Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. Never in doubt.
After all, just prior to puck drop, I tweeted out the following:
Is it far-fetched to think #NYR pull off another touchdown blowout tonight?
— BlueCollarBlueShirts (@NYCTheMiC) March 28, 2023
Some three hours following that tweet – that’s exactly what the Rangers did – they blew out the cellar-dwellers of the Metropolitan Division – with the touchdown to boot – as they defeated the Blue Jackets by a final score of 6-2.
For whatever reason, and for the life of me, I can’t figure this out – but once again, and with the game in-progress – my social media was full of DOOM and GLOOM from several residents of Rangerstown, USA – despite you know – the Blueshirts never trailing once tonight.
I’m now starting to think that I need to mute several of these people from my social media feeds – much like how I need to mute the M$GN broadcast too – and as I’ll probably do on Thursday night during Sam Rosen’s hero worship segments on Jack Hughes!
I don’t know if people and fans just forget – but whenever a team clinches a playoff berth (as the Rangers have done) – then these regular season games don’t seem to matter as much.
And this too – what have the Rangers, with their final roster now in-tow, shown you?
All they do is win – or at least come very close to it!
(The Blueshirts are 9-1-1 in their last ten games played – but yeah, lay it on me you “Doubting Turkers” – “THEY WON’T BE ABLE TO KEEP IT UP!”)
While it’s true that the Rangers can jump the Devils for second-place in the division on Thursday night, and should things go right – maybe make a run at first-place too; at the end of the day, the ultimate goal is to stay 100% healthy.
And I think we saw a lot of that tonight – especially when it comes to the lack of blocked shots or fighting for loose pucks.
Put it this way – would you want to see any Ranger, whether it be a defenseman or forward, getting hurt after going the extra mile during a game where the home team quickly raced out to a 3-0 lead?
While these were my feelings when watching this game – my thoughts would later be confirmed during the post-game interviews, as Patrick Kane, Braden Schneider and Gerard Gallant said as much while using different words than yours truly.
Heck, Kane, who never minces words, admitted that the Rangers were more focused with what lies ahead rather than being invested with this lottery-bound Blue Jackets bunch – and where the third #88 of franchise history also said that the team was more interested with Thursday night’s game, in Newark, NJ – rather than this one played on Tuesday night at M$G.
And when you win by a final score of 6-2, where you never felt that the Rangers thought they’d lose this game – that’s okay.
As I’ve been saying for a while now, and as the players and head coach said following these two points gained – the big picture (the playoffs) – and where the smaller picture in comparison (the standings) – now look like this:
If you didn’t watch tonight’s game and just looked at the 6-2 final – then you’re led to believe that the Rangers made short work of their opponents.
While that’s somewhat true, what was 100% evident was CZAR IGOR’s dominance.
Similar to some recent games from this final leg of the season – it was the Rangers’ goaltender who did all of the heavy lifting early.
Once the heroics in net were complete – then, and only then, is when the Rangers kicked it into high gear.
Racing out to a quick 3-0 lead behind goals from Filip Chytil, Vladimir Tarasenko and Patrick Kane; Sam Rosen had enough – as he put both his toupee & two feet down – and then jinxed/willed a Columbus power-play goal into existence.
Following a Kirill “Not a Thrill” Marchenko’s power-play tally; now up 3-1, the Rangers’ two-goal margin was later reduced to a one-goal difference at the end of the first frame, as Johnny Gaudreau had scored with 29 seconds remaining.
Columbus would never score again – despite three more power-plays and two no-calls on their own infractions too.
A late Artemi Panarin power-play goal scored during the middle period, thus ending the powerless schneid, returned the Blueshirts’ lead to two goals.
Come the final frame, Panarin set-up Mika Zibanejad for a no-doubt-about-it one-timer, which regained the Rangers their previous three-goal advantage.
A Vincent Trocheck empty netter removed all doubt, and behind 28 saves from CZAR IGOR – the Rangers sealed the deal – and better than that – moved within two-points of second-place.
I thought tonight’s game was just another example of this team finding another way to win.
Maybe they got too reckless and laissez-faire with the early lead – but when it mattered most – the Rangers did their talking on the ice – said enough of this – and did what they were supposed to do – embarrass a weak opponent on home ice.
The true test takes place on Thursday night.
Before getting into the GAME REVIEW and the last regular season tilt between the Rangers & Devils; up first, the pregame news and notes – where we do have a lot to talk about – including opening the voting for this year’s Frank Boucher Trophy winner.
On Sunday, a day following sweeping their latest two-game mini road-trip, the team had the day off.
For yours truly, while it was my original intent to go back to working on my two latest book projects; instead, I found myself engrossed with “TED LASSO.”
Previously, I’ve seen rave reviews about this show, and since I just purchased an Apple+ subscription – I had to see what the hype was about – hype that was well earned!
And as sick as this sounds (but it tells you how good this show really is) – I’m now fully caught up with Mr. Lasso and his coaching exploits – but needless to say – he’s no Gerard Gallant – but Jason Sudeikis’ character does preach the “WORK HARD” message!
Another good show on “The Apple?” “The Reluctant Traveler with Eugene Levy.”
Away from streaming services and this unpaid advertisement for Apple; the following picture made its way to me on Sunday:
In-between watching Juno Temple (who I would associate with the number 69) stealing the screen, and “Ted Lasso” paying homage to “Major League” too; I scrolled through my Twitter feed, where the picture above was sent my way. I then shared this photo here:
— BlueCollarBlueShirts (@NYCTheMiC) March 26, 2023
Once tweeting that, I soon received a message from the owner of that jersey, Sam Miller.
Apparently, while attending the Rangers’ home game at M$G South (Sunrise, Florida) on Saturday, someone else was impressed with Miller’s threads – someone who knows Mr. Rosen (he does live in Florida) – and who shared him a photo of this custom-made jersey:
Met someone that knows sam Rosen, he responded during the game lol pic.twitter.com/DCeO1Fk8PV
— Sam Miller (@sammilla8) March 26, 2023
I know this isn’t truly a “story” – but I did get a kick out of this – hence me sharing it here!
And if someone ever wears a “VAGISTAT,” #40 jersey – then feel free to share a pic of it with me!
I also heard that “FABULOUS” Joe Micheletti road-white jerseys go for a pretty penny on eBay these days too!
Let’s switch gears for a minute and get into our next story.
While I haven’t brought up “Il Vagabondo” much on this site – I have brought up the restaurant in my Ranger history books – books which are all plugged at the end of this blog.
Last weekend, on March 18th, following the Rangers’ 6-0 blowout of the Pittsburgh Penguins; Ernest Vogliano Jr., the son of the famous restauranteur, died at M$G while trying to leave the venue.
I’ve scoured the internet for the best-sourced story regarding this tragedy. In my opinion, this was the most-balanced account: https://headlinereporter.com/2023/03/man-falls-3-escalator-flights-at-madison-square-garden-after-rangers-game/?utm_source=rm&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=em
I originally first saw this story in the NY Post – where the biggest paper in town tried to sell that Vogliano, 61-years-old, was riding the escalator rail down – as if he was a drunken frat boy. (And that’s why I’m not sharing the link here – if you want to read it – then you do the work.)
From what I know, the following:
1) The escalators at M$G are shut down following games, meaning that people have to walk down them. Plus, those escalators are packed – meaning that it’s hard to envision a 61-year-old man sliding down the rail, as if he was a teenage Zack Morris at “Bayside.”
2) Vogliano was a dear friend of someone who reads this site (and who has become a friend to me as well) – and a friend who told me that his buddy had knee issues – thus meaning that such an escape would be physically impossible.
3) M$G hasn’t been so forthcoming with the camera footage of the tragedy – and we all know about the abundance of cameras inside of the “World’s Most Expensive Arena.”
What I also didn’t like about the NY Post report (and this bothered me the most), was how they tried to tie-in James Dolan’s battle against the State Liquor Authority with this death.
While I think the intention was to bring up the many cameras at M$G, it also implied that alcohol could have been involved – without knowing so for a fact. (I do not know myself if alcohol was involved – but even so – M$G isn’t sharing any footage of what happened.)
Vogliano’s sad demise, and as you’d imagine, has created a lot of pain and questions for his friends and family – because with how tight those escalators are – how did he fall down three floors?
The investigation is on-going, and while the NYPD were praised for how they handled the situation in its immediate aftermath – M$G’s willingness to divulge information hasn’t been.
For M$G, which was also included in the lawsuit from last year, when an ossified (confirmed) Rangers’ fan cold-cocked and sucker-punched a Tampa Bay Lightning fan – they are trying to keep their name out of this story.
For friends and family of Vogliano – they are upset – not only because of their deep loss – but because Vogliano (and his family) have been associated with the Rangers for years – including season tickets and the many comped meals at their restaurants – where as mentioned – Rod Gilbert, prior to his passing, was a friend to the family.
Unfortunately, while sad accidents occur daily – and sometimes can’t be prevented either – it’s M$G’s response that’s in question right now.
RIP to Ernest Vogliano Jr. – and my condolences to his friends & family.
Let’s now try to return this blog back to hockey – and throw some light-hearted comedy in too.
Come Monday, and now back in Tarrytown, NY; the Rangers held a practice at their training facility.
While everything largely stayed the same; the big news was that Ryan Lindgren was back and skating with his teammates.
But of course, as mentioned on this site about 9867866796 times already, and as both Lindgren & Gallant would later do on Monday – it was reiterated that #55 won’t find himself back in the line-up until he’s 100%.
Here’s what Lindgren had to say following the skate:
Here was the “TURK TALK” from Monday:
I know this is redundant – but one more time for the people in the back – there’s really not much for Gallant to say right now, as the team gears up for the playoffs.
Gallant repeated that Lindgren won’t be rushed back, praised Trocheck for his ability to win faceoffs, mentioned that it would be tough to rest anyone because of the salary cap, and for good measure – also reiterated that he doesn’t care who the Rangers draw in the first-round of the playoffs.
Prior to tonight’s line-up and the GAME REVIEW – it’s that time of the year again – voting for this season’s Frank Boucher Trophy winner.
For previous winners and information on what this trophy is all about, check out my first book, “The New York Rangers Rink of Honor & The Rafters of Madison Square Garden,” or click this link for more: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/fb22/
This trophy, which was originally founded during the 1951-52 season (and later revived by yours truly – and with the blessing from both Boucher’s relatives and the president of the former fan club), is a pure popularity contest and honors the biggest fan favorite of the team.
Henrik Lundqvist, with seven wins, has won this trophy more than anyone else. Rod Gilbert has won the trophy five times, while Andy Bathgate, Mark Messier, Mike Richter and Mats Zuccarello have each won the hardware four times.
Last year featured co-winners, as both Chris Kreider & Igor Shesterkin won the award, marking the fourth time that the trophy was shared.
When I opened voting for this trophy last season, I received nearly 700 votes.
Perhaps we’ll surpass that total this season.
To vote, you can either sound off in the comments section, email me or reach out on social media, where then, and only then, will your vote be tabulated.
While the trophy is pretty much the equivalent of a high school class president race, as it is a popularity contest; here’s the criteria I usually use when coming up with a candidate and/or winner for the award:
— Fan reaction
— Jersey sales
— Worth of a player’s autograph
— Community service/charity work
— Bond with fans
— The featured face of Rangers marketing/advertising
—- Player ability/amount of times featured as one of the “three stars of the game.”
Due to the team’s success this season (and that isn’t always the case year-in & year-out – which you may be aware of by now!); there are a bunch of candidates who can win this year – and arguably – this could be the tightest race yet.
While you can vote for anyone, in my eyes, the top candidates this year are Mika Zibanejad, CZAR IGOR, Chris Kreider, Jacob Trouba, Artemi Panarin, Adam Fox and perhaps Ryan Lindgren too.
Sans Lindgren and Trouba, every other name listed above has previously won the trophy.
Voting ends on Sunday, April 9th, so get your votes in today!
With no mandated morning skate on Tuesday, come 5PM, Gallant held his daily pregame “TURK TALK” – where as expected – Ryan Lindgren was being withheld from the line-up and with CZAR IGOR back in net.
Of note, as I found the following to be interesting and worth mentioning:
On Monday, the Rangers were listed as -365 favorites to win this game. Once Gallant announced that CZAR IGOR would be starting, the line swelled up to -440 in some places – the highest number the Rangers have been favored all season.
That tells you how hot CZAR IGOR has been – and all about the state of the walking-wounded Blue Jackets too!
Here was the Rangers’ line-up from Tuesday 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
STARTING GOALIE: CZAR IGOR
BACK-UP GOALIE: THE HALAKNESS MONSTER
DAY-TO-DAY: Ryan Lindgren
PRESS BOX: “FLAT EARTH TURKERS,” people who are now proclaiming that the Rangers should have never traded Sammy Blais!
BOX SCORE time.
The following graphics and information come from ESPN.com:
Come 6:30:00PM, I tuned into the M$G Network. Once I saw that Sieve Vagistat was there by himself, and with all of his made-up data along for the ride; come 6:30:01PM, I tuned into the NHL Network.
Of note: M$G2 presented a different broadcast of this game, one featuring Michelle Gingras and that methed-up guy from the M$G gambling show that usually proceeds Ranger broadcasts.
I didn’t watch a lick of it – but I did think it was telling that M$GN’s focus (and additional expenses) was spent on presenting a three-hour broadcast dedicated to gambling (live television ain’t cheap) – rather than making other improvements and fixes.
I’m also sure that other networks will soon follow suit, as these paid shills continue to demand their marks to part with the green paper in their wallets.
At around 7:00PM, I returned to M$GN, where Sam Rosen didn’t say, although I was hoping for it:
“OH JOE, EVANDER KANE AND THE RANGERS ARE LOOKING TO WIN THREE IN A ROW JOE!”
Instead of that, Rosen explained what that new little x-mark next to the Rangers’ name in the standings means, where I was also surprised that he didn’t say:
“OH JOE, THAT’S AN X-MARK NEXT TO THE RANGERS’ NAME JOE! THAT MEANS THEY FOUND THE PIRATE’S MAP TO THE HIDDEN TREASURE JOE! WE’RE ALL CAESARS JOE!”
Once again, I thought Rosen’s partner, Joe Micheletti, was a little bit more on the ball and possessed better faculties.
“THE FABULOUS ONE” brought up how the Rangers’ mission was to stay healthy, and now, with a playoff spot officially clinched – it was also about entering the postseason on a roll.
“JUMPIN’ JOE” then praised Vladimir Tarasenko and then said that he felt that Patrick Kane, acquired three weeks after the Blue became a Blueshirt, is now starting to find his groove.
Both “rentals” would later score tonight.
Give a “W” to Micheletti!
Following Micheletti’s remarks, Rosen did the usual – he fawned over an opponent – where on this night – Boone Jenner was the apple of his eye.
Jenner would later assist on the late Blue Jackets back-breaking goal.
GAME REVIEW TIME!
While I doubt this fact will be omitted from all headlines and recounts of this game; let’s say it here too – CZAR IGOR dominated early – which once again – allowed his team to pour salt in the wound after being peppered.
And oh, before continuing?
As noted above – I did expect/predict a Rangers’ touchdown blowout tonight.
The reason for that?
Easy – Columbus entered this game in the same fashion as Nashville did nine nights ago, as many of their stars (or what’s left of them, including both Patrik Laine and starting goalie Elvis Merzlikins) were out.
And just like that game against the Preds – I didn’t recognize some of the names that were included in the Blue Jackets’ line-up either.
While the Rangers’ skaters started off slow, and where defense was also optional – the same couldn’t be said about CZAR IGOR.
Just 29 ticks in and CZAR IGOR already had the first save on his ledger – a robbery save on Boqvist from the paint. All five skaters, the ATM line and Fox & Mikkola, watched the 2022 Vezina Trophy winner do his thing.
No less than twenty seconds later – and with the second line and the Miller/Trouba pairing on the ice – they did the same.
Following Igor’s pair of denials, and where I’m not exaggerating – a lesser goalie and it’s a 2-0 Rangers’ deficit – Kreider tested Hutchinson – a save for the former Colorado netminder.
At the 2:17 mark, that all-too-familiar sound returned, as a Mikkola blast from the blue line, which Tyler Motte deflected, hit the post.
That was our first of five <DINGS> from this contest.
No less than thirty seconds later, another stellar showing from the Human Highlight Goaltending Reel:
— Hockey Daily 365 l NHL Highlights (@HockeyDaily365) March 28, 2023
And where yes – if you rack up the Rangers’ <DING> to just some bad luck – then very easily – the visitors could have been up on the scoreboard, 3-0.
Instead, it was the home team that would go up by a trio of tallies.
Following Sam Rosen telling us everything that he knows about new CBJ, Billy Sweezey, including the name of his second grade teacher; the affable announcer tried to read-out the Rangers’ schedule, where he was reading the days of the week as if he was Apollonia Vitelli-Corleone from “The Godfather.”
“OH JOE, MONDAY, TUESDAY, THURSDAY, WEDNESDAY, FRIDAY, SUNDAY, SATURDAY JOE! I CAN SPEAK ENGLISH JOE!”
Joe’s response: “SAM, NO!”
Come the 5:00 mark, Fox attempted another FOX TROT, but this time, the 2021 Norris Trophy winner was hooked as he went to the net – a crisis averted for Hutchinson – and the first no-call from the bums in stripes.
The Rangers wouldn’t be denied.
Just 23 seconds later (the irony in that number); the Blueshirts continued their attack, where by the end of it, “CHYTILMANIA,” now returned to starring on Broadway, scored the first goal of the game:
Fil doing what Fil DOES!! pic.twitter.com/hBZefaRvVj
— Rangers on MSG (@RangersMSGN) March 28, 2023
1-0, GOOD GUYS!
This goal, the end result of a loose puck/broken play, saw Chytil get the rubber on his blade, show off his hands, and with a defender on him – the Czech said “checkmate,” as #72 made his final move and swept the puck past Hutchinson.
Chytil seems to have his confidence back – and without Emily Kaplan around to see it!
Lafreniere and Miller were credited with the assists, as these two, along with Chytil himself, continue to set new career-scoring highs.
But hey, “THE KULT OF KRAVTSOV” told me that “GALLANT DOZN’T NOSE WUT HE’Z DOIN,” am I right?
No less than ninety seconds later, it was Tarasenko’s turn:
TARASENKO tips it in!!!
Rangers with early lead 2-0 pic.twitter.com/xidAgb3QX5
— Rangers on MSG (@RangersMSGN) March 28, 2023
2-0, GOOD GUYS, as VT91 perfectly deflected a Schneider attempt right past Hutchinson – and a shot that the opposing goalie never had a chance on – much like Appollonia entering that Italian car!
And yep, I know I’ve said it before, but what’s one more time – I don’t think we’ve seen the best of VLADDY DADDY yet – as I think his best moments are still to come – as he “sons” Ranger opponents during the playoffs.
Following the goal, and since it’s “THE RANGERS’ WAY” (trademark still pending); CZAR IGOR had to come up with a hell of a save himself, as he made another one of his BESSIE glove saves with 12:38 remaining.
After the stop, and with a d-zone faceoff in the Rangers’ end; one of these no-name Ohioans hit the post.
Not to be outdone, Kane, with a back-hander, then hit the post with 12:10 remaining. He’d redeem himself ten seconds later with this top-shelf job:
Kane makin’ it loook EASY🔥
Rangers with the 3-0 lead pic.twitter.com/jut2L3pYyj
— Rangers on MSG (@RangersMSGN) March 28, 2023
3-0, GOOD GUYS – and at just the eight-minute mark.
Kane’s linemates, Kreider and Trocheck, were also credited with the helpers.
At this point of the game, and we’ve seen this before whenever with a big lead – the Rangers held back a bit.
While defense was never their strong suit tonight; they really stopped protecting CZAR IGOR here.
Again, whether it was the lead, focusing on New Jersey, not wanting to tire themselves out or perhaps wanting to go for more goals so they could rest a bit during the final forty minutes – either way – CBJ was able to pop-off the next two goals of the game.
Following a failed clear, where an errant puck hit the back of Motte’s skates at the Rangers’ blue line; CZAR IGOR made another save with 10:50 remaining.
A minute later, Panarin tried to hook-up with DJ MIKA for a one-timer – but the DJ couldn’t record a goal here. That wouldn’t be the case later on.
Down to 8:42 remaining, Chris Kreider took his first of two o-zone penalties, where on this occasion, he interfered with Jake Christiansen while behind CZAR IGOR’s net.
This was a pretty stupid penalty to take, all things considered, including the lead.
And while I know there are a sub-sect of Ranger fans, that for whatever reason, want Kreider sent to the gallows after any gaffe – I’m not one of them.
However, I can say that he had a poor game tonight.
In a way, he was the anti-Lafreniere – and I’ll explain that comment in just a bit.
Columbus, now down by three, had the first power-play of the game.
Immediately, and I’m talking nanoseconds here, Sam “THE MUSH” Rosen ran down every stat in the world, lit some sage and did everything in his power to jinx the Rangers’ red-hot penalty kill, including when he said, and I’m quoting him verbatim here:
“Well Joe, the Rangers’ penalty kill is perfect, and oh wait, Marchenko scores Joe. That ends that.”
The second those words escaped the mouth of the Hall of Fame announcer (and where it’s my belief that the HOF should wait to induct announcers until they retire) – BOOM – Marchenko put Columbus on the board.
3-1, good guys.
Now returned to full-strength and with 7:39 remaining; CZAR IGOR had to come up with another gutsy save.
A minute later, Panarin almost set-up Rangers’ goal number four – but no dice.
It should be mentioned that at this time, the Rangers had scored three goals on fourteen shots.
In their previous two games, the Rangers finished each first period with only three shots on goal.
Not too shabby!
Following Trocheck going wide; back in the other end, CZAR IGOR bailed out Kane after another turnover, and with 4:40 left to be played.
Once returned from a TV timeout, Rosen gushed all over Marchenko, an opponent who had scored, rather than raving about Tarasenko, a Ranger, who had also previously scored.
The Rosen and M$GN way.
With 4:10 left, Roslovic hit the crossbar, as each team were now up to two <DINGS>.
Come 3:32 remaining, Mikkola, an absolute force these days, took a long distance shot, and as Zibanejad was going for the deflection – he was hooked by Boqvist instead.
This gave the Rangers their first power-play, where a Mika-to-Kreider connection produced another <DING>.
Up 3-1 on the scoreboard, 3-2 in the <DING> game too.
The power-play didn’t do much of anything else, so following these two minutes, each special team was now 0-1.
Approaching under a minute left to be played, and as Sam was raving about Johnny “HOCKEY” Gaudreau – you know the deal.
Down to 28.1 seconds remaining, and following several failed attempts at clearing the puck – BOOM – the former Flame, now in anonymity, found himself all alone with CZAR IGOR – and then quickly disposed of the goalie on a shot that #31 had no shot on himself.
3-2, good guys.
That’s how we remained come the horn.
Here’s what I said at the time:
3-2, GOOD GUYS, after 20. 1P Thoughts:
— Wacky first period, blowout turns into a buttclencher
— Sloppy D
— Iron Men, 3 dings for NYR, 2 for CBJ
— SOG 17-12, Hits 8-6 #NYR, FOs, and this is telling, 18-6 #CBJ
— PP needs work
— KTF and LGR!
— BlueCollarBlueShirts (@NYCTheMiC) March 28, 2023
I don’t know if proudly opining that the Rangers played better defense here is true – but they did stop some of the bleeding – as CZAR IGOR only had to face ten shots – and where not many of these eventual saves were as tough as they were during the first twenty minutes of action.
Following Rosen asking his usual question of, “SECOND PERIOD, WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR HERE JOE?,” where I was hoping Micheletti’s response would be, “A SOCK FOR YOUR MOUTH SAM;” we returned to play.
Of note: Micheletti would later tell Sam to shut up – and as I’ll bring up once we get there!
During the first fifty seconds, CZAR IGOR came up with a pair of saves, his hardest of the period, and where Micheletti was absolutely (and understandably) irate about all of the action that the goalie was seeing.
The Rangers would get back on track – but they too had trouble with scoring.
Just 1:50 in, a Kane pass intended for Miller, which would’ve been a backdoor goal, was broken up by an unobservant Kreider.
Down to 16:40 remaining, Chytil forced a turnover in the neutral zone and then led the first of many long third line attacks of this period – and really – for the remainder of the match.
During the fourth line’s first shift of the period, and the only line who didn’t score a goal tonight – Goodrow was stopped by Hutchinson’s elbow – a lucky save.
Following two chances for the visitors, as Miller broke up a CBJ 2 x 1 odd-man rush, which was then followed by a Jenner blast that left splinters on the boards; down to 14:37 remaining, Trocheck tripped Mr. Hockey at the blue line.
For the next two minutes, Rosen raved about the Columbus power-play. CZAR IGOR then made two saves while Rosen was in fellatio mode, thus killing the road-team’s man-advantage.
Now back to full-strength, the third line went on the attack again, where all three young guns were denied – but it wasn’t for a lack of trying.
As we entered the half-way mark of the period/game, I tweeted the following:
You just feel that another #NYR goal will open the floodgates – or at least I do
— BlueCollarBlueShirts (@NYCTheMiC) March 29, 2023
Once again, another prognostication from the realm of the EYE TEST would defeat the almighty evil known as ANALytics – as the Rangers would then pump in the final three scores of the game.
The Rangers had a few chances to score prior to receiving their second power-play of the game.
The third line had another odd-man rush, but the Finn put too much sauce on his pass to the Czech.
Come 7:17 remaining, Kane had Kreider set-up on a tee – but again, Kreider, who arguably had his worst game of the season tonight – couldn’t finish. Had this been a play from last year – then CK52 would’ve buried this pass.
A minute later, the fourth line and Miller pressed the issue, but Hutchinson and his horse-shoe up his five-hole shined.
Sixty seconds after that, two more saves from Hutch, as he prevented the #8 and #79 pairing from scoring.
It was around this time where Rosen was going on-and-on about every player that’s ever played at the University of Michigan (without ever talking about what was happening in front of him) – and where he sounded like he was wearing those Wolverine claws while doing so.
Micheletti’s poignant response? “Sam, will you just shut up already?”
Truer words have never been spoken.
Following Rosen’s refusal to call the game, and Micheletti putting him in his place – a REVERSE CURSE – as with 2:54 remaining – once again, there was the third line, who this time, drew a penalty – as Lafreniere was tripped by Hunter McKown as he was driving towards the net.
Just thirty seconds into the power-play – the wattage returned:
IT’S A POWER PLAY GOALLL!! THE BREADMAN! pic.twitter.com/WVbFza3XRu
— Rangers on MSG (@RangersMSGN) March 29, 2023
4-2, GOOD GUYS, as “The Breadman” baked again – another snipe – following a picture-perfect pass from Fox.
Remember when I said that Kreider was the anti-Lafreniere tonight?
At this point of the game, Kreider had taken a horrible penalty which then led to a CBJ PPG.
While that was going on, Lafreniere had drawn a penalty, which then led to a NYR PPG.
But don’t get it twisted – you can’t live-and-die by one game.
Kreider had an off-night. Lafreniere had an on-night.
Let’s hope that both players, and everyone else on the team, has a lot of great nights come the playoffs.
But since it’s “THE RANGERS’ WAY” – more drama as we approached the end of the period.
Following two saves from CZAR IGOR, including a ski mask save on Boqvist; with just fifty seconds remaining – “The Phantom at the Garden.”
Allegedly and supposedly, during this rare sighting of Panarin actually playing defense – #10 had successfully stripped Boqvist of the puck at the Blueshirts’ blue line – but before the Russian could make a drive on the Hutchinson Parkway – the officials found their whistle – and then assessed the 2023 All-Star with tripping.
This was not a penalty at all.
This was a “keep the game close” call – and how timely – especially with a M$GN gambling simulcast taking place!
The Rangers, in an example of “PUCK DON’T LIE,” then dominated the penalty kill.
4-2, GOOD GUYS, through forty.
Here’s what I said at the time:
4-2, GOOD GUYS, after 40:
— Wouldn’t say the defense was that much better, but they up the score.
— SOG 29-22 #NYR; Hits 11-9, FOs 26-15 CBJ
— Good to see the PP get off the schneid
— We’ve seen six goals – easily could’ve seen double digits with the chances & iron.
— BlueCollarBlueShirts (@NYCTheMiC) March 29, 2023
With 1:10 left on the PK – the Rangers took complete control.
Mika won the opening draw, Mikkola almost scored a shorty – and alas, Kreider, while on a breakaway, lost the puck as he was about to put on the finishing touches.
But still – the PK had done their job.
However, no less than a minute later – Kreider was boxed again – following another o-zone penalty – this time for high-sticking Boqvist.
While this was a penalty – it would’ve been nice to see Zibanejad receive as much attention as Boqvist garnered – as he was repeatedly hooked and held all game.
CZAR IGOR made three saves during this kill, and as a result, the Blueshirts’ penalty kill finished 3-4 on the night.
As the two second lines traded chances; now with each first line on the ice – Zibanejad was blatantly held with 12:50 remaining. Another no call.
Come 11:09 left on the clock – CZAR IGOR made his best save of this frame – as he absolutely robbed Roslovic again.
CZAR IGOR, always one for the flair and swag, knew that a TV timeout was coming after the freeze. As a result, he flashed the glove on this puck – and then threw it away – as if he were a fan sitting in centerfield throwing back an opposing homerun ball.
Who doesn’t like some showmanship every now and again?
Returned from the TV timeout, Rosen did everything in his power to jinx the Rangers here – but thankfully – that didn’t play out.
For whatever reason, Rosen then started talking about the Golden Knights – and didn’t know who their head coach was.
Once again, Micheletti had to cover-up for his partner, and remind senile Sammy that Bruce Cassidy – and not Pete DeBoer – was behind the Sin City bench.
Needless to say – these last two games haven’t been very good for Rosen – who continues to diminish his legacy with each passing game/day.
And if you’re new here – NO – I do not want him to retire.
I’ll miss Rosen, and all of the unintentional comedy that he provides (especially the comedic relief/blog fodder that he brings on a daily basis), once he finally settles down in Florida once-and-for-all.
Ben Harpur, who once again, continues to excel, had two consecutive shifts where he stood out as we got under ten minutes to go.
On his first of these two shifts, he set up Chytil in the slot, but CBJ were able to break up the shot attempt.
Then, with nearly six minutes remaining, the steakhouse, and maybe a law-firm too, known as Trey Fix-Wolansky, tried to get cute with CZAR IGOR following another save. Harpur immediately responded, and with both TFW and Jenner draped on him – he fought both of them off – and if he wanted to – could’ve fought off the two zebras trying to hold him back too!
Did this act of aggressiveness inspire the Rangers?
Who knows, but what we do know, is that with 5:33 remaining, Panarin & Mika teamed-up for goal number five:
Mika March ISN’T OVER!!! pic.twitter.com/0qxXjVSwZO
— Rangers on MSG (@RangersMSGN) March 29, 2023
5-2, GOOD GUYS!
What. A. Goal.
On this play, Panarin went to the slot, faked out everyone as every CBJ went towards him – and BOOM – #10 found #93 for his 38th goal of the season, as DJ MIKA easily pumped in this no-brainer one-timer.
With 4:04 remaining, and now down by three – Columbus pretty much said what’s the difference if we lose by three or four goals – which I’m sure set off the people working the M$GN gambling broadcast – especially the ones who took the under of -7.5.
Hutchinson would only sit on the bench for seventeen seconds – as BOOM – following a strong defensive play from Fox – NONNA’S BAMBINO sailed a puck from deep into the empty net.
6-2, GOOD GUYS!
The only thing left to note after this goal was that with just thirty seconds remaining, Kane had Kreider set-up again – but you already know the final score.
6-2, GOOD GUYS, your final!
While I don’t think that the Rangers ever took Columbus seriously, which is more about the playoffs than any disrespect for their opponent intended – they still won by four goals – and yep, this too – without CZAR IGOR – then it’s a different game – but perhaps a game that the skaters make more of a defensive attempt in.
Here’s your favorite coach and mine, Gerard Gallant, following the big two points netted:
Gallant, as his players would do, talked about reality – maybe the team was focused on Thursday – and that’s fine – especially since they didn’t fall into this “trap game.”
Up next: Rangers vs Devils for the fourth-and-final time this season.
The Devils currently lead the season-series, 2-1. However, a split would put the Rangers into second-place – and I think you know what I’m rooting for (besides a 4-0 final) – a big Blueshirts win!
And while what I’m writing all comes from a Rangers’ perspective – let’s not forget that the Devils badly want these two-points as well – especially after choking away first-place earlier this season – and now with the risk of dropping to third-place too.
In a way, this could be the final “toughest test” for the Rangers during this regular season.
Following Thursday night, where they’ll only have seven games left; the Rangers only have two games remaining with playoff-bound teams.
The Rangers will see their recent nemesis, the Lightning, on April 5th – which takes place prior to a two-day break.
After that, the Blueshirts, in their home finale and in game 82 of the season, will host the Maple Leafs – who by that point – may be resting all of their starters – especially should they have second-place in the Atlantic Division all locked-up.
But as Gallant always says – “ONE GAME AT A TIME.”
Two points on Thursday night will do too!
On Monday night, our buddies over at “The Blueshirt Underground Show” returned with a new episode.
To check it out, click the play button below:
Following The BSU Show, later on Monday night, our pals over at “2 Guys 1 Cup” returned with their 75th episode – a “Ryan Reaves” edition!
To check it out, click the link below:
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:
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/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
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
If you haven’t already, subscribe to this blog for the next update:
Don’t forget to order my recently released 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.
LET’S GO RANGERS!
@NYCTHEMIC on the Tweeter machine