Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. Ugh.
“We were horseshit.” – Gerard Gallant, Friday, April 1st, at 9:35PM.
(Of note: that word, “horseshit,” will be featured a lot during this blog. You’ve been warned!)
On Friday night, at the “World’s Most Expensive Arena,” the Rangers, who going into this contest, were riding a four-game win streak, put forth one of their most listless performances yet, if not their most listless performance of the season; where the end result saw the home team get embarrassed by the inferior Islanders.
Note that I used the word “performance,” and not “effort.”
This was a tough and slumberous game to watch – assuming that you stayed awake during the entire sixty-minute affair.
To fast-forward to the aftermath of this game, and as Gallant’s quote would suggest – there are many residents of Rangerstown, USA questioning the team’s effort after this game. I totally understand that.
Call me a homer, call me too positive, call me delusional, call me what you want; but I don’t know if the effort was the issue – even if the head coach and his players said as much.
While I do think that the Islanders wanted this game more, as they relished in their spoiler role; there was never one point in this game where I thought that the Rangers gave up.
As much as it pains me to say it, Seymon Varlamov, the Isles’ netminder, and a current Rangers killer too; in my opinion, he was absolutely the best player on the ice.
There were many times during this game where the Rangers could’ve broken up what eventually became a 3-0 shutout, but Varlamov wasn’t having it on this night.
Compounding matters, was that the Rangers, collectively as a group, all looked “off” too; where many times throughout this particular tilt, they went wide on shots that they’d normally bury. It was like they were paying tribute to Julien Gauthier tonight.
Between Varlamov and the many misses – the Isles were able to prevent the Rangers from grabbing two points in the standings tonight. To say that the effort wasn’t there? I think that’s easier for Gallant to say, as a motivational tactic, rather than yours truly, perhaps a “simp” of this team, myself.
Obviously, for the Rangers – this game sucked. In fact, it sucked big-time.
What makes this loss even worse, is that of all 31 teams that the Rangers play during a regular season – it were the Islanders who drubbed the home team on this night.
Had the Rangers lost in this fashion to a non-rival, it would be much easier to say, “forget it, burn the tape and move on.”
As someone who has been “glass half-full” all season – that’s still my mentality after this disgusting loss. However, if you want to throw a bitch fit and go into gloom-and-doom mode – I won’t stop ya!
No Rangers fan wants to see a loss like this. The same applies to Ranger bettors. It also most certainly applies to the fans who paid sky-high ticket prices for this game:
Outside of the opponent being the Islanders, a team that plays in a horseshit infested stable, which is what made Gallant’s quote so fitting; I think a major source of frustration was watching the Rangers play out of character.
This game wasn’t like the 68 others we’ve seen.
Sure, the Rangers have had bad losses before (Calgary and Colorado), but you could explain those losses away. (The schedule, COVID, injuries, etc.)
This loss was unique. It came with the Rangers riding a strong winning streak, a winning streak where the power-play was scoring and where Trouba’s new pals were thriving. Even the top guys (Chris Kreider, Adam Fox, Mika Zibanejad and Jacob Trouba), where only Artemi Panarin was the lone exception, couldn’t get going.
I know how everyone overreacts and runs to the bridges after a bad loss, but that’s not me. To me, this game was an anomaly – and not the norm.
As I said after the recent loss to the Devils – I 100% expect the Rangers to win their next game, and in turn, this game will soon be forgotten. Unfortunately, the Rangers don’t play on Saturday night, so us fans will have 48 hours to stew until the Rangers take the ice again. I’m sure the team themselves will be stewing too. I know Gallant is.
My remedy for fellow fans? Think about this:
— The Rangers are still in second-place and control their own destiny for home ice in the playoffs.
— This was a “Stanley Cup Game 7” game for the Islanders. They will be golfing come May. They have peaked and you won’t see them in another Eastern Conference Final for a long, long, and do I mean long, time.
— The Rangers usually rise up against quality competition, and come out flat like a fart in church against horseshit teams – which the Islanders are.
— Come the playoffs, where the Rangers will be in just a month’s time; they won’t see the Islanders. They will most likely see the Penguins – a team that the Rangers have played well against all season. To worry about one game out of 82 is the work of a fool.
If there was anything that truly “bothered” me after this game, outside of the HORRENDOUS, TERRIBLE AND OUTRIGHT BRUTAL M$GN broadcast tonight; it’s the fact that Ranger fans were so quick to turn on their team after a loss.
After all, no team goes 82-0.
Sure, the loss sucked horse dong, but since the head coach buried the team (where it’s my opinion that he only did so as a motivational tactic – and not as an overall assessment of his team’s season), fans will and/or can parrot what “The Turk” said.
Similar to the word “soft,” which I’ve discussed on this site before; once the head coach says something negative, it gives fans the right to mimic what the bench boss said. Tonight, that word will be “horseshit.”
If anything, I just hope that fans don’t take this one-game indictment as a generality about the season itself. And if some fans do – so be it, it won’t impact my outlook!
Plus – everyone is entitled to their own opinions anyway. These blogs are just mine – nothing more, nothing less!
And while my pregame predictions for Friday night couldn’t have been any further from what actually happened; I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Rangers go on another four-game win streak, when they play the Flyers, Devils, Penguins and Senators.
Should the Rangers win these next four games; following that, it’s a home game with Carolina. Win that game, and no one will remember this “horseshit.”
At this time, let’s get into the news, interviews and of course, the main event – the GAME REVIEW.
However, up first, Rich Murphy’s third and final look at the Hartford Wolfpack, where in this go-around, he wraps up by taking a look at the defensemen.
The Other Side of the Glass
Jeff Taylor – he has recently been playing as a fourth line forward, rather than at his natural position.
Not a strong defenseman, this journeyman has one offensive play – a shot from the point that may hit the goalie. I never liked this signing. He has bounced between the Jacksonville Icemen (ECHL) and Hartford. Grade D. He should be scrubbed from the team.
Zach Giuttari – now in his second season with the ‘Pack, Zach played a forward role at Rangers’ rookie camp.
A right defenseman from Rhode Island, he usually plays on the third pair. However, with Schneider now in New York; he is regularly featured on the second pair – only if Hunter Skinner isn’t in the lineup (which surprisingly is often).
I like the kid – he tends to pinch when needed, works well to command a point on the power-play when asked, and he’s also defensively sound. Grade B.
Jarred Tinordi – we didn’t understand the need in New York when JT was first signed by Drury.
Tinordi, who has spent most of the season with the ‘Pack; has no leadership skills despite now possessing the “A” that Anthony Bitetto (now with the San Jose Sharks organization) had before he was traded.
He misses assignments regularly and in a new wrinkle, often takes bad penalties. The only thing I can say that he does well that Taylor doesn’t, is that Tinordi can play some effective D in the neutral zone.
That said, the losses vs Springfield this week were the end result of blown assignments by Tinordi and Lundkvist. Like Karen Kinkaid, I don’t see this unrestricted free agent back next season. Grade C-
Zac Jones – during the preseason, we all tried figuring out who would play RD with Nemeth. I really thought that Jones, at the start of the season, had the better chance. Instead the opportunity was given to Lundkvist, and Jones soon departed to Hartford, in a move to get him more playing/ice time.
Jones was quickly paired with Schneider on the first pair (many thought Robertson, with his skill, would be on the first pair, but Jones was the right move).
Since then, Jones is THE D-MAN of the ‘Pack.
PK1, PP1, LD1, RD at times – Zac is the backbone of the blue line. He’s usually double-shifted too.
Jones has strong puck handling skills and can lead the scoring rush as well.
Grade – A. He’s truly the bright spot right now of the defense.
Nils Lundkvist – I’m really confused with him. He’s touted as a skilled d-man. However, he’s playing like a wet noodle right now. He clearly doesn’t want to be on the ice.
I’m unsure if it’s due to the long season, the lack of leadership, homesickness, or all of it combined; but in either event – he’s lost his way.
He takes too many penalties, has too many miscues, makes too many passes to no one, and often misses assignments. All of the “too many” errors are piling up.
Overall he’s a C/C-. However, recently, he’s playing at a D-level.
Lundkvist is the biggest disappointment in Hartford.
Sure, Tinordi is a disappointment too – but we all know that he’s at the end of his tenure.
Lundkvist, with his alleged “talent;” at the moment, he’s looking to be another shortfall from Sweden (ala Lias Andersson without the drama – and not Henrik Lundqvist who definitely wasn’t a shortfall). I hope to be wrong about Nils, but so far Steven Voogel’s hype of Swedish stars is looking to be 0-2.
Hunter Skinner – Skinner started the season trying to do everything possible. And he paid for it – by living in the penalty box.
Since a benching (which took place prior to the COVID outbreak), Skinner returned and became more reserved in his play. He has been working the lanes, he became even tempered, and he is now more of a contributor. This led to Skinner scoring goals around Christmastime.
Due to the addition of Scanlin, the need to play both Jones and Lundkvist, and Guittari also proving well; Skinner has now become a healthy scratch.
I hate the move, but that’s what happens when Guittari, Skinner, Jones and Lundkvist play. Grade: B
Matthew Robertson: there were high hopes that Robertson would play on the first pair, given his strong training camp from last season.
The 6’4″ LD seemed to have two left feet at the start of the season. That, along with the depth at the position, fell Robertson to the third pair.
Since that time, he has made a strong claim for the team’s second pairing left defenseman, where he’s currently behind Jones/Lundkvist.
I look forward in seeing more from this rookie’s development, especially given his size. He can easily make a case for PK1, and possibly a case for PP2. too. Grade: B+
Following the pair of back-to-back wins on the road, the Rangers took Thursday off.
On Friday morning, the team took a pregame skate. Following the light practice, both Ryan Reaves and Gerard Gallant spoke to the media.
Here’s what “The Grim Reaver” said:
Aside from praising his teammates, where #75 raved about Chris Kreider and his new teammates too; Reaves talked about his own situation. Reaves said that while he’s never happy to sit (nor should any player have that mentality), he’ll never bring any negative energy to the locker room. Reaves also mentioned that due to his age and experience – he understands it.
Reaves, who prides himself on being a veteran leader in the locker room; also said that he will always bring a positive influence and energy to the locker room. Reaves also brought up how the playoffs are a whole different animal, and how you always have to be ready – especially because of injuries and wear-and-tear.
As always is the case, I thought that Reaves once again came off as open and honest. He never holds back.
The head coach shared some roster updates in his latest edition of “Turk Talk.” Here’s Gallant:
Gallant, who was in a good mood (and it’s easy to understand why, or at least why prior to this match with the Isles), joked around a bit during the interview.
Towards the end, Gallant said that he wouldn’t be revealing his line-up changes, where after saying so, he stated: “I’m not sure yet. It’s April Fools, you aren’t going to believe me anyway.” Gallant, who laughed as he said that, followed that up with, “I’m funny today, ain’t I?”
(He wasn’t laughing after tonight’s game.)
In serious news, Gallant said that Ryan Strome, who didn’t practice with the team, is skating by himself. At the time, Gallant said he didn’t think Strome would be able to play against the Islanders, but he didn’t rule it out completely. (In the end, Strome didn’t play.)
When it comes to Kaapo Kakko and Kevin Rooney, “The Turk” said that neither would be playing this game, nor on Sunday, when the Rangers host the Flyers. However, Gallant said there was a possibility that both could return sometime next week.
I know I brushed upon this a few times on this site already; but Gallant’s job is going to get a lot tougher once Kakko and Rooney return.
In my opinion (and let me stress for the 86348383838348th time on this site that I’ll be fine with whatever Gallant does), it’s easy to work in Kevin Rooney, a fourth-line grinder, back into the line-up. He can easily replace Jonny Brodzinski and/or Greg McKegg.
When it comes to Kakko, that’s a tougher pickle in my eyes.
It all comes down to this – who are you bumping? Surely not Frank Vatrano. And assuming that Strome will be returning soon – I don’t see how you can bump Andrew Copp from the second line right wing position either.
I know some people think the quick fix is installing Kakko on the third line, in favor of Barclay Goodrow, but I’m not so sure about that either. I know that many people think that Kakko has the potential to be better than Goodrow; but on this date of April 1st, 2022 – I much rather see Goodrow – especially when you consider that #21 is successful at the faceoff circle.
And should you believe that Kakko, and his two goals in 22 games prior to his injury (where need I remind you, that both of these goals were scored in the same game against the crappy Coyotes), is a better player than Goodrow; I’m not so sure that Kakko complements Lafreniere and Chytil as well as Goodrow does. There’s something to that “veteran factor.”
I know other people may say, “well, you can bump Motte or Hunt then.” My response to that is that Kakko isn’t a fourth-line type, and I much rather see what Gallant has been doing.
I think you also have to keep the following in mind – all season long, Gallant has said he’ll do what’s best for the team – and not what’s best for one player. Gallant also said that he doesn’t want to give his young players five-to-six minutes a game, in order to just play them.
If I’m hinting at anything – I don’t think Kakko is an “automatic given” to play in every game that the Rangers play from this point on, and into the playoffs. I’m not saying that he won’t play and/or be “shutdown”, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get some time in the press box either.
At the end of the day, that’s why Gallant gets paid the big bucks. He’ll figure this stuff out, while I’ll stay home and opine. And with what Gallant has been doing all season, I’ll be fine with whatever he does.
Plus, as the head coach always says – “ONE GAME AT A TIME!”
After the Rangers practice and media interviews, at around 2PM Friday afternoon, the team announced that they had come to terms with defenseman Bobby Trivigno.
During the past few weeks, the highly heralded collegiate player was linked to the Rangers.
After all, the Long Island native grew up rooting for the Rangers, and like his blue line brethren, Adam Fox – he too wanted to play for the Rangers. Better than that, especially if Trivigno can ever make an impact with his favorite team – the defenseman spurned the Islanders during this process.
Here’s what the Rangers said about the signing, courtesy of https://www.nhl.com/rangers/news/rangers-agree-to-terms-with-bobby-trivigno/c-332520426:
New York Rangers President and General Manager Chris Drury announced today that the team has agreed to terms with college free agent forward Bobby Trivigno.
Trivigno, 23, recently completed his senior season at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst (Hockey East), where he served as captain for the Minutemen.
In 2021-22, Trivigno tallied a career-high 20 goals and 29 assists for 49 points and a plus-22 rating in 37 games. Among NCAA skaters, he ranked tied for third in points, tied for eighth in assists and tied for ninth in goals. Trivigno was named the 2021-22 Hockey East Player of the Year, the College Hockey News Player of the Year, and a Hobey Baker Award Top 10 finalist, the award for the top collegiate hockey player. He also became the fourth player to win the Walter Brown Award in back-to-back seasons, presented annually to the best American-Born Division I college hockey player in New England.
The Setauket, New York native finished his collegiate career with 53 goals and 78 assists for 131 points and a plus-73 rating in 139 games. In 2020-21, he helped guide the Minutemen to a national championship, where he was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Frozen Four and to the All-Tournament Team. That season, he led UMass in scoring with 11 goals and 23 assists for 34 points in 29 games. In 2020-21, he earned CCM/AHCA Hockey First Team All-America honors and was also selected to the All-USCHO and to the Hockey East All-Star First Team. As a freshman in 2018-19, he played in a career-high 39 games, finishing 16th in the nation in freshman scoring (13G-15A) and tied for fourth in the Hockey East.
A 5-8, 161 pounder, Trivigno played one season for the Waterloo Black Hawks of the United States Hockey League (USHL), notching 16 goals and 27 assists for 43 points in 58 games and a plus-11 rating. Trivigno attended Shattuck St. Mary’s, where he won a national title in 2016 with the U-16 team.
For Trivigno, this is a dream come true.
I’d also like to wish Trivigno all the best of luck moving forward.
In addition, the Rangers latest signee is someone who certainly makes Mollie Walker, of the New York Post (who like Trivigno, is a fellow UMass graduate herself), extremely happy. (Just like with her stuff about Zac Jones, Walker has already taken an extreme bias to her fellow alumni – and I don’t blame her one bit!)
Here’s what “The Turk” went with for this “Glenn Healy Tribute” game:
FIRST LINE: Kreider/Zibanejad/Vatrano
SECOND LINE: Panarin/Copp/Hunt
THIRD LINE: Lafreniere/Chytil/Goodrow
FOURTH LINE: Motte/McKegg/Reaves
Defensively, we had this:
FIRST D-PAIR: Lindgren/Fox
SECOND D-PAIR: Miller/Trouba
THIRD D-PAIR: Nemeth/Schneider
And in net, CZAR IGOR
BOX SCORE time.
The following information and graphics come from the new world-wide leader in NHL coverage, ESPN.com:
A 3-0 shutout loss to the Islanders is infuriating. More infuriating than that was this entire M$GN broadcast.
A few blogs ago, when the Rangers dropped a decision to the Islanders on St. Patrick’s Day, where the zebras most certainly played a part in that (however – you can’t blame the officials for this Rangers loss tonight); I told you that I attended that game.
I later told you that many people, including people who I respect and whose opinions I value, including Jim S. of “The Blueshirt Underground Show;” all told me how bad the M$GN broadcast was.
While hearing that the M$GN broadcast was bad didn’t surprise me; what somewhat surprised me was everyone telling me much the crew were pro-Islander.
As you may know by now, the M$GN is one giant happy family, where they are more like the “Brady Bunch” kids, and less like the “Step by Step” kids. (Of note – “Step by Step” was such an underrated TGIF show, a show from my formative years that I still vividly remember today! “The Codeman!”)
For over two-and-a-half hours, or however long this broadcast was; it was non-stop Islander propaganda. It was like Sam Rosen, Joe Micheletti, Sieve Vagistat and John Giannone were all inspired by the Russian and North Korean media.
This was sickening.
I’m not exaggerating or making any of this up either.
At one point, the broadcast started running Anders Lee profile packages. What Ranger fan wanted to see that?
They also had one of those corny bits featuring two family members who root for both teams.
“OH JOE, HE’S A RANGERS FAN AND HIS BROTHER IS AN ISLANDERS FAN, WHAT WILL THEY DO TONIGHT?”
Can you tell me what Ranger fan wants to be subjected to this crap? Or better yet, horseshit?
Needless to say, these two dorky brothers weren’t exactly Romulus and Remus. (And if any other hockey site is busting out a Romulus and Remus reference, I’d like to know who!)
The material was so bad, that it made you want to violently vomit.
As if we aren’t aware that people in New York root for both teams. However, and for whatever reason – two family members rooting for different teams gave Sam and Joe raging boners.
“OH JOE, HOW DO THESE TWO BROTHERS GET ALONG? IT’S GOING TO BE A TOUGH NIGHT IN THEIR HOUSEHOLD TONIGHT, HA HA HA JOE… SHIT JOE, THE WIND FROM THAT FILIP CHYTIL WHIFF KNOCKED OFF MY TOUPEE JOE!”
I think I made my point, even if I’ll go back to this!
The broadcast was horseshit the second 6:30PM hit.
Rather than Henrik Lundqvist in-house, we had to deal with the irritating Sieve Vagistat. This was kind of fitting for this horseshit broadcast, since Vagistat is a former Islander himself.
At least David Cone, of the YES Network, who played for both the Yankees and the Mets; WAS A STARTER, that you know, ACTUALLY WON CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES. Vagistat is just horseshit – no matter how much he tries to pump up his legendary and epic NHL career of 46 games.
Also worth mentioning? Ever since Major League Baseball instituted inter-league play in 1997 (and with the YES Network coming into existence in 2002) – I HAVE NEVER HEARD THE YANKEES CREW EVER RAVE ABOUT THE METS.
There’s no, “OH CONEY, A YANKEE FAN AND A MET FAN ARE SITTING NEXT TOGETHER CONEY! HOW WILL THESE TWO SURVIVE NINE INNINGS TOGETHER CONEY?”
Tonight, it was just a non-stop Islander love-fest, where if Michelle Gingras (who just gave birth two weeks ago) was there, she may have become pregnant again.
Vagistat, more horrible than usual, opened up the broadcast by giving us more of his war stories from the 46 most magical NHL games ever played. He then started talking about his relationship with Brock Nelson, and how he once coached him. No wonder why the Islanders choked during their last two Eastern Conference Finals!
Again – this is a Rangers broadcast, yet the seven-foot Clairol King goof was wasting our time by telling us about how much he loves Brock Nelson. WHAT RANGER FAN WANTS TO HEAR THAT HORSESHIT?
Equally as pathetic, was M$GN showing us shots of these adult cretins begging for free shit on the glass during warm-ups. I’ll save you from another rant on this – but these warm-ups are for the kids – and not for these grown adults begging for a free puck. Get a life.
Seriously, what goes through the mind of an adult male (without a child in tow, where then this is acceptable – as if you’re doing it for your seed, I’m fine with that), who makes signs that say:
“BREADMAN, YOU BAKE MY HEART!”
“I WANT YOUR TAFFY LAFFY!”
“MIKA PUMP YOUR DNA IN MY ASS!”
“YOU’RE SO FOXY ADAM!”
And so forth.
(And yep, my frustration and anger about this game is projected on the broadcast. The Rangers have been great all season – the Henrik Lundqvist-less broadcasts have been awful.)
The only decent thing about the broadcast was Dave Maloney, who understands the rivalry. He talked up Braden Schneider and “Trouba’z Treehouse Gang.”
After naming K’Andre Miller’s walk-off game winner against horseshit Buffalo as “the number one play of the month of March” (not featured during the Top Ten moments of March? Georgiev’s shutout against Carolina); we then went back to Vagistat, who pulled out his homemade arts-and-crafts charts and told us that Panarin is good at hockey.
What ever would we have done without Vally’s hieroglyphics and ANALytics? Without them, we might not have known that Panarin is a great hockey player!
Once 7PM hit, we went to Sam and Joe.
No joke, after watching this broadcast, I think Micheletti was auditioning for Butch Goring’s job. Maybe Micheletti is getting ready for Sam to retire.
Speaking of Goring, NEVER, not once, have I ever seen him promote the Rangers. I have never heard him make excuses for the Rangers. Goring gets it. I respect him for it. Heck, he even mocks the Rangers on social media.
And to clear, I’m not saying that Sam and Joe have to wave Ranger pom-poms all game. I’m just saying that they don’t have to talk about the Islanders as if they are the greatest thing to ever exist. Even worse – making excuses for the Islanders when they are not doing well.
“SAM, ZACH PARISE’S NUMBERS AREN’T THAT GREAT THIS SEASON, BUT HE’S BEEN FABULOUS. PARISE AND THE ISLANDERS HAVE BEEN ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS. HAVE YOU SEEN MY HAIR DYE SAM?”
I know, I went way too long on this horrible horseshit broadcast, but this is my way of venting. Plus, we can somewhat breeze through the GAME REVIEW.
Speaking of, let’s get into it – I have stalled long enough.
The Islanders pretty much foreshadowed what was to come at the onset of the period.
After Brock Nelson defeated Mika at the dot; just under thirty seconds later, Igor was forced to make a tough save on Anthony Beauvillier. A minute later, Dryden Hunt, who didn’t exactly have the best game of his career tonight; kept a puck in the Isles’ d-zone following a big hit. The Isles soon iced the puck afterwards.
In another foreshadowing moment; at the two minute mark, Adam Fox razzled-and-dazzled his way into the Isles’ zone. He then set-up Panarin, who rang a puck so hard off of the crossbar, that even Sam Rosen heard it, a Rosen who then temporarily stopped talking about the Islanders to talk about this <DING>.
In one of those “what if” moments, and following Breadman’s clank off of the iron; the Isles got into the Rangers d-zone.
In something that we’ve seen a lot of this season, the Rangers had a “Craigs List Missed Connection” when trying to clear a puck, where this time, Braden Schneider was the offender (and not much of a defender tonight too.)
Ryan Pulock, as a result of this failed clear, grabbed the puck and found Casey Cizikas in Igor’s paint for one of the most easiest tap-in goals that you’ll ever see. All Patrik Nemeth could do was watch.
1-0, bad guys, just 2:40 into the period. So much for my 4-0 Rangers shut-out prediction!
I really don’t want to single-out anyone here, as the team, as a whole, all collectively struggled; but this was probably Schneider’s worst game of the season. He finished with a game-low -3. His partner, Nemeth, finished -2.
And as you already know – I’m fine with whatever Gallant does. However, it wouldn’t surprise me if Justin Braun plays against his former team on Sunday. Whether Schneider gets a break, of if Braun is tried out on the left-side – I see Braun playing in either event.
Right after the goal, Kyle Palmieri was left wide-open in the slot, where fortunately for CZAR IGOR’s numbers, the former Devil went wide.
Nearly six minutes in, the SOG were in favor of the visitors, 3-0.
Ryan Reaves gave the Rangers their first hint at offense, as he blocked a blast from Zedno Chara. The Grim Reaver then raced the puck up ice, and as a result, both Fox and Motte put SOG – two saves for Varly.
At exactly the six minute mark, Hunt had a chance to tie it, but Varly made perhaps the best save of the game, when he denied #29’s backhander with a clean glove save.
At the eight minute mark, the third line got going, where Godorow was tripped in the corner to the left of Varly. No call, but with the Rangers power-play going 0-3 tonight, a call here probably wouldn’t have mattered anyway.
At the 9:21 mark, Grant Hutton, playing for the injured Cal Clutterbuck, tripped Tyler Motte.
During these two minutes, a Fox blast was stopped, a Mika-to-Kreider deflection play was snuffed out, and Mika hit the side of the net when shooting from his office. Towards the end of the power-play, Trouba was forced to break-up two-vs-one Isles odd-man rush.
As Sam and Joe would not stop raving about the Islanders; at the 12:51 mark, Copp high-sticked Nelson. This was a legit call.
During the penalty kill (the Rangers would prevent the Isles from a SOG during their first two power-plays, and overall, the PK finished 4-4 – a lone bright spot for the Blueshirts on this night), Trouba had a bomb stopped by Varly.
Trouba put forth several bombs tonight, but unfortunately, about 99% of them left marks on the boards behind Varly – rather than going into the net behind the Isles’ goaltender.
With 2:48 to go, Fox stopped an Isles threat, and then made an alley-oop pass to Panarin, a #10 who had the puck to himself in the Isles’ zone. Panarin then waited for the 2021 Norris winner to catch up, and then fed a streaking-to-the-net Fox. In turn, Wahlstrom tripped #23 in blue, in what was a smart penalty to take.
The Rangers power-play, one of their strengths, had a pretty awful outing here. Vatrano broke his stick while whiffing on a wide-open shot, which pretty much speaks to how this game went overall.
After twenty minutes, we remained 1-0 bad guys. The Rangers were winning every stat (faceoffs, SOG, hits, etc), but didn’t lead the only stat that mattered – goals for.
It felt like the Rangers were going to mount their comeback early, as the team was now seeking their 25th comeback win of the season.
Twenty seconds in, Varly made two tough stops, on both Vatrano and Trouba.
At the ninety second mark, Varly then stopped Copp on a wrap-around try, where really, I think only K’Andre Miller, because of his long reach (and as he’s done before), could’ve scored.
With the Rangers pressuring a bit here, I (horse) shit you not – Sam and Joe started talking about the Islanders schedule and their opponents. This is the first time that I ever heard a “home” announcing crew run down the opponent’s schedule, much less a rival of the home team.
Despite the Rangers possessing more pop at the start the period; at the 4:48 mark, Johnston forced a turnover, the Islanders had a 3 x 2 odd-man rush, and Matt Martin, from a mere few feet away, beat CZAR IGOR. Hunt tried to block the shot, but I had a better shot of blocking Boomer’s son-in-law from my couch.
2-0, bad guys, and a deflating goal allowed to say the least. After all, this goal was the first Isles’ SOG of the period.
No joke, the “M” in M$G may as well have stood for “Morgue” on this night, as the Garden Faithful were as listless as the Rangers themselves – a complete 180 from the last time when these two teams played. (Of course, some St. Patrick’s Day pregame boozing could have been a part of that too!)
Following a big save from Igor; Sam and Joe cackled like two old hens playing canasta, when talking about an Islander fan sitting next to a Ranger fan. Riveting material.
With 13:03 to go, Lindgren was boxed after high-sticking Zach “his numbers suck Sam, but he’s phenomenal” Parise.
For what it’s worth, I thought Parise embellished this penalty, but calling embellishment penalties are now a thing of the past.
Barclay Goodrow had the best scoring chance during these two minutes, where the PKer was stopped by Varly. It looked like Varly was trying to dodge this shot – rather than playing it cleanly.
Goodrow wasn’t done just yet, as he’d later block two shots on this same PK.
At the end of the kill, Adam Fox tripped on the Isles’ blue line, as his edge gave out. He stayed with the play and pushed the puck up ice, which then prevented an Isles’ breakaway. Later on, this was named as the Rangers highlight of the game – Fox’s skate blade breaking. Incredible.
With 8:35 to go, the Rangers survived a fifty second Islander attack.
On the next Rangers possession, there was a lot of traffic in front of Varly’s net. As the goalie tried to regain his bearings, Filip Chytil slammed a shot into the East River.
With 6:04 to go, Reaves was boxed for high-sticking Cizikas. The Rangers killed this power-play pretty easily.
Under three minutes remaining, Panarin displayed his hands and got the puck to Trouba. Trouba bombed the puck to kingdom come, rather than putting the puck on net. Again, just an off-night.
Following Trouba’s miss, CZAR IGOR stopped Henrik Lundqvist killer Jean-Gabriel Pageau from a foot away. This was the loudest that M$G would ever get; as following the save, the “IGOR! IGOR! IGOR!” chants broke out.
With just one second remaining, Igor stopped Josh Bailey.
2-0 bad guys after forty minutes, where once again, the Rangers led every pertinent stat except the one that mattered most.
I won’t lie to you – at the time, I really thought that the Rangers would comeback. After all, after watching this team all season – I had every reason to think this way. However, that’s all it was – a good thought.
The highlight of the period was this:
Method Man is at the Isles v. Rangers game at Madison Square Garden wearing a Ryan Reaves jersey…
— Jennifer X. Williams (@JenXperience) April 2, 2022
“OH JOE, METHOD MAN JOE! CASH RULES EVERYTHING AROUND ME JOE!”
Seriously, there’s no way in hell that Sam Rosen knew who Method Man was. However, thinking about Rosen in a yellow logo Wu-Tang Clan shirt has me cracking up. (I have to find something to be happy about after this horseshit game! I always try to find the silver lining whenever I can!)
“SAM, THE 36 CHAMBERS ARE FABULOUS! DOLLA DOLLA BILL SAM!”
Also worth bringing up here? An Igor shutout would’ve paid you $700 off a $100 bet. A Varly shutout? $1500 off that same $100 bet. As you may know already – I backed the wrong goalie tonight.
2:47 into the final frame, and following another wide shot (Nemeth on this occasion, one of many who put pucks nowhere near Varly tonight); Barzal got the puck, and got all alone with Igor. A backhander then increased the deficit to three.
3-0, bad guys.
In what could’ve been a turning point of the game, and I stress the word “COULD’VE;” at about the 3:45 mark, Lindgren laid a clean, hard and legal hit on Beauvillier. A few seconds later, Lee retaliated and laid a dirty hit on Lindgren. In turn, Lee was boxed for interference.
Now with a power-play and a three-goal deficit to erase; the vaunted Rangers power-play had no wattage on this night. (I know that’s corny, but just go with it.)
The best chance the Rangers had here was with thirteen seconds remaining, when Varly struggled and juggled a shot off of the blade of Lafreniere. However, Varly successfully made the stop and the power-play was killed.
Once Lee got out of the box, Goodrow made a bee-line at him. The two went to fight, but instead, both men quickly fell to the ice. The refs then broke it up, but they also gave Goodrow an extra two minutes for an unsportsmanlike conduct.
The Rangers penalty kill actually had two chances here, but the Isles came out of it unscathed, as they stopped Motte and Fox.
Andrew Copp, who probably could’ve had a hat trick tonight had things went his way; had two chances after the kill, but couldn’t capitalize after strong passes from both Fox and Panarin.
With 7:38 to go, Gallant pulled Igor. Down by three, why not?
However, just thirty seconds later, and a faceoff in the Rangers’ zone, Igor returned to the net and stayed there for the rest of the game.
The Islanders then clamped down for the remainder of the game and that was that. There’s nothing else really worth mentioning.
3-0, bad guys.
Worst loss of the season? I’m not sure. The most uncharacteristic loss? Definitely.
Here’s “The Turk” after the game, a head coach who was much harder on his team (and as he should be) than I was during this blog:
This is the angriest we’ve seen Gallant all season. I think the Rangers will most certainly take notice of his comments.
Earlier during this blog, I said, “call me a homer, call me too positive, call me delusional, call me what you want…”
The same applies to what I’m about to say next – the Rangers will blow out the Flyers by four goals or more on Sunday.
On Thursday evening, Ron Duguay’s “Up in the Blue Seats” returned with a new episode. To listen to it, click the link below:
— Ron Duguay (@RonDuguay10) April 1, 2022
Of note: on this episode, Ron Duguay talks about how he met Sarah Palin and how the two got together. (In an act of “millennialism” – he “slid” into her DMs!)
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 $25 a pop (includes shipping price) through me directly. Here is all the information on that:
Here are my last few blogs, in case you missed them:
NYR/DET 3/30 Review: Copp’s Overtime Game Winner and Kreider’s Historic PPG Propels Struggling Georgiev & Blueshirts to Victory; Find-A-Way NYR Do It Again, CK46 Chasing JJ68, Breadman Bakes Three Points; Third Line Rolls, Tree of Trouba & More
NYR/PIT 3/29 Review: “Trouba’z Treehouse Gang” Dominates Again; Rangers Own Pens; “CK45,” Broadway Braden, CZAR IGOR, Garden of Dreams/Lundqvist/M$GN, No More “Rhiannon;” Tarmo Traded, Wolfpack Report, 2021-22 Team Chasing History, Gallant & More
NYR/BUF 3/27 Review: Frank Vatrano Cooks Up Two Spicy Meatballs; Miller’s Dessert in OT Wins It, Lafreniere & Copp Shining, Gallant’s Gang & Decisions Continue to Roll, Hartford Wolfpack Report, Georgiev, Strome, Fox, The Excruciating M$GN Broadcast & More
If you haven’t already, subscribe to this blog for the next update:
Up next: Rangers vs Flyers, Sunday night, at M$G. The Rangers have to win this game against the beat-up and beat-down Broad Street bullies.
As always here, thanks for reading and…
LET’S GO RANGERS!