NYR/FLA 3/25 Review: Terrific Third Line Propels Rangers’ Comeback; Lafreniere, Chytil & Kakko All Score, Blueshirts Inch Closer to Officially Clinching; Could Finish with First-Round Home Ice, Penalty Kill Remains Strong; Power-Play is All Wrong, Not the Best Night For Sam Rosen, “TURK TALKS” & More

In another example of how any line on this team can carry the Rangers on any night; on Saturday night, in Sunrise, Florida, it was the Blueshirts’ third line, Alexis Lafreniere, Filip Chytil and Kaapo Kakko, who did the bulk of the heavy lifting. Behind identical box scores of one goal and one assist each, this trio erased a 2-0 Rangers’ deficit, en route to a 4-3 comeback victory – and a major two points netted in the standings too. And oh yeah – this broadcast wasn’t exactly a Hall of Fame performance for the HOFer himself, Sam Rosen – but once again – he did provide the unintentional comedy – comedy that works much better following a Blueshirts victory!

Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. “OH JOE, THE TEXAS RANGERS BEAT THE CAROLINA PANTHERS 4-3 JOE!”

While Mr. Rosen didn’t really make that remark on this night; following the Rangers clawing and scratching out a one-goal margin of victory on Saturday night – would it have surprised you if he did?

And yes – Rosen’s never-ending gaffes are much more comical following a win!

Had the Rangers lost in front of “M$G South” tonight – then no one would be laughing right now!

However, the Rangers did win – where not only can we now laugh – but we can also exhale a huge sigh of relief too!

And how about this nugget, one that was dug up by friend of the blog, Nick L:

The Rangers, who we all know had a slow start this season, opened the 2022-23 campaign with a 11-10-5 record.

Since those 26 games?

The Blueshirts have gone 32-10-5.

Even Sam Rosen realizes that’s impressive!


Gallant’s third line, who all are currently experiencing career-best & career-high seasons (despite “FLAT EARTH TURKERS” claiming that “GALLANT DOZN’T NOSE WUT HE’S DOIN! WE NEED KRAVTSOV!”) – each player of this trio impressed tonight.

This 4-3 win over Florida felt just like the previous two games that the Rangers have played this week.

And while there were more goals scored tonight when compared to the Blueshirts’ 2-1 victory over the Hurricanes from Thursday – for the most part – this game felt like a carbon copy replica from the contest played just 48-hours prior.

Similar to the pair of recent games played against the Canes; once again, the Rangers came out flat and devoid of life.

And just like those two games with Raleigh’s favorite squad – once again, the Blueshirts couldn’t muster up any shots on goal, looked absolutely horrid on the power-play – and then relied on both their penalty kill and goaltender to get them out of the first period.

However, and as we’ve seen all week – once the second period began, the Rangers soon found their legs.

Whether it’s a locker room “TURK PEP TALK,” the experience factor, the will to win or what; either way – following another crappy first period, where by the end of it, the road team was trailing 2-0 – by the time the second period had concluded – the Blueshirts had tied the score at 2-all.

Come the final frame, where one of the oldest cliches rang true again, “WIN THE PERIOD, WIN THE GAME;” that’s exactly what the Big Apple residents did – as behind a fluke goal from Patrick Kane and an amazing display of the hands from Chytil (and we’ll talk about Barkov’s tally during the GAME REVIEW too) – the Rangers won the third period 2-1 and the game 4-3.

As a result of another comeback victory (as Gallant & Company swept the two-game mini road-trip), and combined with the Islanders’ 2-0 loss to the Sabres from Saturday – the Rangers magic number to officially clinch a playoff berth is two points.

It’s only a matter of time.

In addition, as the Rangers boarded their plane back home, where they will be off for the next two days (sans practice) – they sat in their seats just two points behind the Devils for second-place in the division – but with Lindy Ruff’s club in-action at the time. (More on the standings at the end of tonight’s manifesto – as unfortunately – the Devils did win tonight too.)

While there are still things to work on, where the power-less play is the most obvious and apparent area that needs addressing; things couldn’t be better in Rangertown, USA with nine games remaining in the regular season.

Then again, the only thing that could be better is getting a healthy diagnosis in regards to Ryan Lindgren’s nagging shoulder injury.

Speaking of, let’s jump right into the pregame news & notes section – and then get into tonight’s GAME REVIEW.

We’re back to the daily “day-to-day” statuses in regards to #55, Ryan Lindgren. Photo Credit: NYR

Following Thursday night’s 2-1 victory in Raleigh, North Carolina; a day later, now in Sunrise, Florida, the team had the day off.

Since Saturday’s puck drop was scheduled two-hours earlier than usual (5PM), the team, which has had a busy schedule as of late – and where rest/preparing for the playoffs is the number one goal – they didn’t have a pregame morning skate.

In other words – there was no news until 3PM Saturday, which was the time that Gerard Gallant held his daily “TURK TALK.”

(And better than that – there wasn’t another PRIDE “controversy” either – as I think we’ve all had enough of monitoring what people wear during warm-ups!)

Here’s what “THE TURKMASTER GENERAL” had to say for himself – where really, and as I’ve been saying for a while now on this site – there isn’t much to talk about these days:

The two “big” stories coming out of Gallant’s short “fireside chat” with the media was that Jaroslav Halak would get the nod in the net, while Ryan Lindgren remains “day-to-day.”

As mentioned on Thursday night – I didn’t care who would be in net for this match – but I just thought that we’d see CZAR IGOR on Saturday, since Florida is clawing for the second wild card. After that, then I thought that Halak would return when the team returns to M$G on Tuesday, when the Rangers host the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets.

Instead, Halak started tonight and it’s most likely that #31 will be in net come Tuesday night – and he better be starting on Thursday night too!

Lindgren, who tweaked his shoulder last Tuesday night after missing the previous eleven games due to T.J. Oshie’s sneak attack, is now back to being “day-to-day.”

While Lindgren’s injury is no laughing matter; even Gallant laughed as he uttered out his favorite three-word phrase.

As both Gallant and Lindgren have said prior to #55’s temporary one-game return; big picture – it’s all about the playoffs.

In other words, the Rangers won’t be rushing their top left defenseman into the line-up anytime soon. And since both Niko Mikkola and Ben Harpur have looked good lately – there’s no reason to anyway.

I will say, and as I said when Lindgren first went down – I wouldn’t “bubble-wrap” him either.

What I mean by that is that I hope that we see Lindgren get a few more regular season games before the playoffs start, just to shake off the rust and to get back into the swing of things.

I just think it will be tough to throw Lindgren right back into the mix, during an intense and physical playoff game. Getting some tune-up games, providing he’s 100%, would be the best case scenario.


“The Turk” doesn’t exactly have fond memories about his final days when coaching the Florida Panthers.

Here was the Rangers’ line-up from Saturday night:

FIRST LINE: Panarin/Mika/Tarasenko

SECOND LINE: Kreider/Trocheck/Kane

THIRD LINE: Lafreniere/Chytil/Kakko

FOURTH LINE: Vesey/Goodrow/Motte

FIRST PAIR: Miller/Trouba

SECOND PAIR: Mikkola/Fox

THIRD PAIR: Harpur/Schneider



DAY-TO-DAY: Ugh, Ryan Lindgren

PRESS BOX: A Zac Jones trading card


The following graphics and information come from ESPN.com:




Note: The Rangers finished the first period with only three shots on goal. They nearly hit twenty SOG a piece during the final two periods.


42 4 38 .905 34 4 0 0 0 58:22 0


34 3 31 .912 26 3 2 0 0 59:41 0

In a good omen of what was to come – M$GN viewers were spared the brutal Sieve Vagistat tonight, as instead, a true NHLer, a Stanley Cup champion to boot, Mike Rupp, was back! Photo Credit: M$GN (and from a previous game – as you may have figured out!)

Come 4:30PM, a half-hour prior to puck drop of tonight’s late matinee; I tuned into the M$GN expecting to see Sieve Vagistat – but instead of chart boy – I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that Mike Rupp was there!

While I still think that Henrik Lundqvist provides the best insights; Rupp is a hell of a hand himself and I enjoy hearing what he has to say.

After all, how many times have I brought up on this site that this broadcast needs to feature a full-time skater on-air?

And isn’t it amazing Suzyn, that immediately after retiring – both Rupp and Lundqvist landed national television jobs?

For the former Islander and worst Rangers’ goalie of this century, Vagistat himself; he’s been doing this for over eight-years – and for whatever reason, and maybe it’s an everlasting Garden of Dreams wish granted – only the M$GN employs Sieve Vagistat – while other M$GN employees/personalities, including Brendan Burke, Anson Carter, A.J. Mleczko, Marty Biron, Thomas Hickey, Bill Pidto, Kenny Albert, Ken Daneyko and others, all have national TV gigs.

Makes you wonder.

To open the broadcast, Johnny Boy and Rupper praised Adam Fox – and mentioned that he has five game-winning goals this season. Also with five game-winning scores? Mika Zibanejad.

The point that these two were trying to make is that both players come up big when it matters – although that wasn’t the case tonight – especially during the Rangers three power-plays.

But as mentioned – no one is perfect during all 82-games – and how on any night, anyone on this team can lift them to victory.

It was then brought up that the Panthers have been very prone to giving up a ton of goals, while the Rangers have been able to rack up the goals in bunches. And that’s what kind of played out in Sunrise in front of a heavy and pro-Rangers crowd.

No joke, I had friends who were there who told me this, and this was also as clear-as-day on TV too – the crowd make-up of this game was 70% Ranger fans, 10% Panther fans and 20% empty seats.

For what it’s worth, the Panthers, much like the NHL when they held their All-Star Game at the “FLA LIVE ARENA” earlier this year, claimed a 100% sell-out.

While maybe every ticket was purchased (including from sponsors); I’m sure the turnstile number was a few thousand short of a “paper sell-out.”

In a point that would prove to be poignant later on; Rupp talked about the Panthers fall from grace, as last year, the Cats won the Presidents’ Trophy.

Without bringing up the roster upheaval, nor new coach, Paul Maurice, behind the bench either; Rupp said that the Panthers won a ton of games last season, most in the league, via the comeback. (Second-best you may ask? The Rangers.)

Rupp said that the Panthers haven’t been able to comeback, much less hold onto leads, this season. And that’s what eventually played out, as the home team blew a two-goal lead, soon trailed, and then never came back.

The former Cup champ and JOHN GIANNONE FROM THE PROJECTS IN BOONTON (that’s an old callback for long-time readers) then praised “THE HALAKNESS MONSTER,” and how #41 was sharp in his last start, when he made a flurry of crazy saves prior to the Rangers’ 7-0 blowout of another member of the feline family, the Predators.

On Halak’s game tonight? I thought he was serviceable and mostly good.

Maybe one of the goals allowed was on him, but the Rangers didn’t make it easy on him. When it mattered most, the final minutes of the third period – Halak was at his best – and that’s all you can ask from your back-up goalie.

When Rupp’s facetime had ended, I felt so refreshed. After all, I didn’t hear the following once:




Come 5PM, Sam and Joe had their segment, where they ran down the life stories of every Florida Panther, where on this night, Carter Verhaeghe had the apple of their eye.

Not mentioned once, and here’s something that I “EXPECTED” – any mention of the Staal brothers, Blueshirt alumni, and their recent “controversy” from Thursday.

Funny enough – Marc Staal was all over this game and was a major contributor.

But despite hearing about who the other Panthers had for teachers in the third grade, their astrological signs, whether they like long walks on the beach or not – “OOGATZ” on the Staals’.

That’s called “cherry-picking” my friends, where really, and as mentioned on Thursday – I don’t care if the Staals’ believe in Adam & Eve cherry-picking in the Garden of Eden either!

All I care about is dropping the puck, which brings us to…


The only thing worse than the Rangers’ first period was perhaps Sam Rosen himself. I’ll recount every gaffe for you below – but for new readers, let me be clear – I respect Rosen – but I also enjoy the unintentional comedy that he provides on a daily basis. He’s like a senile and old lovable grandfather – but admittedly – it is sad that a younger generation will only know this version of the Hall of Famer – as he’s been shot for many years now.


I think the technical and politically correct term to accurately describe this first period is “dog shit.”

And we can laugh about that – since we know the final result.

I haven’t watched any of the player post-game interviews yet, so I don’t know if this what they said; but in my eyes, I thought the schedule, not being able to practice, and perhaps a few adult beverages enjoyed in the Miami sun too, contributed to another slow start.

And you know what? I’m fine with it.

While I know that many fans do the DOOM & GLOOM act if the Rangers aren’t at 100% for sixty consecutive minutes; I just look at the big picture and where they are at today.

They are comfortably in control of a playoff berth.

Similar to staying in Las Vegas – if they wanted to have some fun in Miami, in order to let loose & enjoy themselves a bit – then who am I to judge?

Of course – that’s much easier to say after this game!

However, at the end of the day, don’t lose sight of the fact that the Rangers did come back – and also beat a desperate Panthers team to boot.

As mentioned, these first twenty minutes were an absolute train-wreck, so let’s rapidly bullet-point this first frame:

— The Rangers finished with three shots on goal, where only a long-distance and harmless shot from K’Andre Miller, which was sent Bobrovsky’s (Bob for the rest of this review) way with only 2:00 remaining, held up as the lone Blueshirts’ even-strength SOG.

— The turnovers were endless and reckless, where trying to force the puck to Patty Kane was apparent again.

— At just the 2:29 mark, Eric “We can’t talk about Thursday Joe!” Staal committed an o-zone penalty when he tripped Braden Schneider.

— Now with a chance to go up early on the power-play – once again – the Rangers couldn’t fine twine.

— As previously mentioned on this site, the Rangers have had many games recently, where they either could’ve scored first or pad their lead via the power-play – but for whatever reason – they can’t get anything going.

— Following the first unit doing nothing, not even registering a SOG; with thirty seconds remaining, the second quintet came on the ice, and at the end of the man-advantage – Bob stopped a Trouba Bomb from the blue line.

— Also of note – Halak – and not Bob – had to make the toughest save during these two minutes.

— Come 11:23 remaining, when we had our first TV timeout, the Panthers were out-shooting their opponent 7-1.

— Once returned from the break, Halak made a glove save on “THE FRESH PRINCE OF DUCLAIR;” but with the puck loose, and with 10:45 to go, Barkov, a half-step quicker than Trouba, collected the loose change.

— 1-0, bad guys, where it should be mentioned that you could argue that the officials could’ve blown a whistle here, just because we’ve seen them do so many times before. Keep this in mind for later.

— Following the goal, Gallant challenged the score, opining that Florida was off-side.

— As mentioned many times on this site in the past – I hate, hate and did I say hate – these “I think he was offside by a hair” reviews. While it’s part of the game and legal; to me, it’s just not what the rule is all about.

— In other words, while Ekblad was offside by a hair – this millimeter difference had nothing to do with the goal scored.

— Apparently, despite visual evidence of Ekblad being offside – the officials agreed with my opinion too – and for the first time this season, Gallant, previously 100% in these offside video reviews, took the loss.

— This also put the Panthers on the power-play, as Kane served the delay of game/failed challenge penalty.

— As Sam did everything in his power to jinx the red-hot Rangers’ PK; the penalty killers were phenomenal, where during these two minutes – they cleared the puck six times.

— And yep, one more time this week – for as fantastic as the penalty kill has been, equally, the power-play has been just as bad.

— The Blueshirts’ man-down unit returned to the ice just twenty-six seconds later, as Kane, who was just in the box, returned to the sin bin, following a hooking call on Gustav “Don’t Call Me Fring” Forsling.

— Once again, the Rangers’ PK came up big, where this time, Halak actually had to make a save, and as he did when he stopped a Tkachuk-to-Barkov tip-in/deflection try.

— Back to full-strength; Lomberg cleanly beat Halak with 5:14 to go.

— 2-0, bad guys, and the one goal that you could somewhat pin on Halak – where to be fair – this whole period was spent in the Rangers’ zone.

— Down to under five minutes remaining, the Rangers still only had one shot on goal.

— With 4:39 remaining, Lomberg stunted his team’s momentum, when he stupidly took an o-zone penalty for roughing Miller. A penalty like this is why the Panthers aren’t a playoff team right now.

— This Rangers’ power-play was more aggravating and infuriating than the one that had preceded it; as once again mind you, the Blueshirts, who only had one shot on goal at this time – didn’t make it two SOG when Chris Kreider, six inches away and all alone from Bob – opted not to shoot – as instead, he forced a pass to Kane – a turnover.

— Bob would later stop a harmless shot from Mika – the Rangers’ second SOG with 3:31 remaining – and the lone SOG of this power-play.

— Down to 2:20 remaining, the score was 2-0, bad guys, and the Rangers were being out-shot 12-2.

— Following Miller’s lone 5×5 Rangers’ SOG of the period; down to 1:40 remaining, Niko Mikkola, who once again, I thought was superb tonight – smashed the post. Sam Rosen shrieked, “GOAL!!!!!!!”

— Of all the errors that Rosen made tonight, I thought this was the least offensive, as this play did happen quick. Plus, I’m used to Rosen botching goal calls at this point anyway.

— But at the time, your heart raced, where you hoped that Rosen was correct and that the Rangers had cut the lead in half. No dice.

— Down to 45 ticks remaining, Trouba got away with a penalty when he “cup checked” Tkachuk in the nuts. The refs didn’t see this one.

As the horn went off, 2-0, bad guys – but despite the mess – I didn’t think much of it.

I’ve just seen this script play out many times before – especially recently.

Here’s what I said at the time:

Too bad ESPN didn’t have the rights to this game – not only would have that saved Rosen from having a bad night – perhaps Emily Kaplan & Filip Chytil could’ve rekindled their romance too! Photo Credit: ESPN


Whatever happened during the intermission – the Rangers should bottle it.

After finishing with only three shots on goal twenty minutes prior; by the end of this second period, the Rangers nearly had put seven times as many shots on goal during this period, twenty in all.

Prior to Florida winning the opening faceoff; M$GN showed us two Ranger legends, “THE SARGE” Steve Vickers and Brad Park, as both of Francis’ Blueshirts attended this game. (Both were in the crowd as spectators, and where it looked like they were with their families too.)

And yep – with Vickers & Park in-attendance – they made up the 70% of Blueshirt backers at the game!

The beginning of this period was more of the same, that is, until the third line took over.

Just 55 seconds in, the Rangers had a 2 x 1 odd-man rush, but for whatever reason – Kreider, rather than shooting again – forced a pass to Zibanejad this time – another turnover. (Note this line change, as Gallant flip-flopped Panarin and Kreider.)

Following a Halak save on Marc Staal, who didn’t play like a friendly Christian today, as he was hacking and whacking at Vinny Trocheck all game; Bob then made a save on PATRICK Kane.

Sam then called him “EVANDER KANE.”

I don’t know why Evander Kane was on Sam’s mind. After all, it’s not like the Rangers have played the Oilers in a while. But that’s our Senile Sammy, where all you can do is shake your head and laugh – while realizing that the prime years of Kenny Albert (the national voice of the TNT Network) are currently being wasted – much like how M$GN shits the bed whenever they allow Vagistat to talk over Lundqvist.

However, at least Rosen is a HOFer. Vagistat has to buy a ticket to enter the HOF.

At the 2:40 mark, Chytil tried that one vs three move that he successfully used against Nashville, but this time, he couldn’t put the puck on net.

Right after, when referring to the Panthers’ Gustav Forsling, it sounded like Sam called him “Gump Worsley.”

Come 16:32 remaining, during a Rangers’ fourth line attack, Goodrow scored, as he pumped in a loose puck following a rebound afforded.

The officials quickly waved off this goal, stating that they had intended to blow their whistle during all of the chaos in front of Bob.

As mentioned earlier – Halak wasn’t afforded this same luxury.

And this too – the whistle should’ve never been blown, as the puck was alive and not frozen.

That said – this no goal woke up the beast.

Up next – Ranger domination – despite the Blueshirts’ power-play coming up empty-handed one more time.

Following the whistle on Goodrow’s (no) goal; Staal tripped Trouba at the 4:13 mark.

“Third time’s a charm” didn’t apply here.

Bob made two easy saves on Kane and Mika and that was that.

At the time, I said the following on the Tweeter machine:

I also thought that Lafreniere should’ve been subbed in for Kreider, as I also said this:

Keep these tweets in the back of your mind for later – even if the Rangers never had a fourth power-play opportunity.

Down to 12:30 remaining, MIKA SELKE broke up Panthers’ 4 x 3 odd-man rush. A minute later, Trocheck screened Bob and the former two-time Vezina winner made a big save on “EVANDER KANE JOE!”

Sam later referred to #88 in white as “Eric Kane.” No, I’m not making this up either.

Following Marc Staal hitting a few Rangers; the third line took over.

Up first, Kaapo Kakko:

2-1, bad guys, as Kakko cashed in the loose change.

With 11:07 left to be played; Chytil drove to the net and set-up Lafreniere. Bob made the save on the first-overall pick and then stopped the Czech’s rebound. Bob wouldn’t stop the Finn’s rebound, where as a result, despite everything that we saw during the previous 28+ minutes – the Rangers were only down by one.

Following an o-zone turnover from Fox at the half-way point of the game/period; Mikkola bailed out his partner by forcing a turnover on his own. Again, Mikkola, after a not-so-great start, has really amped it up, as he definitely now looks comfortable with his new team.

As Rosen showed us the replay of Chytil’s goal, he told us that the replay was presented by “BUD NIGHT” – and whether Sam had too much manischewitz prior to this game I do not know – but with all of his amassing errors – he did sound like a drunk!

But hey, who am I to talk about someone’s alcohol consumption? I’m currently working on a bottle of PROPER FIFTEEN JOE as I write these words myself!

Following a rare save from Halak this period on Montour with 9:39 to go (as Florida’s offense was stifled); eighty seconds later, Chytil almost scored, where this time, Sam got it right – #72 had hit the post.

It was also at this time where it felt like Gallant was double shifting his third line, as it was blatantly obvious they were better than every other Ranger forward tonight.

That’s what led me to tweet the following at this point in the game:

Just to skip ahead for a second – while the Rangers never had another power-play – I would’ve liked to hear one member of the clueless Blueshirts’ beat ask Gallant what he would’ve done, had his team received another man-advantage.

This question was never asked during Gallant’s post-game presser.

But we did find out that Gallant wanted to win this game! Breaking News!

Following another strong shift from the third line; Rosen brought up that Ron Greschner will soon be inducted into the prestigious Saskatchewan Hall of Fame. Of course, Greschner deserves a better honor than that – his number 4 retired and installed in the rafters of M$G.

Down to 3:00 remaining, and with M$G South buzzing, you could feel it coming.

Following another Panarin o-zone turnover, which ended a long second line attack; the third line came on, and BOOM:

2-2, following Lafreniere’s late goal scored with only 1:45 remaining!

Following blocked shots from Motte and Chytil (of all people); “THE GREAT EIGHT,” “Cappy” himself, Jacob Trouba, once again emulated Bobby Orr and put some sweet sauce on a pass to #13.

Lafreniere then showed off the hands, deked out a defender, and then went backhanded when putting the biscuit into the basket. (This goal was somewhat reminiscent of the score he picked up against Detroit last season.)

The crowd roared after this goal – where for the remainder of the period – Sam & Joe had to speak louder in order to be heard.

2-all after forty minutes.

Here’s what I said at the time:

Maybe the Rangers partied too hard on Friday night, but come 8PM Saturday night – the Rangers had every reason in the world to party! Photo Credit: NYR


This final frame felt like a lot of what we’ve seen lately – the Rangers make their comeback and then go ahead – but your asshole is in your mouth for the final ten minutes – as once again – the opponent had what felt like 986786867796 chances to tie and push the game into overtime.

Following a plug for an M$GN “BETCAST,” which will take place on Tuesday night, where Michelle Gingras will tell fans to gamble for three hours (I’m not making this up); Zibanejad won the first draw of the period.

However, following another Kreider turnover, the Panthers then had two chances to score within the first minute – but fortunately – came up empty-handed.

Following these pair of failures, the home team defense failed Bob, as at the 1:22 mark, this happened:


Talk about a total fluke goal – but as you know – they all count the same!

On this goal, Kane was trying to force a pass to Panarin which would’ve ended up as a turnover, but as the pass intended for “The Breadman” was on its way – BOOM – Verhaeghe, with his stick held high, got a piece of it – and deflected it into the corner of Bob’s net.

This goal/point also put Kane into sole possession of second-place for most points scored by an American-born player.

Up next? Micheletti’s son-in-law, Mike Modano!

Sam first tried selling this goal as a snipe, but quickly reversed such talk and said what it was – a puck luck goal.

Since it’s “THE RANGERS’ WAY” (trademark pending); the Panthers weren’t going to the litter box just yet.

As Florida peppered Halak, and with #41 coming up big time-and-time again; with 14:16 to go, “THE HALAKNESS MONSTER” made one of his better saves, when he flashed the cow against Verhaeghe, who had previously assisted on Kane’s 450th career goal.

This save then allowed the Rangers to go for the insurance goal, with Chytil picking up the score with 12:42 remaining:


Following Kakko forcing a turnover on Ekblad; Chytil raced to the net, made a one-on-one move – and BOOM – just like that – the Rangers had put four unanswered goals against the Cats.

But since it’s “THE RANGERS WAY,” just 42 seconds later, following an o-zone faceoff win for the home team, Barkov returned the Panthers’ deficit to one.

4-3, good guys.

The Cats got around the fourth line on this goal, which allowed Verhaeghe to pick up another assist, this time for his club, as he found Barkov all alone in Halak’s paint.

Up next – fingernail chompin’ and chain-smokin’ time.

For the next ten minutes, the Rangers couldn’t get much going, and where it felt like every Panthers’ possession was an eternity – especially since the Blueshirts couldn’t make one simple clear during this time.

No joke, the Panthers would get GOOD LOOKS and it would take the Rangers 3-4 times before finally getting the puck out.

As the Cats wouldn’t go down without one, or several, final loud meow, and with the Rangers looking like chickens with their heads lopped off; down to 2:30 remaining – Fox may have gotten away with a tripping penalty on Eric “Don’t Show Me the Pictures” Staal.

And prior to this no call – it felt like the Panthers were on their empty net, 6×5, attack.

Bob would finally leave the net with 95 seconds remaining – where immediately once on the bench – he watched his counterpart, Halak, come up with a robbery save.

Come 1:07 left to go – again, another eternity – Halak came up with two more GINORMOUS saves, when he neutered two Cats.

With 25 seconds remaining and the puck finally out of the Rangers’ zone – Trocheck had his empty net attempt blocked.

During the final seconds, the Panthers were back on the attack, but a puck squirted to the boards which allowed the clock to go tick-tick-tick – thus ending the ninth-and-final life of the Cats!

4-3, GOOD GUYS, Final!

And hey – it wouldn’t be the Rangers if they didn’t win in a dramatic fashion – they have a flair for it!

I almost forgot!


You can’t make this up!

Here’s your favorite coach and mine, “THE TURK,” following the win:

Gallant said what this game was – a crappy start, which was later erased by his third line.

As I write these words, the Devils have just beat the Senators, 5-3.

So at the end of the day, this Rangers’ victory was of the “keeping-the-pace” variety – especially since the Hurricanes raked the Leafs on Saturday by another score of 5-3.

While the Rangers moved closer to officially clinching a playoff berth, one that we know has been coming for some time; through 73 games played for each team, the Devils have hit the century mark in points, while the Rangers are four shy with their 96 points total.

The Canes, who haven’t slowed down since losing Andrei Svechnikov, still lead the division with 102 points in 71 games played.

That all said, a lot can happen during these next two+ plus weeks and nine games.

The Rangers will host the Blue Jackets on Tuesday night. While the phrase “MUST WIN” doesn’t apply; the Blueshirts should be capable enough not to fall into a “trap game.”

For the Devils, they next play on Monday night, when they go to the IBS Arena on Long Island – where unfortunately – one of the Rangers’ biggest rivals will pick up two points – and where you have to somewhat root (and I know how much that hurts) for the Isles to win.

At this juncture, it’s just tough envisioning the Islanders missing the playoffs – and after all – 100% of the focus is on the Rangers – and jumping ahead of the Devils for second-place in the division, thus earning home ice in their potential first-round match-up, is the goal.

And wouldn’t you know it, following NJD/NYI and NYR/CBJ?

A Thursday night game between the two opposing sides of the Battle of Hudson, at “The Pebble” in Hockeytown, USA – aka Newark, NJ.

However, prior to getting into all of that – two days off!

Enjoy them – I know that I will!


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

My first 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:

NYR/CAR 3/23 Review: Rope-A-Dope Rangers Survive Slow Start; Turn it Up Late To Go 3-1 Against First-Place Canes, CZAR IGOR Ready For Playoffs; Power-Play Is Not, Lindgren Errs On the Side of Caution, Alumni Update; Boyle Retires, Richter Honored & Staal Brothers Refuse to Wear the Ribbon in Latest “Pride Controversy” (And Why), “TURK TALKS” & More

NYR/CAR 3/21 Review: Rangers Momentum Temporarily Stunted; Drop Last Game of the Final (And Successful) Homestand, Blueshirts Power Outage; Canes Surge Late, Sam “The Mush” Rosen; M$GN, Lindgren Returns, Big 29-Year Anniversary, “TURK TALKS” & More

NYR/NSH 3/19 Review: DEJA VU! Rangers Blow’em Out & Shut’em Out Again; Neuter The Preds, Blueshirts Make History; A No-No for “THE HALAKNESS MONSTER” & Four MILLER TIME Points, Chytil Ends Schneid; Scores GWG, First-Place Within Reach, Women Empowerment/M$GN & More

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

Now on sale!

Don’t forget to order my new 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

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1 thought on “NYR/FLA 3/25 Review: Terrific Third Line Propels Rangers’ Comeback; Lafreniere, Chytil & Kakko All Score, Blueshirts Inch Closer to Officially Clinching; Could Finish with First-Round Home Ice, Penalty Kill Remains Strong; Power-Play is All Wrong, Not the Best Night For Sam Rosen, “TURK TALKS” & More

  1. Solid win.

    Was at a family thing and having a few pops. But with about 90 seconds left-

    “The Rangers’ net is empty”. Sam Rosen

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