NYR/MIN 3/8 Review: Rangers Look Mild vs. Wild; Perhaps Georgiev’s Last Game as a Ranger (And Why That’s a Possibility), Homecoming Ruined, “Glass Half Full” – Igor Boosts Hart Bid; Rangers Maintain Second-Place, M$GN, Talbot & More

It’s been a question for a while, and with the trade deadline soon approaching, the question still burns – “have we seen Alexandar Georgiev’s last game as a New York Ranger?”

Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. That was ugly.

On Tuesday night, the Rangers dropped a 5-2 decision to the Minnesota Wild – a stinker of a game if there ever was one.

Except for one minute out of sixty, the Blueshirts never looked to have a chance of winning this contest. That’s rarely been the case this season – which is a fact (as opposed to an opinion), and a fact that shouldn’t be ignored.

For the team (and the fans too), you have to forget this game and move on – especially since the Rangers didn’t go with their best possible line-up tonight – which in turn, is the number one story in all of Rangerstown, USA.

It should be stated before continuing here, that while Alexandar Georgiev will be the lede story everywhere you go (and rightfully so); at the same time, the Rangers didn’t play well at all. To solely blame the back-up goaltender is the work of a fool.

And let’s get this out of the way too – yours truly, nor anyone else, needs to be reminded that Alexandar Georgiev is not CZAR IGOR. Eye test fan or analytical fan – we can all agree on that.

What once looked to be true during the back-half of the 2019-20 season, is anything but that today. Photo Credit: Aaron Davis (RIP)

Quite frankly, NO GOALIE IN THE NHL IS CZAR IGOR, the same #31 that had his candidacy for the Hart Trophy boosted tonight, due to Georgiev’s mediocre performance.

If you’re a regular reader of this site, then you know that I’m an “EYE-TEST” fan. I don’t need charts to tell me what I already know. I also don’t need heat-maps and graphs which illustrate that CZAR IGOR is a better goalie than Georgiev either.

For you hardcore Ranger fans who watch all of these games too – I don’t need to give you all of the numbers here. You already know that CZAR IGOR is having a historic season in his role as the starting goaltender; while conversely, Georgiev is unable to adapt to his role as “back-up goaltender.”

It really goes without saying (but I guess I’ll say it anyway!), that ever since CZAR IGOR returned from his groin injury, and his brief stint on the COVID-19 list too – Georgiev’s performances have been worse game-by-game.

As we all know by now, while Georgiev had a good stretch of games when he knew he’d be playing game-in and game-out; once CZAR IGOR returned, that was that. I’ll get into this later tonight, but while Georgiev is a “victim” of Shestyorkin’s success – what else is Gerard Gallant supposed to do? Cater to Georgiev at the expense of the team?

In fact, after the game, Gallant, who had every right to go into John Tortorella mode and say “we sucked, good night;” defended Georgiev a bit. However, after doing so, the head coach also said that he has to do what’s best for the team – and not do what’s best for just one player. Obviously, this is the right course of action.


My first horrible Georgiev photoshop picture, which was made during the 2017-18 season.

Ever since Alexandar Georgiev first came to New York, I’ve been a fan of the undrafted free agent. Maybe I have a soft spot for players who were passed over during NHL Entry Drafts, only to work hard and then make it to the show. In fact, I know I do. I can admit that.

For years on this site, and through thick-and-thin, I have praised Georgiev. You can just check the archives of this site for the proof.

Don’t let tonight’s blog header photo fool you either, as these photos are always exaggerations, and admittedly, designed to get a laugh out of you too – I still think Georgiev is a good goaltender.

However, while I’m probably the last fan of the Rangers fan base to say so; I must also admit the inevitable and undeniable – it’s time for the Bulgarian Beast to have a change of scenery. What’s happening today is not good for anyone.

Barring something catastrophic happening to CZAR IGOR (and perish that thought), there’s just no place for Georgiev with the Rangers. Not this version of #40 anyway.

I’ve talked about this so many times on this site before, but tonight’s 5-2 loss to the Wild was another glaring example, if not the final example, of the following – the Rangers need a true back-up goaltender, a back-up goaltender who doesn’t mind playing every 2-3 weeks. Georgiev, who wants to be a starting goaltender (and he should have that desire at his age), is just not going to be that guy with the Rangers.


When Georgiev was playing well, he started to split time with Henrik Lundqvist in net. By the time the 2019-2020 season was cut short, Georgiev was leading the team in starts and wins. However, come the 2020 playoff bubble, he was passed over for both the over-the-hill Henrik Lundqvist and his true successor – CZAR IGOR.

I brought this up a few months ago, because it’s the best example of what I’m trying to illustrate here.

When Eddie Giacomin first got into his groove, prior to the 1969-70 season, Emile Francis went out and signed the legendary Terry Sawchuk to back him up. At the time, Sawchuk was at the end of his career and only wanted to play sparingly. The split worked out perfectly, as Giacomin continued his rise in the NHL, while Sawchuk was still able to receive a paycheck.

Then, following Sawchuk’s tragic death in May of 1970; the Rangers finally promoted long-time AHLer Gilles Villemure.

While Villemure was perhaps born ten years too early (if he was born ten years later, he would’ve been a starting goalie in a twelve-team league, when the NHL had their “Great Expansion” in 1967, with only more teams to be added to the fold during the ensuing years) – the former #30 also didn’t mind ceding starts to Giacomin either.

Of course, while Villemure loved playing hockey – horse racing was perhaps his first love. Not only was he always seen with a “Daily Racing Form” at his locker – he was a jockey at various trotter races too.

Whether it was Sawchuk or Villemure, it didn’t matter – both accepted their role with the team. And while Villemure would eventually split the net with Giacomin (both would share the Vezina trophy in 1971), those Emile Francis era of Rangers always featured Giacomin as the face of the franchise – even with the GAG line and Brad Park on the roster.

Fast-forward fifty years later, and the Rangers of 2021-22 are kind of in the same situation – they need a tired-and-true proven back-up goalie, where that back-up is just satisfied to play every now-and-again. That’s just not who Georgiev is, and that’s his right.

Maybe that’s who Keith Kinkaid could be. Maybe Chris Drury eyes the market, and thinks that someone is a Thomas Greiss, a Jaroslav Halak or a Braden Holtby.

What we know for a fact is this – it’s not a player that Georgiev can be.


The once Islander killer has been getting killed himself in net, ever since CZAR IGOR returned to the team. And prior to Igor’s injury – Georgiev wasn’t faring that much better either.

I guess what I’m getting at, while being long-winded, is this: I’m not on the “GEORGIEV SUCKS” bandwagon. Far from it. However, I am on the “IT’S TIME FOR A CHANGE” bandwagon.

If you go back and read every game review that’s been posted on this site during Georgiev’s losing streak, I pretty much say the same thing – “he just needs a chance.” After tonight’s game, I think his chances should be up. It’s just not working out.

I don’t blame Georgiev for every goal allowed. In fact, he made some good saves tonight. However, as we all know, goalies, especially after losses, are more remembered for the bad goals that they give up – rather than for the good saves that they made.

I think this much is known, and what we can all agree on is this – this is Georgiev’s last season as a Ranger.

Between his own desire to receive more playing time (don’t forget, he told Rangers management that he was open to being traded prior to the season, although he never demanded such a request), his status as a pending free agent, and his performance from this season – there will be another player backing up CZAR IGOR next season.

However, it may be time to jump-start that process, and find a new back-up for CZAR IGOR now.

(And here’s a prediction for you – there will be a point next season, where we all ask, “HOW COME GEORGIEV DIDN’T PLAY LIKE THIS FOR US LAST SEASON?!?!?!)


Georgiev has had many good moments for the Rangers, but I feel the sand is at the end of the hour glass for him.

I know this all sounds like I’m writing Georgiev’s epitaph as a New York Ranger, and maybe I am.

That said, who knows?

Maybe Drury does keep Georgiev around for the end of the season, and rather than trading him at the deadline – the general manager waits until the 2022 NHL Entry Draft to do so. It’s definitely a possible scenario.

However, as someone who has been pumping the air in Georgiev’s tires from day one, and all the way until tonight – I just think, that like a bad relationship, it’s time to call it quits.

There doesn’t need to be any smack-talking or any warring of the words neither – the Rangers and Georgiev just need a clean break. It’s just not working out.

In a way, Georgiev has become the “black sheep” of this current roster.

It’s evident, and even if it’s not all of Georgiev’s fault, that the team plays differently in front of him. For all of the third period comebacks that the Rangers have this season, rarely are these comebacks made with #40 in net.

Furthermore, you can see that Georgiev’s confidence is long gone. He’s just not the same player he once was. This bad rash of games is obviously eating him alive, as if these games are a 1,000 pound flesh-sucking mosquito.

And if you believe in conspiracy theories (I don’t subscribe to them) – Georgiev’s body language and reactions, especially after CZAR IGOR wins, aren’t exactly that inspiring and uplifting either.

Yes, it’s human nature, especially for competitive athletes, to root for the person ahead of you to fail. It’s the nature of the beast. In a way, it’s Darwinism. Simply said – everyone wants the opportunity to become a star. Many athletes have publicly admitted this over the years.

For a comparison, do you think Jonny Brodzinski and/or Timothy Gettinger, are rooting for Greg McKegg to return and take their spot? Heck, throw McKegg out of it. Do you think Dryden Hunt is rooting for Kaapo Kakko to come back and reclaim his spot on the second line? I don’t think so.


Georgiev, who first wore #90 at the time of his NHL debut, will be elsewhere next season.

To wrap-up on this (at least for now), trying to force Georgiev into starts isn’t doing anyone any type of good right now, that is – except for the opponent.

How many times can the Rangers keep on waiting for Georgiev to catch-on as a back-up goalie, only to get burnt, and then burnt again?

Georgiev’s numbers are becoming so horrific, that I wouldn’t be surprised to see Netflix green-light a horror movie starring them. His GAA is starting to rival the insane prices for gasoline across America. And his save percentage numbers are shrinking so low, that even Mats Zuccarello is taller than them.

From the start of the season, and even as recent as Georgiev’s last start – I have campaigned that it’s probably best to keep Georgiev as an insurance policy, and then deal him at the draft. Now, and despite what Gallant may have said tonight – I think it’s just time to move on, and where I no receive no pleasure in saying any of this.

The Rangers, who still maintained their second-place status as a result of the Pittsburgh Penguins losing on Tuesday night too, are still very much alive for first-place in the division. And if they can’t catch the Carolina Hurricanes – having home ice against the Penguins during the first-round of the playoffs would only serve them well.

Sometimes, losing streaks are a slump that can be overcome. They can be fluky. However, Georgiev’s recent stretch of games (where I must stress again, aren’t solely on him), are a trend. It’s even become the status-quo.

To paraphrase Bill Parcells, “your numbers are what you are.” For the Rangers, they can’t keep trotting out Georgiev every night and then give up two points in the standings.

Contrarians may say, “well the Rangers can’t just rely on CZAR IGOR.” If that’s your belief, so be it. I won’t argue.

However, come the playoffs, the Rangers will be relying on CZAR IGOR, the greatest goaltender in all of the NHL today. It’s just my opinion that they need to rely on someone else, during the next 4-5 starts this season that a back-up goaltender will make.

To simplify – these “automatic” losses, whenever Georgiev starts, needs to cease to exist.

Let’s get into the NEWS, followed by everything else, including the GAME REVIEW.


Whenever Georgiev’s time with the Rangers concludes; I’ll always remember how great he was against the Islanders.

Following the Rangers victory over the Jets on Sunday night, the team traveled to Minnesota on Monday, where they took an afternoon practice skate. After the practice, head coach Gerard Gallant met with the media. Here is his press conference:


Gallant, who as usual, raved about his players; also specifically praised Mika Zibanejad, K’Andre Miller and CZAR IGOR by name.

On CZAR IGOR’s historic season, “The Turk” said:

“I get a little frustrated at times, even when we win, because the more shots he gets the better he is.

He is comfortable with how his game is playing. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want 42 shots, 27-28 would be perfect, a good number to get to, but I just think the guy is confident and he gets his work and he’s focused on every shot.

I have no issue with us winning hockey games and him playing great. The only issue I got is some of those breakaways, we are giving up too many breakaways at times, too many real Grade A chances in a couple of games, but for the most part, Igor has just been solid. Our goaltending all year has been leading our group.”

Gallant, on Igor’s workload, and if it should be lessened, said:

“Tired from what? [Gallant said this with a smile on his face.]

What does he need a day off for? He can take practice off any time he wants, just like any of my players. They are tired and come in and say ‘coach, I’m not going to go on,’ just like I didn’t go on today. If you don’t feel good, don’t go on the ice. But we manage our goalies, he hasn’t played a whole lot of games.

As good as he’s played, how many games has he played right now? It’s not like he’s been busy, he had a couple of weeks off when he got hurt, we had a nice break, our whole week, for 14-15 days I think he’s played 5-6 games since then. He’s not going to play every game, trust me. He’ll be fine.”

On managing his goaltenders moving forward, the head coach responded with:

“We’re in a good position, Georgie is going to play and we’re going to do what is right for him. Me and Benny [Allaire] talk all the time and we talk with Dru [general manager Chris Drury] and this is the pattern we are going to take. We have 26 games left, he’s going to play some of them, Georgie is going to play some of them and we’ll go from there, but we’re not one bit worried about him [Igor] overplaying, that is not going to happen. It’s not going to happen.”

As far as the NHL trade deadline goes, Gallant gave the smart and expected answer:

“No, I just coach the team and he’ll [Drury] tell me if something happens.”


A day later, following the Rangers morning skate in Minnesota, where both Morgan Barron and Libor Hajek took extra reps (which meant that they’d most likely be scratched for the tilt), Gallant said that Alexandar Georgiev would be starting the contest.

Here’s Gallant’s press conference following the practice:


Apparently, and as noted – Gallant was aware of CZAR IGOR’s workload.

As a reminder, I have no problem with what the head coach decides. After all, he knows the game and his team better than I do.

That said, going into this road-trip, you had to figure that Georgiev would start either the second or third game of the trip. After watching the future ’22 Vezina winner stop 46 shots on Sunday, where following the game, CZAR IGOR admitted that he was tired a bit after the second period – it made sense to go with Georgiev here.

Gallant, on the decision, also said that Georgiev’s lack of playing time this season wasn’t fair, and wanted to give #40 less time off in-between starts. Previously (and due to the two-week All-Star vacation too), Georgiev had to wait a month in-between his last two starts – which is not an ideal situation for a goalie who is at this best when he’s playing regularly.

As I know, as you know, and as everyone else in the world knows – if there’s any “victim” in regards to CZAR IGOR’s historic season – it’s Georgiev. However, what else is “The Turk” supposed to do? He has to play CZAR IGOR as much as possible.

As far as anything else, Gallant teased using a line-up of eleven forwards and seven defensemen again, but after winking at the media, then said – “I wouldn’t write that right now.”


Here’s what “The Turk” went with for this “Lou Nanne Cup” game:

FIRST LINE: Kreider/Mika/Lafreniere (Reaves would replace Lafreniere on this line towards the end of the second period.)

SECOND LINE: Panarin/Strome/Hunt

THIRD LINE: Goodrow/Chytil/Gauthier

FOURTH LINE: Barron/Brodzinski/Reaves

Defensively, we had this:

FIRST D-PAIR: Lindgren/Fox

SECOND D-PAIR: Miller/Trouba

THIRD D-PAIR: Nemeth/Schneider

And in net, the BULGARIAN BEAST, Alexandar Georgiev.


BOX SCORE time.

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

SCORING:

PENALTIES:

TEAM STATS:

GOALIES:

MIN
SA
GA
SV
SV%
ESSV
PPSV
SHSV
SOSA
SOS
TOI
PIM
25 2 23 .920 23 0 0 0 0 60:00 0

 

NYR
SA
GA
SV
SV%
ESSV
PPSV
SHSV
SOSA
SOS
TOI
PIM
28 5 23 .821 22 0 1 0 0 60:00 0

No one was a bigger fan (and I still am) of Cam Talbot than me. Leave it to “THE GOALBUSTER” to defeat the Rangers twice this season. Photo Credit: NYR

In a game featuring the best back-up goaltender of the Henrik Lundqvist era in Cam Talbot, and perhaps the third-best one in Alexandar Georgiev (second-best would be Antti Raanta); the broadcast opened up with Henrik Lundqvist himself, with his worst back-up goaltender, Sieve Vagistat, sitting next to him.

As always is the case, once again, Henrik Lundqvist comes off like a million bucks on these broadcasts.

It truly is amazing when you think about it. Not only is this role new for Lundqvist, but English isn’t his native language either. He’s just a natural. For a comparison, can you imagine Artemi Panarin doing what Lundqvist is currently doing?

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times – Lundqvist should be full-time in this role (should he desire it), and he should also be paired up with a former skater.

Perhaps this game was jinxed at the onset of this broadcast. After all, we didn’t get a clip of Ryan Reaves belting out, “GEOR-GEE, RELEASE US!”


To open up the broadcast, Lundqvist said while the Wild have been struggling lately (another reason why Georgiev probably got the nod tonight), he also said that he expected them to come out hot to start the game – especially since Minnesota have done a good job of protecting home ice all-season.

While Lundqvist tried to pump-up and sell Georgiev, stating that #40 had to filter out all of the bad games and just focus; Sieve Vagistat was there, and as usual whenever speaking of the Bulgarian, tore Georgiev down. Maybe one day, Georgiev can assess Vally’s epic and iconic career of 46 games played.

In what was pretty funny, and would’ve been even funnier had the Rangers won this particular game; was the recurring theme of how Lundqvist jinxed the Rangers during his own night, when the Wild beat the Rangers 3-2.

If you recall, Lundqvist went to the booth during the game, and within seconds, the Wild scored two quick goals, including one from “OLD FRIEND” Mats Zuccarello – who just prior to scoring, Lundqvist had remarked on-air, “can’t let that guy score!”

To his credit, Lundqvist had a laugh about this. And for what it’s worth, so did I. Yeah, it was a jinx/bad timing, but that’s on the Rangers, not on #30!

Following Vagistat shamelessly plugging his fake news numbers company; we were told that this was a homecoming for K’Andre Miller, Ryan Lindgren and Jonny Brodzinski. Later on, we’d see camera shots of family and friends of all three players, where it was reported that JONNY HOCKEY had over thirty people in-attendance.

Lundqvist then did a nice segment on Chris Kreider, where the Swede said that CK20 is playing solely on instinct right now, and not overthinking anything. Lundqvist, an eye-test guy, and who has been spot-on all season; negated all of the junk and the BS numbers made up by the worst back-up of his era.

After Vally spewed out the word “elite” a few times, it had me thinking – of every major sport in North America, I think the NHL, and their fans, announcers, analysts, reporters, and whoever else; put more of an emphasis, focus and value on the word “elite,” than any of the other leagues. Just food for thought – should you choose to consume it!

In what was silly, Vagistat then talked about screens. While screens are important, you’d think that he’d mention that if “screens for assists” were tracked, then Chris Kreider would be leading the league in that stat.

Vally then said that a win over Seattle (10/31/21) was a turning point in the season. As someone who attended that game in the city of the Space Needle – it wasn’t.

In a breaking development, Sam and Joe were in Minnesota for this game. This is the first time that they’ve traveled anywhere of distance in a while, as the last time they did a road game, it was in Philadelphia.

I guess they opted not to deal with the headaches that are involved with traveling to Canada (Winnipeg game), and will now call the final two games of this Rangers road-trip in-arena as well. “OH JOE, YOU USED TO PLAY FOR THE BLUES JOE!”

As mentioned, Lundqvist’s “jinx” from the January 28th game was brought up several times tonight. After Micheletti’s “TACO BELL TAKE” (Georgiev needs to be good), “Jumpin’ Joe” said that with he and Rosen in Minnesota, that meant that Lundqvist couldn’t join them in the booth and jinx the Rangers tonight. I laughed.

And as you know already – there was no jinx to speak of tonight. The Rangers just played like poo.

GAME REVIEW time.


It’s always a talking point, even if some don’t want it to be – but yeah, the former regime of the Rangers backed the wrong horse.

Aside from a stretch during the second period – there’s not much positivity to talk about during this particular game review.

The Rangers could never get going.

Outside of a few minutes in the second period, the Wild kept the Rangers to the outside throughout the duration of the tilt. The Blueshirts could never get into the space between the circles and as a result, Cam Talbot had a pretty easy night. (Of course, I only root for Talbot to lose twice a season, and he goes 2-0 against the Rangers this year. Ugh.)

The Wild didn’t give up much space tonight. This would become apparent early on, as Kreider streaked to his former goaltender, where after doing so – two members of the Minnesota defense swarmed him and wouldn’t allow him to get a SOG.

Just 3:39 into the period, Kaprizov, Minnesota’s stud, did a loopy-doo, skated all over the place, made a complete circle around the net untouched, and then drove to Georgiev – where to his credit, #40 made a good save on a backhanded attempt.

A minute later, Talbot, on his first save of the game, denied a blast from Lindgren. This was only one of six Ranger SOG in the period.

Around the five minute mark, Georgiev made a pair of good saves on Ek, where it looked like the Bulgarian was locked in a bit. That soon wouldn’t be the case.

After Miller had trouble getting the puck out of the zone, which led to Georgiev making a wraparound save on a Minny shooter; Gauthier went on a breakaway. Rather than shooting, he froze like a deer in headlights and turned over the puck. For all the smack-talk that’s out there about Georgiev, Gauthier is more useless to me than the back-up goalie.

Following a freshly baked turnover out of the Breadman, as Panarin continues his baffling season (he leads the team in points with 62 of them, but he’s nowhere the same player as he was during his first season here, where his turnovers are an unnecessary new wrinkle to his game), Nemeth laid a great hit on Freddie Gaudreau.

Of course, Rosen, never missing a beat (he only misses goal calls), excitedly shrieked – “FREDDIE GAUDREAU, JOHNNY GAUDREAU OF CALGARY, NO RELATIONS!”

And if you recall, when the Rangers played the Flames, Rosen reminded us that “JOHNNY GAUDREAU, BARCLAY GOODROW, NOT RELATED JOE. THEY SPELL THEIR NAMES DIFFERENTLY JOE!” (I’m not making this up.)

Matching Nemeth’s hit was Foligno (big game for him tonight), who hit Reaves so hard that #75’s stick went flying into the air.

With ten minutes down, Gauthier had another shot attempt, but it was blocked.

Panarin, who as mentioned, can be perplexing to watch this season, whiffed on a puck while wide-open. Following the gust that blew off several hats of fans sitting in the first few rows; Kaprizov got the puck to Hartman. Hartman, in the slot, ripped a puck past Georgiev with 9:22 remaining. 1-0, bad guys.

I don’t want to do the “IGOR WOULD’VE SAVED THIS” stuff, but yep, you know the deal. Either way, this was a bad goal allowed by Georgiev.

Somewhat similar to how Panarin can have these up-and-down games; right after the goal allowed, Georgiev then made a FABULOUS save on Kaprizov.

After a failed Lindgren-to-Hunt deflection attempt, Kaprizov had Hartman sprung again for a breakaway, but couldn’t get all of the puck – a good thing for Georgiev.

Gauthier, who had the puck but refused to shoot again, as he’s a one man walking “Hall Pass” for opposing defenses; then watched Foligno rip a one-timer past Georgiev, after a great pass from the returning Greenway. 2-0, bad guys, with 5:19 to go.

However, upon replay, it was shown that Ek had deflected the puck at the last second, which meant that he received the goal, while Foligno got the assist. On the same replay, while Ek had his stick high, it was under the crossbar, which meant that this was a good goal. Gallant didn’t bother challenging this for a high-stick after seeing the replay himself.

It also meant, that because of this last nanosecond deflection, that this goal allowed wasn’t on Georgiev. It were the Rangers who gave up this odd-man rush, and there wasn’t much anyone could do about Ek’s stick-work.

Under a minute to go, Talbot made his best save yet; where #33 denied a Kreider-to-Lafreniere tip-in try.

At the horn, bad guys 2, Rangers 0.

While the hits (eight a piece) and SOG (six all) were tied; the Wild dominated the face-off circle to a tune of 9-2.

And I will say, despite the Rangers not looking so hot – I always thought they’d comeback. I’d be proven right. Of course, I’d soon be proven wrong once I said that the Rangers would comeback again. It happens!


I’m not so sure that we’ll be hearing “GEOR-GEE” chants inside of M$G anytime soon.

After Mika won the first draw of the middle frame; the Wild then got the puck.

Just forty seconds into the period, Adam Fox made a brutal and uncharacteristic turnover in front of Georgiev. Georgiev then stopped Hartman, in what should’ve been the 3-0 goal for the Wild.

Sam Rosen, echoing what Vagistat said during intermission, said that the Rangers needed a power-play to increase their scoring. No shit. You can say that about any team, during any game, and at any time of the year.

Of course – the Rangers would never get a power-play in this game.

After the third line and second pair had trouble getting the puck out of the zone, Goodrow iced the puck for a temporary breather. As the Wild stepped up their physicality, the Rangers were able to turn the tables around with 14:57 to go:


2-1, bad guys.

On this goal, Strome and Hunt broke out for a two vs one odd-man rush, and as you were just waiting for a bad pass, turnover, or for the puck to land on its edge; Strome connected with his winger. Hunt then buried the one-timer to cut the Wild lead in half.

Outside of Gauthier, no one needed a goal more than Hunt. I was happy to see it. I also thought this would be the start of the Rangers turnaround, and eventual win. Oops.

Also an oops? Rosen’s call that went something like, “OH JOE, JUST WIDE JOE….OH WAIT JOE, THAT PUCK WENT IN JOE, AND IT’S A POWER-PLAY GOAL FOR THEO FLEURY!”

On their next shift, Strome and Panarin had a similar play, where this time, Strome’s pass to Panarin became a turnover. Not surprised.

With 12:34 to go, Nemeth tripped Bjugstad, in what would become the lone penalty of the game. As Sam and Joe pretty much screamed to kingdom come that the Wild (one for their last twenty) power-play was due, this happened:


2-2, as Mika Zibanejad scored a short-handed goal, after deking Talbot out of his shorts! Comeback complete!

This comeback would be short-lived.

The Wild, still on the power-play, would then control the puck for the next 66 seconds, where the Ranger penalty killers couldn’t get a clear. With 10:47 left in the period, and fourteen seconds left on the power-play too – the Wild regained the lead.

In a goal that I wouldn’t pin on Georgiev, Matt Boldy, to the right of Georgiev, made an unmolested pass to Kevin Fiala, who was camped out in #40’s crease. 3-2 bad guys, just like that.

Not going to lie – I really thought that the Rangers would comeback, especially when K’Andre Miller made his best defensive play/hit of the season, where he absolutely leveled Kaprizov with a thunderous hit. This was an act of physicality that we’ve all been expecting to see out of the towering #79.

The Rangers, who did get a spurt of offense from their first line, wouldn’t score again.

Making matters worse, is when Foligno, on a mini-breakaway, beat Georgiev with a backhanded shot with 6:54 to go. 4-2, bad guys, as the Wild regained their two-goal margin.

Making matters worse than that, is when with 2:16 to go, Fiala backhanded a puck past Georgiev too. 5-2, bad guys.

And I’m surprised neither Valiquette or Lundqvist said this during the second intermission break – but yeah, backhanded shots are a goalie’s kryptonite. They are the hardest shots to stop. (Lundqvist had previously said this a few games back and it’s true. Goalies just don’t know when the puck will be shot and what angle the puck will be coming at them.)

That was pretty much it for this game.

After two periods, 5-2 bad guys, where the Rangers only had 13 SOG and where Talbot was probably only really tested twice.


The Wild figuratively “bloodied up” Georgiev’s stats tonight. Photo Credit: NBC

The third period was a waste of time. I’m not going to bother to give you the play-by-play, as it was an agonizing twenty minutes to the finish line.

As you just waited for the Rangers to attempt anything, and muster any sort of a comeback (where to be fair, they’ve had a lot of success in this department all season), it never came.

Instead, the Wild, with their three-goal lead, never relented. They were the aggressors all period, and right to the final horn.

The only thing to really note here, is that Ryan Reaves, who started taking shifts with Mika and Kreider after the Wild made it 5-2, remained on the top line. I know this stuff makes people crazy, but I get what Gallant was doing. With the Wild laying the body and bringing the boom, Gallant wanted some push-back.

(Gallant later admitted as much following the game, where he made clear that this line-up change had nothing to do with Lafreneire, and where the head coach personally told the 2020 first overall pick the same thing.)

While the score remained the same, there were a few saves that Georgiev made here, including a robbery on Zuccarello. There were also two saves, where following them, the goaltender looked behind his own net, as he was shocked that he made the stop. You can do that once, and it’s understandable. But when you do it a few times, it gives off the impression that you have no confidence.

5-2 your final, where as mentioned earlier – Georgiev’s saves won’t be remembered. His five goals on twenty-eight shots will be.

And if the Rangers had to lose one of these four road-games; I’m glad it was to Talbot. Off to St. Louis.


Outside of dominating the Islanders, Georgiev also had a good history with the Leafs.

One last time before going home here. I don’t think Georgiev sucks – it’s just time for a change. That’s all.

Furthermore, while I’m never “rah-rah” after a loss to begin with, this loss doesn’t change any of my previous opinions. I still remain faithful to what I’ve said ever since the new regime came in – this team will compete in the playoffs and I expect a deep run, where I wouldn’t mind seeing the team hoist the silver on my 40th birthday! (June 13th.)

For all of the talk about CZAR IGOR’s amazing and historical season, this much is true too – the team just plays better in front of him, and unlike Georgiev (and most goalies) – he gives them a chance to win every game. He just can’t play in 82 regular season games.

With that said, here’s a no-brainer for you – CZAR IGOR starts in St. Louis on Thursday night!

PLUGS time!


Stan Fischler, who really is an “OLD FRIEND JOE,” has a new article up on the state of the NHL on “The Hockey News” website. The Maven even gave yours truly a plug! To check it out, click this link:

https://thehockeynews.com/news/fischler-report-you-cant-pick-a-cup-winner-out-of-the-lucky-seven


On Monday evening, “The Blueshirt Underground Show” returned with an all-new episode. To check it out, click the play button below:


On Tuesday night, following this Rangers loss to the Wild, our buddies over at “2 Guys 1 Cup” returned with a new episode. To give it a listen, click the link below:

 


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

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

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

https://www.amazon.com/Rangers-Rafters-Madison-Square-Garden-ebook/dp/B09CM5N2WD

For those still looking for signed paperback versions of the book, I have re-ordered more copies. I now have 2 signed copies for sale at $25 a pop (includes shipping price) through me directly. Here is all the information on that:

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


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

NYR/WPG 3/6 Review: Rangers Ground Jets; CZAR IGOR and Chris Kreider Continue to Chase Hardware & History, Gallant Plays with Line-Up, Too Many Penalties The Only Weakness, McDonald Award, WIN NOW, M$GN & More


NYR/NJD 3/4 Review: Barclay Goodrow Takes Care of P.K. Slewban; Rangers Trash Devils, Another CZAR IGOR Highlight Reel Game; #31’s Historical Season, Kreider 18 Goals Away From Franchise Record, “Next Man Up,” JONNY HOCKEY, Big Time Trouba & More


NYR/STL 3/2 Review: Rangers’ Team-Wide Play & Superb Coaching Forces Buchnevich’s Bunch to “Sing The Blues;” NYR Wins a Thriller, Big Night for the “Fat Cats,” Line-Up Changes, TNT’s Amazing Broadcast; Kenny Albert, NYR Podcast Update, Slewban & More


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


Chris Kreider will continue to chase Jagr this Thursday night, when the Rangers have their return match with the St. Louis Blues.

Up next: the useless Pavel Buchnevich and the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.

As always here, thanks for reading and…

LET’S GO RANGERS!

Sean McCaffrey

BULLSMC@aol.com

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21 thoughts on “NYR/MIN 3/8 Review: Rangers Look Mild vs. Wild; Perhaps Georgiev’s Last Game as a Ranger (And Why That’s a Possibility), Homecoming Ruined, “Glass Half Full” – Igor Boosts Hart Bid; Rangers Maintain Second-Place, M$GN, Talbot & More

  1. After reading another informative and funny blog, my thoughts exactly. I have always loved and still do for Georgiev. Like you said if he can’t be the backup the team can count on, than he is not helping the team. It’s a tough dilemma since Igor needs a break now and then but then you can’t put Georgiev in to lose especially in the playoffs, what do you think the answer is? Another good point which is very noticeable is the Rangers do not play well with Georgiev as half the goals are not on him, still, something has to change especially in the playoffs.

    1. Hey Barbara–

      I’m hoping that CZAR IGOR plays every single minute of the playoffs. I just think a back-up is going to get at least 4-5 starts at the end of this season, and it can’t be free points for the other team.

      Short-term, Kinkaid is probably the best option for those 4-5 games. If they want an insurance plan, they could test the market prior to 3/21. Holtby might be the best name available, although like Pavelski, I’m not sure if Dallas will part with him.

    1. Larry Brooks brought that up today. I think at the end of the season, Fox will admit that he wasn’t playing at 100%, but didn’t want to sit out during a playoff push.

  2. Yea the 3rd period really sucked because you had to watch it right until the end, considering the way this Rangers team can score goals in a hurry and get right back in it, even though it was pretty obvious they would not come back and they………didna!

    : )

  3. Sean – One of my daughters spent a year in Bulgaria teaching high school students (I think she did a better job teaching them English than they did teaching her Bulgarian – it’s a difficult language). She was treated very well by the Bulgarian people, so I have a soft spot in my heart for Bulgarians and an understanding of the difficulty of living and working in a foreign country and having to communicate in an unfamiliar language. I was excited when the first Bulgarian born NHL player joined NYR, and even more excited when Georgiev played so well. For the same reasons, I was sorely disappointed last season when an American born teammate picked a fight with Georgiev (not the right way to treat a guest in our country), so I didn’t mind when NYR decided to keep Georgiev and let the other guy go. This season, however, has been Shesterkin’s time to shine. His excellence has shown the entire league that the only places for Georgiev are either at the end of the NYR bench or on another team where he’ll have a chance to play more games and recover his confidence. I’m sorry he has to go, but I expect he’ll have a career similar to Cam Talbot’s. Every time Georgiev gets to play against NYR in the future, he’ll probably get a W and NYR fans will wish he could’ve been a reliable Number 2 here.

    1. Hey Bill—

      What’s also impressive about Georgiev, I that he also speaks Finnish too. I think he may also speak Swedish, but I’m not 100% sure.

      I wouldn’t put race/country into this. Georgiev made a bad play in that game. I think DeAngelo would’ve said something to anyone besides Lundqvist at that point in time.

      I pretty much agree with what you’re saying though – Georgiev will become a starter elsewhere, have some success and of course will bite the Rangers in the ass – but moving on from him now seems to be the right course of action. There’s just no spot for him and what he does doesn’t fit the role the Rangers need from a back-up goalie.

    2. Bill
      Fact checkers have debunked your story about Tony D as a Russian, Chinese, Qanon, Trump, Maga, right wing, White Nationalist, anti vaxxer, disinformation, misinformation and malinformation propaganda campaign.

      Surely you are not supporting them, are you?

      heh

      1. Zap – I don’t have any story about DeAngelo except I saw him have a mixup with Georgiev that resulted in the GWG in OT. Any normal teammate would have said, “Sorry, that was my fault,” regardless of who was actually at fault. Instead, DeAngelo made a face, a dismissive hand gesture, and skated away, showing the goalie up in front of the whole arena. Then DeAngelo waited at the bench and said something to Georgiev as they both started for the tunnel. I don’t know what he said, but it was obviously a provocation, because Georgiev immediately whacked DeAngelo with his blocker.

        I don’t know why you think I have a “story about Tony D as a Russian, Chinese, Qanon, Trump, Maga, right wing, White Nationalist, anti vaxxer, disinformation, misinformation and malinformation propaganda campaign.” I never said or wrote any of those things. I just think DeAngelo was a lousy teammate and a jackass who deserved to get clobbered by Georgiev and dumped by NYR.

          1. Zap snd Sean – Sorry. I forgot I should never take seriously anything Zap writes.

  4. Did no one else take note of the classic diss Giannone put on Vally during the second intermission?

    Valiquette was telling the world how his puck handling skills were all-world, and that he never had a problem in dealing with the puck behind his own net —– whereupon Giannone (off camera) said (and I’m paraphrasing because I don’t remember the actual line), “Yeah, but IN FRONT OF the net, not so much”

    Tremendous……

    1. Yes, forgot to bring this up, but at that point of the blog/game, I was kind of checked out at 5-2. I really hope they get rid of Vally next season!

  5. Sorry to see that Buch got concussed and wont be playing tonight because I like to see the Buchbots vs Ranger fans hype in the blogosphere for these showdowns………I liked Buch too so it sucks to see him get concussed now when he is in the middle of a fantastic season.

    Hope he is back soon……..should raise the Rangers chances with him out.

    LGR!

      1. Sean
        No infighting going on here on my side……….Bill is just being a dick

        heh

        Ok now maybe some infighting is going on……I am just kidding…….sheesh

        : )

        1. Sean – I acknowledge it’s impossible to Zip the Zap. Just mention Tony DeAngelo and Zap automatically goes into passionate tributes to the greatest South Jersey Guy ever. I’ll try not to trigger him again (at least not this week), but you gotta agree it’s always amusing to see a BlueCollar Blueshirts fan slobbering over a guy who was born to be a Philadelphia Flyer. Zap will surely have multiple orgasms if DeAngelo ever gets to put on that orange Filly Filth jersey.

          1. It’s funny, I thought after the DeAngelo debacle that he’d wind up in Philly. Checked all the boxes, except for the you know, the whole winning thing! Looks like he made a wise decision going to Carolina. I assume he won’t be getting a tribute video when he and the Canes come to New York.

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