry and the setting are all part of why this comeback will always be remembered.

Following his power-play goal scored with just 4:08 remaining, come 2:28 from the end of regulation and with the Isles still desperately holding onto their 5-4 lead – Scott Mayfield found the worst time to take his “hat trick penalty,” his third infraction of the game, when he tripped Alexis Lafreniere.

About a minute later?

Mika Zibanejad completed the comeback with the biggest power-play goal of his season – and another 6 x 4 power-play goal for “Lavy’s Lot” too.

The Rangers, who now had all of the momentum, weren’t done with the theatrics just yet.

For an encore, and now tied at 5-5 following sixty-minutes – it only took #10, Panarin, ten-seconds to score the overtime game winner.

And that goal wasn’t without a flair for the dramatics either.

The goal was challenged, as Ilya Sorokin’s net had been knocked off its moorings – but by a player wearing the same colors as him – and not the clean white that the Rangers had on.

As fans from both sides awaited the review, it sounded like a mass funeral inside of Metlife Stadium – as the sounds of silence were eerily morbid.

But then it happened.

Once the official screamed “GOOD GOAL,” Metlife Stadium sounded like a June of 1994 parade in the streets of New York City.

The thunderous noise explosion, where yes, relief was also heard, would have blown the roof off of the joint – had this horrible NFL stadium had one – and why they don’t have a dome is still beyond me!

While this was going on in New Jersey, back home at a local Long Island bar, every beer-guzzler and shot-taker may as well have been throwing babies in the air too – including the customers who walked through its doors without ever thinking about watching a hockey game.

No joke – since my group was the largest and loudest of the lot – I had a few fellow customers tell me how exciting this game was – and how they need to start watching hockey.

Talk about one of the best cash grab gimmick games ever – and where as I’m now telling you – also created new fans of the sport – and just like Gary Bettman and the league designed when they first conjured up the outdoor game concept.

Another reason for the delay when posting this blog? I may have consumed one or thirty of these on Sunday, where along with all of the Labatt Blue suds consumed – there may have been a dozen or so whiskey shots downed (some in sorrow, but mainly in celebration) too! But if I have to sacrifice my liver in order to get a game like I saw on Sunday – then while I still won’t wear a cape – I’ll be that hero for this team!

Prior to Sunday’s game, it was announced that puck drop would be delayed, due to sun and wind issues.

For those who asked me (and sorry – there was no way that I could keep up with my email and social media messages – especially when out with family and friends), the reason why this game had an afternoon start time is because the NHL didn’t want to go head-to-head at night with the NBA All-Star Game.

While I have no clue what the television ratings were for these two sporting events – I do know that the bar emptied out following the Rangers’ win – and no one was staying around to watch a 48-minute five-vs-five three-point contest.

As far as anything else prior to faceoff, Laviolette confirmed the news that we already knew anyway – the fact that Matt Rempe would make history by making his league debut during an outdoor game – and for #73 – he only continued to make history once the puck was dropped – and during his first NHL shift too!

Laviolette was a happy man all weekend – except for about fifty minutes or so during the game!

For the sake of posterity, here was the pregame edition of “LAVY’S LOUNGE” for you below – and yes – I know that it’s now dated too:

I said this on Saturday night and I mean it even more now – I’d love to have a signed photo of this hanging in my mancave! Photo Credit: NYR

As noted up top, there’s no reason to do my usual minute-by-minute style of a GAME REVIEW – but I will hit all of the highlights.

But as a general thought about the 60:10 worth of hockey that we saw on Sunday, I thought this game pretty much captured how both of these teams have been playing all season – somewhat ironic, but only because of my own personal “no judging” approach.

Prior to the Rangers’ comeback, it was a lot of what we’ve seen this season – or at least in 2024 anyway – such as the power-play having issues, the team falling behind, CZAR IGOR somewhat imploding, lackadaisical defense and not much at 5 x 5.

For the Islanders, they were in the same boat, as once again, not only did they blow another big lead – but they “gained” another loser’s overtime point too – and where as usual – their horrid penalty kill sunk their ship.

While of course, this game will always be remembered for the Rangers winning it – in the same vein – what happened prior to the Panarin 6-5 overtime goal (sans Rempe v. Martin – more below) will largely be forgotten – and that’s okay too.

After all, and now at the point of redundancy – you can’t judge a team by what they do in one outdoor game – and where these conditions were a factor – as the puck was jumpy and bouncing all over the place like one of those dimestore rubber balls.

And indoors vs outdoors, it doesn’t matter – as my 25-word season-long daily disclaimer for this 2023-24 campaign still applies too – and one that reads as such:


Here was Laviolette’s line-up for the fifty-fifth game of this 2023-24 season:

FIRST LINE: Panarin/Trocheck/Lafreniere

SECOND LINE: Kreider/Zibanejad/Vesey

THIRD LINE: Cuylle/Brodzinski/Kakko

FOURTH LINE: Rempe/Goodrow/Edstrom

FIRST PAIR: Lindgren/Fox

SECOND PAIR: Miller/Trouba

THIRD PAIR: Gustafsson/Schneider


BACK-UP: Quick

Healthy Scratches: Belzile and Jones


The following graphics and information come from ESPN.com:





37 6 32 .865 21 11 0 0 0 60:10 0


41 5 36 .878 33 2 1 0 0 57:06 0

Larry David, whose resume everyone should be well aware of by now, actually posed with one of the new cash grab Stadium Series gimmick jerseys prior to a recent Knicks vs Lakers game at M$G. Photo Credit: NYR

I have to bring this up, as I think it’s a funny, yet amazing, type of a story – and one that felt like something ripped straight out of an episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

As me and my merry crew were all imbibing and waiting for puck drop, ESPN, who had the rights to this game, aired the National Anthem – and no – I can’t remember who sung it.

Since the sound was on at the bar – the whole bar got up – stood, took off their hats, remained quiet, paid their respects – and then went right back to normal once the song ended.

I thought that was pretty cool – but at the time – all I could think of was Larry David.

I can see it now:





<end scene>

To be honest, I wasn’t paying that much attention to the ESPN broadcast – but apparently Ray Ferraro had no time for his numerous critics on Sunday. Photo Credit: ESPN

In an anomaly for both this site and writer – I didn’t really pay much attention to what was being said during the ESPN broadcast on Sunday.

The only thing that I noticed, and it was completely bothersome for both hardcores and new fans alike, was how ESPN went right back to their “Epileptic Seizure Producing Network” ways – and by bombarding us with non-stop different camera angles, where by the end of it – you felt like you had just experienced a rickety-rollercoaster with a crave case of “White Castle” in your belly.

Seriously, the way that this was produced, then you would have thought that someone with Parkinson’s Disease was in the truck – as it all felt frantically shaky.

Again, just because you have the technology to give us these angles – it doesn’t mean that you should do it.

Plus, and outside of the nausea induced, all of these never-ending camera switches didn’t allow viewers to watch plays develop – including during penalties and goal scores.

However, Jim Schmeideberg, of “The Blueshirt Underground Show,” noticed that former Ranger and current ESPN analyst, Ray Ferraro, was right back to rooting against the Blueshirts (and I have explained why he usually does this in the past – and why I don’t blame him either) – where in turn, Ferraro replied to Mr. S.:

For what it’s worth, on 1/27, I wrote how Ferraro, during a Rangers’ loss (a brutal one at that) to the Vegas Golden Knights was actually pretty good – and how he got away from burying the Blueshirts all-game – and as he usually does.

Ferraro actually reached out to me privately to talk about his work on ESPN on Monday, but while it’s my policy not to divulge private conversations for public consumption unless asked, he did reiterate to me what any national broadcaster says – he has no bias whatsoever whenever calling games.

And I guess to be fair – most fans, as in 99.9% of them, always think that the national broadcast is against them – especially when things aren’t going right for their favorite team on the playing surface.

And yep – Sam Rosen and Joe Micheletti are the only hometown exceptions to the rule – as like Ferraro – they usually sound anti-Ranger too!

I mean, can you imagine Sam and Joe calling the final play of this Stadium Series game?

I can hear it now:


“Sam that’s on overtime winner for Panarin!”


Much like REMPESTEIN, you couldn’t wipe the grin off of my face either after this game! Photo Credit: NYR


I guess to be clear – and where I’m assuming that you know this by now too – this game wasn’t all bad – and it wasn’t just about the final five-minutes and change either.

Instead, and from a Rangers’ perspective – it was an amazing first eighty-nine seconds – followed by a ton of slog prior to the miraculous conclusion.

As noted, the puck had some life to it, and where after some hairy bounces in front of CZAR IGOR, the Rangers got one of their own in the form of “THE GUS BUS,” following a pass made from the wall by Kaapo Kakko:

1-0, GOOD GUYS – and at just the 1:28 mark.

And while I think that this was the intended result from the Finn – let’s face it – he, Gustafsson, the Blueshirts and Ranger fans too, all witnessed a good bounce prior to this rifle of a shot.

One-second later?


Watching this fight live – I was in a pure state of euphoria and just overwhelmed with emotion!

On Saturday night, I wrote the following:

To be clear, I’m not trying to oversell Rempe to you.

And to be even more crystal clear than that – don’t expect a hat trick out of him either – and where heck – I’d be shocked if he even scores a goal at all!

What Rempe brings to this fan of cliches, old-time hockey and the Rangers themselves, are the buzzwords that this new generation of chart-humping geeks hate, terms such as “JAM,” “GRIT,” “PHYSICALITY,” “SNARL” and “SANDPAPER.”

And similar to both Adam Edstrom and Will Cuylle – Rempe brings a youthful exuberance, which in theory – should have everyone’s blood pumping faster than a Kenyan running a 40-yard-dash.

Better than that?

Based on Rempe’s quotes – you can tell that he’s smacking his lips and will go balls-to-the-wall in his opportunity to impress everyone – including his head coach, his teammates and most importantly – his family too.

Bring it on – and where I just wish that Ross Johnston, formerly of the Islanders and now in Anaheim, was still in the blue-and-orange line-up.

After all, who can forget the heavyweight tilt that these two had during a preseason game earlier in September of ’23 – and one that Rempe narrowly won by a hair?

(For the full details, check out: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/92623/ )

Matt Rempe, the first player to ever debut during an outdoor game, also became the first player in league history to drop the gloves during his first NHL shift while outdoors – and no less than a second into it!

I felt like a proud father when watching this – and I don’t even know the guy!

But, and while Rempe was smashing the face of Boomer Esiason’s son-in-law, this can’t be forgotten either – and where – UGH – yes, I have to praise Matt Martin, one of the featured 100 names in my “Rangers Killers” book:

Martin, a long-time NHL veteran, didn’t have to give Rempe his spotlight here.

Instead, one of the best fourth-liners in league history could have blown off the 21-year-old rookie and laughed him away.

Rather than playing the veteran card, Martin gave Rempe his first “NHL MOMENT” – and even more surprising than that – actually gave the Rangers’ rookie some praise and words of wisdom following the fisticuffs.

Here’s how Rempe told it:

I just loved this video – and while I know that this stuff is more catered to OLD TIME HOCKEY fans like myself – and not to these chart-humping losers of today that worship at the altar of VAGISTAT – you could feel the excitement dripping out of Rempe with every word.

This too:

It doesn’t matter what Rempe goes on to do next – and heck – he may be back in the AHL by the end of the week (or maybe by the time that you read these words) – but from this point moving on – Matt Martin has earned a spot on Rempe’s X-Mas card list – and while Rempe will always have his place in Rangers’ history too.

Following Rempe’s fight?

Not much – at least not for the Rangers.

Put it this way: At the ten-minute mark of the period, the Islanders were out-shooting their rivals 11-2 – and where Gustafsson had both of the Blueshirts two shots on goal.

By the end of the first frame, the Islanders had out-shot Big Brother, the real home team of this game (I don’t have to explain the M$G/tax exemption stuff to you guys and gals again), by a tally of 18-7.

And oh – the Islanders, after surrendering the game’s first goal, then quickly responded with three of their own, as Brock Nelson “smoked” CZAR IGOR at the 4:20 mark, the overpaid Bo Horvat scored at the 7:18 mark, and to continue “THE RANGERS’ WAY” – following the Blueshirts failing on their first power-play of the game (and where no SOG was recorded – somewhat the usual these days – and against the league’s worst PK to boot) – the Islanders scored on their first man-advantage, as following a Lafreniere tripping penalty (on Casey Cizikas), Mat Barzal made it 3-1, bad guys, after his PPG scored at the 7:34 mark.

Long story short?

Not only did the Rangers blow the early lead – but once again – they gave up two goals within a minute – for what I believe is the 23rd time this season.

So yeah – NOT GOOD!

That said, and again, I know that I’m repeating myself right now like a broken record – outside of Rempe’s fight – no one will remember any of this time as the calendar marches on.

And just to comment on it since I had about 89767867867967896 tweets sent my way in regards to this topic – again – it’s all about the win to me – and I don’t care if the Isles scored five on CZAR IGOR.

All I care about is the Rangers scoring six on Sorokin – and where for all of the talk about CZAR IGOR’s up-and-down season – his best friend isn’t exactly having a Vezina Trophy winning season either.

But of course, it’s all about what the Rangers do – and not what the Isles are doing – and where by the end of it – this was a standalone game that you really can’t judge – but I will give you this – it’s easier to say that now with the knowledge of the final score!

(But had the Rangers lost – then this would’ve been my excuse – and as I had already set-up on this site on Saturday night!)

The NHL busted out the Rangers’ alumni for this game, including the legendary Mark Messier and former Blueshirt coach, Bryan Trottier. Photo Credit: ESPN


As I continue my stream of consciousness style of writing today, I forgot to bring up that not only were members of the Giants and Jets in-attendance – but so were the Ranger and Islander alumni.

I know that the Rangers and Islanders just played an alumni game three weeks ago – but it would’ve been nice to see a pregame rematch – but then again – the ice conditions weren’t at peak condition and it would’ve then only delayed this game.

From all accounts, this game, which historically will go down as the biggest attendance that the Islanders have ever drawn since it was their home game, was in reality a Rangers’ home match – and the largest audience that they have ever played in front of too.

From what I saw on TV, and from what people who were there told me – at the “worst,” this crowd was 75-25, in favor of the Rangers – and where some people reported back to me that they felt it was really 90-10.

That said, the NHL, and both teams too, did a good job of bringing their top alumni names to Metlife, which only added to all of the pomp and circumstance at this star-studded gala.

While fans were chanting “POTVIN SUCKS” at Denis Potvin during an “Islander home game” (and where for the first time – 99.9% of the people who chant these ridiculous two words finally saw what Potvin looks like), I was wondering this at the time:

Where was Potvin’s wife – and was she wearing natural eye-black (and blue) again?

As ESPN was recapping the ceremonial first puck drop during the initial intermission, my stomach turned when I saw that Bryan Trottier was there.

It was even more sickening to see Mark Messier with him – who ironically – Trottier, the worst coach in Rangers’ history (check out my Rangers Killers book, plugged below, for all of it), actually coached “The Messiah” during that dreadful 2002-03 season, 54-games in-total.

What, did Trottier not send Glen Sather a 90-page handwritten letter asking him to escort him down the red carpet?

UGH – and where that feeling would only continue once the second period commenced.

At just the 34-second mark, Kreider was boxed for holding Adam Pelech. 29-seconds later, and the Islanders had now bested one of the biggest Blueshirts’ strengths these days – their penalty kill – and for the second time too, as this time, it was Anders Lee picking up the power-play goal for the blue-and-orange.

4-1, bad guys – and at just the 1:03 mark of the second stanza.

But, and I do have evidence of this in the form of the photo – I never thought that the Rangers would actually lose.

I felt so strongly about this, that with the live-odds on this game hovering at +400 – I put some coin on the Blueshirts to prevail – and where perhaps this was also a “boozy bet” too:

I also bet on the over of this game (5.5 goals) – which is why going into this game – I didn’t think that you could judge either goalie, as these games, more times than not, are just high-scoring. By the end of Sunday night, I cleared $878.87 – and maybe that’s foretelling a future Sidney Crosby trade to New York. Hey, a boy can wish, no?!?!?

My degenerate drinking and gambling aside – by the way this game was going – and where all of the negative Ranger trends were fully on display – I thought it was time for the negative Islander trends to make their debut in front of a national audience.

After all, who blows the “dreaded three-goal lead” better than the Islanders?

As the Rangers continued to give Sorokin an easy night at this point of the contest, and where stars such as Mika Zibanejad and Alexis Lafreniere refused to shoot too – leave it to the first line center to put the team on his back – again.

While I’m sure that many are concerned about the Rangers’ issues at scoring while at even-strength, it was nice to see the power-play reawaken.

Following a Lee slash on Zibanejad at the 4:19 mark, NONNA TROCHECK’S BAMBINO kicked off the comeback with a power-play goal at the 5:36 timestamp:

Originally, it looked like Panarin had this gnarly goal, but upon replay, it was revealed that Trocheck, with his back facing the puck, was able to get the forehand of his blade on the rubber, which then threw off Sororkin.

Either way, 4-2, bad guys – and where neither Trocheck and Panarin were done yet.

As the game progressed, and where it should be mentioned that CZAR IGOR started to find his groove too (even if he did give up four prior to this comeback), there was more of a balance to this tilt, and as the 17-13, in favor of the Islanders, SOG tally would suggest.

While the Rangers were picking up some momentum, while bleeding a total of 35 SOG through two periods too, you still thought (or at least I did) that they were right there and knocking on the door.

Then, and with just 1:36 remaining, Trocheck from the doorstep himself, knocked the loudest:

4-3, bad guys – and where this crucial late goal allowed by the Islanders would go on to doom them – and now, after the fact – what Islander fan in their right mind would ever wear their Stadium Series swag ever again – where conversely – the Rangers, who have already sold-out of their new big fonted white jerseys – should beef up and get new stock – as every fan will want them now.

Up next, and this is no recency bias either – one of the best finishes in regular season Rangers’ history – where again – yes – the conditions of this game is the sole reason why.

I don’t know if this sign, as it once applied in 1994 remains true today (okay – it doesn’t!) – but this is no exaggeration either – I can’t think of better regular season win since that Game 7 win from thirty-years back. Photo Credit: NHL.com


As the NHL powers-to-be were writing their Hollywood conclusion – there was still “one more hill left to climb” – and of course – one last struggle to overcome too.

Just 1:53 into the final frame, and Alex Romanov scored his sixth goal of the season following Noah Dobson, who should get Norris Trophy votes, fifty-first assist of the campaign.

5-3, bad guys – and where for most – that “GAME OVER” feeling had returned – and where this goal scored wasn’t without controversy either – as prior to Romanov beating CZAR IGOR – Lindgren, on Romanov’s first follow-through, was hit in the face by an errant high-stick.

While the law of the land is that no penalty is called during these situations (an accidental high-stick on a follow-through), this essentially gave the Islanders a 5 x 4 power-play – and it also ended Lindgren’s night too.

At best, you would’ve liked to see a stoppage here – especially with Lindgren down – but that was a no go.

As Ranger fans, now irate, were slinking into their seats and expecting the worst, the Blueshirts said, “not so fast.”

Before getting into the fantastic finish, I will admit – for the Islanders fans claiming a fix and alleging the league of screwy officiating – well, I don’t disagree with you.

After all, we all know what happened during the first Rangers’ outdoor game (2012 Winter Classic in Philadelphia) and where it was reported that allegations of a fix were in – as both the league, and their broadcasting partner of the time too, NBC, wanted an overtime.

In other words, if you believed in a fix/“game managing” by the officials in 2012, then you have to be fair and think that the same thing took place a dozen years later – where fortunately – such calls benefited the Blueshirts during this go-around.

In a game that had playoff vibes to it – the Rangers received three power-plays in this final period – and two in total during the latter stages of regulation.

The Islanders didn’t receive one power-play.

And let’s face it – the Blueshirts aren’t angels either.

But – these are problems, valid concerns at that, for an Islander fan – and not for me to muddy my hands with!

Down to 9:24 remaining and Mayfield took the first of three Islander penalties when he tripped known sniper, Adam Edstrom.

This power-play wasn’t successful and where after it, a fired-up Trocheck took umbrage with Romanov, which then led to off-setting roughing minors – and where I thought that the Isles’ d-man kind of came off like a douche here – as he was wearing a fishbowl helmet while trying to punch at the Rangers’ best center.

As Trocheck and Romanov took their timeouts with 6:20 remaining, just 36-seconds later and Barzal was boxed for hooking Miller.

No goals were scored during the foreplay, nor during a brief 4 x 3 power-play either, but once at 5 x 4, and with CZAR IGOR to the bench thus making it now a 6 x 4 attack – Chris Kreider, who scored a hat trick on Thursday night in the team’s win against Montreal – scored his biggest goal of the past 72-hours here:

5-4, bad guys – and where you could tell that the tide had turned for the Isles.

Exactly 100-seconds later – Mayfield went off for the third time – which then led CZAR IGOR into going off for the second time too.

I’m sure it’s happened many times before, but I can’t come up with an instance off the top of my head, but up next saw the Rangers score their second 6 x 4 power-play goal – and perhaps by the most unlikeliest suspect of them all these days – Mika Zibanejad:

5-5 – COMEBACK COMPLETE – and while Islander fans were screaming about this game being fixed – it was their horrendous penalty kill that had came back to doom them again.

But seriously – when does this ever happen – two 6 x 4 power-play goals?

Unheard of – which is why this game will always be remembered.

Crazy enough – these two goals were just the appetizer, as following the Rangers’ equalizer – we remained tied at five-goals a piece.

For a player with many memorable Ranger moments (at least in the regular season), Panarin’s walkoff winner from Sunday night was his absolute biggest. Photo Credit: Getty Images


Following a Dobson turnover just ten-seconds into the period – game-set-match – but with a brief pause before such confirmation:

6-5, GOOD GUYS – and a happy ending that not even an Asian Massage Parlor could rival – and against a rival to boot!

More salt in the Isles’ wound?

The fact that in the Summer of 2019, Panarin said “NYET” to their offer, one higher than what the Rangers presented, before signing with the Blueshirts.

Now that’s good writing – and what a CALLBACK!

The post-game interviews were something else – and for a bunch of millionaires, who for most, are all set for life – they all spoke as if they were playing the game for the first time – and where all of their emotion came off as pure bliss – and 100% authentic too – as you can see what this win, and the way they won it, meant:

And the best of the lot – Panarin and Zibanejad:

CZAR IGOR, like his predecessor Henrik Lundqvist, is now undefeated in outdoor games! Photo Credit: NYR

Yeah, yeah, yeah and blah, blah, blah – it’s just one game.

But it was a game like we saw on Sunday that makes you a fan of this sport – and this team too.

For all of the bitching-and-moaning that we as fans do, and for all of the ups-and-downs that we regularly experience with this team too (and this isn’t me breaking news – there are a lot more downs) – for one night – everything just felt perfect.

It’s just a shame that unlike the Superbowl, which this game felt like at times – the Rangers have to forget about this win and now think about the Dallas Stars, as the Blueshirts will host the green team on Tuesday night at M$G.

And I guess in a way – that’s why Sunday’s game was just like any other regular season game on the schedule (sans Game #82) – as after it – there’s another match to be played – and one after that, one following that, and you get my point.

But to think “this was just any other regular season game” would be foolish too.

Heck, even my old and jaded ass, and once returning home – re-watched the entire thing – and then watched the condensed version on the Rangers’ YouTube account too.

If you could bottle a feeling, then you’d love to bottle the feeling you had once the officials proclaimed that Panarin had scored the game-winner – as that feeling is better than any drug or anything else that you can inject into yourself.

From a historical aspect, here’s what the Rangers put out:

I also think that my four-word tweet from Sunday night sums everything up as we head home here:

Another four-words that Ranger fans may be thinking of right now, for as overzealous as they may be – and where I haven’t even mentioned that after Sunday, the Blueshirts are now on a seven-game winning streak?

This quartet:


Sorry if I was all over the place today – it was just hard to put these feelings into words – but then again – I did pump out 10,000 of them! Photo Credit: NYR

Up next: Rangers vs Stars on Tuesday night – and where if you didn’t already know – the Rangers were off today (Monday).

I’d expect Jonathan Quick to get the nod in net and allow CZAR IGOR to get a breather after what had to be an emotional game for him.

Good news for regular readers of this site – and I guess my Tweeter followers too?

I’m covering the day shift at my real-life gig this week – so I’ll be able to watch and write about Tuesday night’s tilt in real-time!

What a time to alive – especially since you can also buy my books too, which brings us to…

PLUGS TIME! (Buy a book and support my Rangers’ induced therapy bills. After all, I don’t run ads on this site!)

My fourth title and tenth book is now available!

“The Top 100 Villains of New York Rangers History,” is now available for sale!

For complete information, please visit: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/rangerkillers/

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

My second plug of tonight’s blog – the mandatory plug for my book, “The New York Rangers Rink of Honor and the Rafters of Madison Square Garden.”

As mentioned previously, the book is now available in hardcover, in paperback and in Kindle formats. To purchase a copy of the book, visit this link:


For those still looking for signed paperback versions of the book, I have re-ordered more copies. I now have a few signed copies for sale at $25 a pop (includes shipping price) through me directly. Here is all the information on that:

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

My four-volume set of books, “One Game at a Time – A Season to Remember,” is a game-by-game recount of the Rangers 2021-22 campaign.

My second title as an author, “One Game at a Time – A Season to Remember,” is now available in eBook, paperback and hardcover formats.

To obtain signed copies, visit: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/onegamebook/

To purchase all four volumes on Amazon, visit: Amazon.com – “One Game at a Time.”

The greatest volume-set of books on Rangers’ history today!

“Tricks of the Trade – A Century-Long Journey Through Every Trade Made In New York Rangers’ History,” a four-volume set of books that meticulously covers every trade made in franchise history, is now on sale.

All four volumes of the title can be purchased on Amazon.com and are presented in three different formats – eBook, paperback and hardcover.

To purchase Volume I: Conn Smythe (1926) – Craig Patrick (1986), visit Amazon.com

To purchase Volume II: Phil Esposito (1986) – Neil Smith (2000), visit Amazon.com

To purchase Volume III: Glen Sather (2000-2015), visit Amazon.com

To purchase Volume IV: Jeff Gorton (2015) – Chris Drury (2022), visit Amazon.com

To purchase signed copies of all four volumes, visit https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/tricksofthetrade/

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

Rangers & Islanders Set To Do Battle For the 290th Time; First Regular Season Meeting in 424 Days, Matt Rempe(STEIN) Set to Make Unique NHL History; Laviolette & NYR Too, Blake Wheeler Officially Down For Remainder of the Campaign; Pat “Price Gouge” Verbeek, Panarin’s Politician Murdered in a Russian Prison, Ramsay & More

NYR/MTL 2/15 Review: “The Canadien Crippler” Chris Kreider Blows Up Another Montreal Goalie; A Case of “Montezuma’s Revenge” for Sam Montembeault, Blake Wheeler Severely Injured & It’s Not Looking Good, Chris Drury’s Edict to M$GN; Jim Ramsay Ignored All Game Despite The Veteran Blueshirts Paying Their Respects, Six Straight Wins Ahead of The Stadium Series Cash Grab Game, Predictions & More

The Summer of 2023 Now Down Two Players; Tyler Pitlick Clears Waivers & Sent to Hartford – But Was This Chris Drury’s Master Plan? Adam Edstrom Promoted To Varsity Roster; Laviolette’s Vote of Confidence, BSU Watch Party, Casino Night, Trap Game Ahead Prior To First Meeting with Isles, Stan Fischler on Rivalry, Standings & More

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

Now on sale!

Don’t forget to order my four-volume set of books, “Tricks of the Trade!”

If you don’t order through me, all four volumes are now available on Amazon.com

For more details, check out: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/tricksofthetrade/

Thanks for reading.


Sean McCaffrey


@NYCTHEMIC on the Tweeter machine

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

6 thoughts on “NYR/NYI 2/18 Review: MIRACLE ON ICE! Rangers Win Superbowl Spectacular Stadium Series Game; One of The Most Incredible “Disney Finishes” of All-Time, What Fans Will & Won’t Remember, Rempe’s Historical Debut Lives To All Hype & Expectations; Give Credit To Matt Martin Too, Questionable Officiating, Both Teams Exhibit Their Season-Long Issues & Microcosms, Alumni, ESPN & More

  1. I actually thought the announcing was good. I didn’t notice any biased talk. They told it like it was. I was very surprised. Usually the guy that does the main talk is rather negative towards the Rangers but not in this game. They gave credit and listed known faults of the team!
    I believe this is a game Igor is lucky to have won. Don’t remember him giving up 5 and still coming up with the win. Usually he is 3gore and done.

  2. I agree this game was difficult to put into words, it was so thrilling, but the game like your blog is a big winner.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *