“We found a way to get it done. You play a team four times in a row and come out with four wins. I don’t care what it looks like, I don’t care how many leads you blew, it doesn’t matter, it really doesn’t [matter] if you find ways to win. That being said, we certainly understand that if we are going to have success we’ve got to play better. We know that; that isn’t lost on us, not lost on the coaches or the players, but that team [the Devils] is going to give people fits and Lindy has them going.” – Rangers head coach David Quinn, on 4/18/21, moments after the Rangers 5-3 victory over the Devils. Of course, David Quinn can now speak this way, after his team escaped from this game as a victor. I couldn’t imagine what would be going on right now, had the Rangers choked this game away.
“We obviously went with him [Georgiev] because back-to-back games and Shesty’s track record. Georgie, I think is 19-4 with four days rest over the last two years. He’s a good goalie. It isn’t like we feel we have to keep playing Shesty over and over again, although Shesty has certainly elevated his game, but Georgie earns an opportunity to play and you are going to need two goalies down the stretch here. There is a lot of hockey played in a short period of time and we’ve got a lot of faith in Georgie.” – DQ, once again on 4/18/21, when explaining his decision of going with Georgiev instead of CZAR IGOR in net today. More on this decision to come.
“I just think that Libor’s game has dropped just a little bit and Libor puts a lot of pressure on himself and sometimes the best thing to do is maybe take a step back. I kind of like what I’ve seen out of Bitteto, even though we don’t practice a lot, we think he gives us a little calming influence back there, makes good decisions with the puck, so that was the thought process there.” – DQ, one last time on 4/18/21, on his decision regarding shaking up the line-up on Sunday and changing up his defensive pairings.
Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. Whew part two!
In a game that featured a rare start time of 3PM, the “Find-A-New-Way-To-Lose” Rangers almost did just that. After the Rangers raced out to another quick 3-0 lead, by the time the 5:30 mark of the third period had hit, the Devils had erased the Rangers three goal lead, by scoring three unanswered goals themselves. Similar to the game from 26 hours prior, once again, the Rangers took their foot off of the gas and allowed the Devils to march themselves back into it. Thankfully, for our beloved Blueshirts, at least for one game here, the team shed their “Find-A-New-Way-To-Lose” label, exchanging it for a label of “Nothing-Ever-Comes-Easy.” Of the two labels, I’ll take the latter.
Without question, this was a game that the Rangers had to win. Up 3-1 going into the third period, you felt great. However, behind terrible defense in the final period again, where neither K’Andre Miller and the newly reinserted into the line-up Anthony Bitetto looked any good and/or as good as we know they can be; the Rangers allowed the Devils to tie this game. And when Nico Hischier tied the game early into the third period, you had dark thoughts in your mind. Heck, at the time, your puckered-up five-hole felt like it sucked itself all the way up to your mouth; where really, that is pretty much an accurate description regarding the performances of Sam Rosen and Joe Micheletti today, which I’ll later get into.
This should be a joyous time for Ranger fans. After all, the Rangers are now fresh off of a four-game sweep over their Hudson River rivals in the New Jersey Devils. Even better, with this win, the Rangers are now on a season high four-game winning streak. That said, some of the air from this Rangers victory balloon has escaped, because just like the air from that imaginary balloon, the Rangers escaped with this win too. What could’ve been a statement game quickly turned into a sigh of relief. At the end of the day, two points is two points and you’ll take it.
Away from the Rangers nearly choking this game away, where really, had they done that, it would’ve been hellfire and brimstone throughout the streets of Rangerstown, USA; there were some highlights out of the Rangers on Sunday.
As talked about last night, the Kids Line struggled immensely on Saturday, during “KIDS DAY” at M$G. A day later, the Kids Line and Vitali Kravtsov, all made their presence felt. That’s hockey Suzyn! “WELL JAWN, TAWK ABOUT DUH IRONY!”
Prior to the Rangers third period malaise, Chris Kreider scored the game’s opening goal, a power-play goal at that, after a great pass from the birthday boy in Mika Zibanejad.
(And if you watched this game on the M$GN, it was mentioned no less than 867867867679678967896 times that Mika was celebrating a birthday. Whether it’s Vally talking about his legendary 46 game career 8783434347007 times a broadcast, Joe Micheletti saying the word “FABULOUS” 87384783784783 times during a three hour time block or Sam Rosen openly rooting for the other team 2372722838 times a broadcast; this much is known – M$GN sure loves the idea of overkill. And that also includes the never-ending ads for gambling outfits, where by the end of the season, I hope Brendan Smith decks that Fan-Duel douche.)
As I’ll get into during the game recap/review portion of the blog, similar to Saturday, the Devils were the better 5 vs 5 team for the majority of this game. While that’s not good for the Rangers, what was good to see, was the Rangers blocking shots for the returning Alexandar Georgiev, after blocking so many shots for CZAR IGOR during these past three games. All in all, the Rangers blocked 10 shots for Georgiev in the first period. Unfortunately, as the game progressed, the Rangers would get away from blocking shots. John Tortorella would’ve been pissed!
If there was anything that made you fist-pump like an oranged-faced “Jersey Shore” derelict, it was watching the Kid Line and Kravtsov contribute. Kravtsov scored after a one-timer in the first period. Five minutes into the second period, Alexis Lafreniere finished off Devils goaltender MacKenzie Blackwood too. When you see plays like this being made, it makes you hopeful in regards to the future of this franchise. Later on, with just three minutes remaining in regulation, Mika Zibanejad scored his power-play goal; the game winning goal, as the Rangers wind up not only sweeping the Devils during these four consecutive games among these rivals, but win the season-series 6-2 as well.
There’s a lot to get into tonight, in another blog that rivals the size of a “CIA docket”. (Thanks for this description Mike the Esquire!) I’m also getting a late start with this blog, because just as the game ended, I received a “Face-Time” call from my three year old niece, who told me that it’s not a good idea to pick your nose while in bed. Not for nothing, that’s some pretty solid and sage-like advice.
In any event, I now present to you the PLUGS segment.
Here are my last few blogs, in case you missed them:
NYR/NJD 4/17 Review: Rangers Almost Blow It; Buchnevich Blows Out Birthday Cake and the Devils Out with a Hat Trick Instead, Great Games Out of the Fat Cats on “Kids Day”, M$GN’s Never-Ending Parade of Jinxes, Rangers Set New Streak; Look To Bust Out the Broom on Sunday, DQ, Igor vs Georgiev & More
NYR/NJD 4/15 Review: “Shuttin’ Out the Devils” Part Deux! Rangers Shot Blocking Propels Igor to Back-to-Back Shutouts, Breadman Perfection; Devils Look Like a Yeast Infection, Big Games for Trouba & Lindgren, NYR’s Dominant Second Line; Kreider Demoted to Fourth Line, Lindy Ruff Screws Kravtsov; Kravtsov All Smiles Anyway, Ron Duguay’s “Up in the Blue Seats” Podcast Review; Interesting Take on Panarin vs “KGB”, M$GN & More
NYR/NJD 4/13 Review: CZAR IGOR Records First Ever NHL Shut-Out; Rangers Eke By AHL Devils, Krazy For Kravtsov > Cuckoo For Kakko; “The Zodiac Killer” Kravstov Impresses Again, Mika Actually Scores a GWG, NYR’s Lack of Moves at NHL Deadline; What Lies Ahead, Fabulous Micheletti, Tony DeAngelo Speaks Out, NYR Ink Zac Jones & The Team’s Depth of Defensemen, Breadman Bakes History, Blackwell, Smith, Standings Update & More
With no practice, pregame skate or media interviews before the game, we were left to speculate on what DQ was going to do. Going into this game, I thought the line-up would be the same as it has been and thought Igor would get a chance to close out the Devils. Instead, neither of these things would happen.
Around 1:30PM, 90 minutes before game-time, I was tipped off that Anthony Bitetto would be making his return to the line-up today. Here’s yours truly pulling an “INSIDERRRR”, with a breaking news tweet:
I’m hearing Anthony Bitetto returns today from someone who would know. No way for me to confirm this. Guess we will find out at 3pm, since MSGN rarely shares the line up on the pregame show! #nyr
— BlueCollarBlueShirts (@NYCTheMiC) April 18, 2021
Of note for other fellow aspiring bullshit bloggers (non-reporters) out there. If you have a source that says you can run something, this is how you do it. You don’t make up stories about players stealing pucks, being an -ist or any other sort of fake news bullshit. This way, in the event that your source is wrong (assuming you didn’t just make things up for site traffic/social media followers in the first place) you won’t have the Team President calling you out as a bonafide liar! (Hi Adam!)
An hour before the game, the Rangers tweeted out the following:
I know I’ve done this rant as often as Vally talks about his career during M$GN broadcasts, but this is example number 786786667867896896896 of both the NHL and NYR shoving gambling advertisements down your throat, but not giving you any inkling of what the line-up will be until nearly puck drop.
For a league desperate to present themselves as ass up and willing for insertion to gambling outfits, the NHL needs to be a sharing lover. Gambling and the NHL will never take off, nor even sniff 1/100th of the business that the NFL does, until the league mandates that line-ups be announced and with an ample amount of time before puck drop. In addition, the NHL also needs to get rid of the vague injury descriptions.
I know it’s hockey tradition to not tell your opponent who is hurting on your team and where they are hurting, but you can’t have it both ways here, in regards to being an infected partner of the gambling world. You can’t just put your toes in the water here – you have to belly flop off of the high diving board, for this relationship to produce any type of success.
At 2:54PM, six minutes to puck drop, the M$GN announced the line-up, where as mentioned, the only changes were Bitetto for Hajek and Georgiev for Igor:
And to prove to you that I’m not above hypocrisy, let’s now go to the GAMBLING segment of tonight’s manifesto!
Here’s what I said prior to puck drop:
Season over-under record: 18-24-2
I’ll take the over on the -5.5 as the Rangers finish the sweep with a blowout. pic.twitter.com/vP0C5yMVBG
— BlueCollarBlueShirts (@NYCTheMiC) April 18, 2021
While I didn’t get the “blowout” part correct, although at one point it was heading that way, I did get the sweep prediction right. More importantly, with eight total goals, the OVER hit. I’m now 19-24-2 on the season, and like the Rangers themselves, I need to go on a winning streak!
BOX SCORE time.
The following information and graphics come from the new world-wide leader in NHL coverage, in ESPN.com.
The M$GN pregame show opened up with Giannone telling us that Georgiev was going in net. I talked in-depth about why I would’ve went with CZAR IGOR in this game during last night’s blog, so if I won’t rehash why I thought Igor should’ve went today. Even with the win and Georgiev playing well, I still think Igor should’ve went today and Georgiev should’ve went on Tuesday against the Islanders; a game that Igor will most likely start now.
In the latest fake news stats out of the junk drawer of Mr. Valiquette, Vagistat went on-and-on about “HIGH DANGER PASSES”. “HIGH DANGER” is a phrase that needs to be eradicated from the hockey community, because none of this crap ever determines the outcome of the game. As seen recently with both the Rangers and during that last Islander game with the Bruins, “HIGH DANGER” chances or shots mean shit. It’s all about how you EXECUTE. You can have 7364767868 chances and passes, but if you can’t score, none of this crap means a damn, which really sums up all of Vally’s fake news stats. (It also sums up Sunday night’s Isles/Flyers game too.)
After giving us his garbage, Vally mentioned he played in the NHL once. You don’t say. I counted Vally mentioning his Hall of Fame career three times on the broadcast, and who knows how many more times he mentioned it on the post-game show. (I didn’t watch the post-game show, as that is when I was talking with my niece, regarding the HIGH DANGER chances of a bloody nose, in the event that you pick your nose in bed. I’m sure her BLOODY BOOGERS EXPECTED STATS were more on point than whatever drivel squirted out of Vally’s mouth.)
In another example of M$G pandering, during the M$GN gambling segment, Vally went to fist-bump Giannone over their picks. Giannone shrieked like a young girl seeing a mouse, and told Vally to keep his distance. While I’d urge everyone to stay away from Vally and his nonsense to begin with anyway; Giannone said he wanted Vally to maintain his social distance of six feet. Of course, both of these guys are tested for the virus prior to every broadcast, and for all we know, may have been vaccinated too. This just reminded me of the stuff with Gingras and wearing a mask when all alone inside of an empty M$G. Also of note, those stools during those “Bud Light Bar” segments don’t seem to be six feet apart either. All of this is just silly.
I will try to limit myself from trashing Rosen and Micheletti during the game recap/review, but these two were maddening today. I’ve talked about these two doing the cheerleader routine for the Rangers opponent previously, but it was never as bad as it was today. At one point, I was waiting to see a shot of Rosen and Micheletti in-studio, while wearing Devils facepaint, ala David Puddy from “Seinfeld”.
No joke, these two were OBSESSED and INFATUATED with Nolan “Not Ryan” Foote making his NHL debut on behalf of the Devils. When Foote assisted on the game-tying goal, which meant that the Rangers had blown a 3-0 lead; these two sounded like they jerked each other off to kingdom come, in their orgasmic celebration of Foote’s first NHL assist. Put it this way, you heard more joy and giddiness out of Rosen and Micheletti, when Foote picked up an assist than you did when, you know, Vitali Kravtsov of the home team New York Rangers, scored his first NHL goal.
Outside of having a sick love-affair for Nolan Foote, these two also raved about Marian Studenic, who picked up his first NHL goal today too. I don’t even think Kenny Daneyko roots for the Devils as much as Beavis and Michelettihead do.
I don’t think I’m going overboard here, because I had some of you share these same exact feelings with me during the game.
Again, I’ll try not to sound redundant about this all blog, but let me frame this for you perfectly – in a 3-3 game, again, where the Rangers blew a three goal lead in and needed to win; Sam and Joe were acting like life-long Devil fans. It was sickening and just writing about it right now makes me want to vomit.
I know M$GN tries to present this whole big “happy family” environment, since they also own the airing rights of the Islanders and Devils, but I can 100% tell you this – not one Ranger fan wants to hear Sam and Joe fingerbang each other in their praise of the Devils and Islanders.
After Micheletti used the word “FABULOUS” three times and after reminding us that it was Mika’s birthday for the 76786786th time; we had puck drop, where Ryan Strome lost the first draw of the game. In fact, Strome took all three opening of a period face-offs in this game and lost all three of them. Even worse, for a Ryan Strome who has played great this year, his face-off issues were so bad today, that he wound up winning only one out of the ten face-offs he took. Not good.
Just like Saturday’s game, it were the Devils who were better 5 vs 5, but it would be the Rangers drawing first blood.
After Georgiev denied Jack Hughes on a point-blank shot in the first 30 seconds of the game, Rosen started his never-ending love affair with Nolan Foote, which as mentioned, would go on throughout the duration of the broadcast.
In an early chance for the Rangers, Trouba put a SOG, and as Blackwell was going for the rebound, the Devils swooped in to prevent the damage.
While I’ve stated in the past that I hope Bitetto does well, since he’s a LI guy, he’s a Ranger and because we have mutual friends; admittedly his return today didn’t go so well. To spin it any other way would be me lying to you.
In fact, you can pin the Devils second and third goals of the game on Bitetto a bit too. In his first gaffe of the game, a gaffe that didn’t wind up becoming a Devils goal, Miles Wood would split the Smith/Bitetto pairing, but the puck went just past Wood as he was going to Georgiev. Had this puck traveled just a hair slower, Wood would’ve had an easy one-on-one SOG here.
As we hit five minutes played, the Devils had a long shift against the Kids Line, where Georgiev stood tall.
At the 5:23 mark of the period, after the Trouba Train demolished Johnsson with a clean and open ice hit, both Nico Hischier and PK Subban jumped Trouba. Again, this was a CLEAN HIT, but you can understand the Devils getting riled up here, especially with the way their season is going. However, due to these two Devils looking to avenge Johnsson, Hischier was boxed for roughing. In turn, the Rangers would get their first of five power-plays here.
58 seconds into the power-play, Chris Kreider, fresh off his “A-Rod” empty net goal from Saturday, kicked off the scoring:
Not sure what’s better, Kreider’s power play goal, or that incredible pass from the birthday boy!
The answer: both pic.twitter.com/R5LpmBWmBf
— Rangers on MSG2 (@RangersMSGN) April 18, 2021
1-0, GOOD GUYS!
On this goal, after some effective passing, Mika made the last pass. Mika teased shooting the puck, but at the last second, darted the puck to Kreider, a Kreider who was all alone in Blackwood’s paint. Even Kreider couldn’t mess up this tap-in play. And really, Kreider needed this goal. Of note, Panarin had the secondary assist here. He’d also have the secondary assist on the final goal of the game, so this was another “quiet” multi-point game for the Breadman; an Artemi Panarin who just continues to rack up multi-point games and in an effortless manner.
Despite the Rangers taking the quick 1-0 lead, the Devils would then take over the game for a while, where Alexandar Georgiev shone as the brightest Ranger on the ice.
Georgiev would make a bevy of saves for a while and even made a successful poke-check, denying the Devils of a one-timer in front of his net.
As the Devils continued to fire off shots, and as Georgiev made saves while the Rangers blocked ten shots in all in this period; at the 14:03 mark of the period, Vitali Kravtsov recorded his first NHL goal:
No mistaking this one, Vitaly Kravtsov gets his FIRST NHL goal! 🎉🎉🎉 pic.twitter.com/6OCujd9x71
— Rangers on MSG2 (@RangersMSGN) April 18, 2021
2-0, GOOD GUYS!
I took a perverse joy in this goal. While I’m happy to see Kravtsov get his first goal, I was ecstatic to see that this one-timer goal was set up after a perfect pass from Brett Howden; a Brett Howden that many of these virginal chart boys (and other fans, of the non-virginal chart boy variety, to be fair here) scream about on a daily basis.
Not for nothing, but after drawing a penalty that led to the Rangers scoring ways on Saturday and with this assist – this was a pretty good weekend for the Rangers 12th forward/fourth line center.
Kravtsov would later joke after the game, that this was his second NHL goal. As talked about previously on this site, Kravtsov seems to have an infectious personality where it’s easy to root for his success. It’s amazing the journey he took to get here. Hell, remember that asshole blogger (not me this time!) who criticized Kravtsov’s “cross-ice strides”? Whatever happened to that guy anyway!
Speaking of asshole bloggers, there’s no word if Tony DeAngelo stole Kravtsov’s puck or not.
All of my silly tangents aside here, at this point in the game, the score was NYR 2 – NJD 0, where the Devils were the better team, but the Rangers capitalized on their two opportunities. I can’t stress enough how good Georgiev was during all of this.
With 3:24 remaining, Rooney was boxed for interfering with Janne Kuokkanen, thus giving the Devils their first power-play of the game. Of course, Sam and Joe didn’t know what happened, but that didn’t stop them from talking a mile-a-minute here, as these two once again refused to SHUT UP and then wondered what the penalty was, after the referee had already called it out, while these two jackals were hem-hawing.
Georgiev would make two saves here, but with 56 seconds left on the Devils power-play and with 2:19 remaining in the period, he crumpled to the ice, in what was a non-contact injury. Rangers trainer Jim Ramsay made his way onto the ice, where ultimately, Georgiev had to be assisted to the locker room, as both Ramsay and Buchnevich helped him off the ice.
At the time, this looked bad, because sometimes, these non-contact injuries can be worse than contact injuries. Need I remind you of the Igor groin pull from a few weeks back? While Igor would finish out the rest of the period, by the time the second period started, Georgiev was back in net.
When Georgiev returned to the net, both Sam and Joe assumed Georgiev’s left leg had cramped up. It seems that wasn’t the case, as after the game, both Georgiev and DQ alluded to a recurring knee injury that Georgiev has and how Ramsay had to put Georgiev’s knee back into place. I assume that means the knee-cap. Whatever the event, Georgiev was fine and no major damage done.
For Igor, he would have to enter this game cold and while the Devils were on the power-play. The Rangers made it easy for him, as Igor only had to make one easy short-handed save. Igor would make one more save with 14 seconds to go in the first period, which would be his last save of the game and the period.
2-0, GOOD GUYS, after twenty. Things were looking good.
After our regular comment of, “SECOND PERIOD, WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR HERE JOE?” <Someone putting a “Foote” in your mouth Sam!> Strome lost the opening draw.
The Devils, as they did in the first period, continued their even-strength dominance, which in turn, allowed us to see that Georgiev was fine. Georgiev would continue to rack up the saves here. Then on a Rangers scoring chance, and I forget who, a Devil broke up a Rangers second line scoring opportunity. Micheletti said this was “FABULOUS”. What a dick.
As we approached the five minute mark, Georgiev would make two more saves. 17 seconds past the five minute mark, this happened:
Now, that’s a beaut pic.twitter.com/Bc4EdoQGRs
— Rangers on MSG2 (@RangersMSGN) April 18, 2021
3-0, GOOD GUYS!
On this goal, Tennyson hit Lafreniere from behind, after Lafreniere had scored, which sent Lafreniere flying into Blackwood. I’m sure Blackwood was thrilled about that. Immediately after, every other skater got into a scrum, where somehow, not one penalty was called. If anything, Tennyson should’ve been boxed here for intent to injure. There was no reason for this hit and the refs let it go. By not calling this, the Devils would get dirty for the remainder of the game.
And real quick, since I saw this in my “Twitter Mentions”, I’d be hard-pressed to be upset about the Rangers not dumpster diving with these buttholes. The Rangers were up 3-0. There was no reason to take dumb penalties and/or risk suspension. That said, I get you can’t be taken advantage of either, but I never thought it got to the point where it was time for Smith to deck someone.
Of note, after previously working on Georgiev and on Adam Fox, Ramsay worked on Lafreniere. It was a busy day for the guy who once threw smelling salts at my good friend TEN O’CLOCK TOMMY! (Full story in last night’s blog.)
After Micheletti erupted with his 10th usage of the word “FABULOUS” on the broadcast, Georgiev made two more saves. At the time and on social media, I tweeted out this statement: “Let’s see if Joe brings up the “dreaded three goal lead” again.” I shit you not, not even a minute later, Micheletti brought up the three goal lead and how the Rangers could blow it. Again, who is he calling games for, the Rangers or the Devils?
With 11:03 to go in the period, Georgiev continued his HOOVER act, as he continued to suck all the dirt out of the filthy Devils. As we got under 10 minutes in the period, and with 9:35 remaining, Marian Studenic, who both Sam and Joe held a torch for all game, boarded Lindgren from behind. This was a dangerous hit that was penalized as a cross-check. Only two minutes for this act of cowardice.
The Rangers had a good looking power-play here, with many shots on goal, but they couldn’t finish. The Devils would get their kill here.
With 5:41 to go in the period, Jack Hughes tripped Anthony Bitetto while in the Rangers d-zone. Horrendous penalty for the first overall pick of the 2019 NHL Draft. Even worse was Jack Shit’s reaction, as he threw a tantrum that even Sidney Crosby would laugh at. In turn, Hughes got another ten minutes tacked onto his tripping penalty.
This Rangers power-play was brutal here, as the Rangers couldn’t get anything going during this opportunity. The Devils got their kill once again, where just like Saturday, it didn’t seem big at the time; but you were thinking about it when the game was 3-3.
After Georgiev gloved a Nico backhander, with 65 seconds to go in the period, Maltsev scored. 3-1, good guys.
This goal was the end result of some questionable defense and with the Devils charging the net. Georgiev tried some acrobatics here in an attempt to make the save, but Maltsev powered through, much to the delight of Sam and Joe.
At the final horn of this period, where Smith got in Subban’s face after some Devils cheekiness with Kravtsov, the Rangers remained up 3-1. Twenty minutes to go. No one knew what we’d be in store for.
I don’t know where the phrase “shit-show” originated from, but if there was ever a textbook example of the phrase “shit-show”, it was this third period, or at the very least, the first 17 minutes of it.
After Strome lost another face-off, not even a minute into the period, Hischier hit a post. “The Rangers got lucky there Sam!” Again, what a dick.
If there’s one Ranger Micheletti likes, it’s Jacob Trouba, as Trouba, in what feels like the 20th consecutive time, was named the “insert worthless advertiser here” defenseman of the game.
After Joe talked about the Rangers defense, Jinxin’ Joe struck again, as Studenic scored, just 1:53 into the period. 3-2, good guys. Sam couldn’t have been any happier. On this goal, Studenic broke the Rangers defense and got all alone with Georgiev, on one of those 50/50 type of saves a goaltender has to make.
For whatever the case, the Rangers got away from the good stuff they were doing. Panarin, our all world and elite all-star, found himself alone with the puck. Rather than shooting, he waited for the Devils defense to catch up, skated around the net and turned the puck over.
At this point, after Blackwood stopped Fox, Sam Rosen would just not shut up about Nolan Foote. We even got video of Adam Foote and his wife in the crowd during this, as Sam Rosen acted like a kid in a candy store. Then, at the 5:30 mark of the period, Nico Hischier scored. 3-3 and like many fans of the Rangers, I was in panic, nail-biting, and nervous fart gas mode.
The Rangers continued to make things hard on themselves, because despite possessing the puck and with Blackwood without his stick, the Rangers didn’t even put a shot on goal. However, the Rangers would get another break at the 7:37 mark, when one of Rosen’s favorite players, in Marian Studenic, was sent to the penalty box again; this time for holding Panarin.
With the game on the line and on the power-play, the Rangers put forth their worst power-play effort of the game, where they didn’t get a shot on goal off and where the Devils didn’t have to do much, while killing this penalty with ease.
As the clock went under ten minutes in regulation, Howden had a vacated net to shoot at, but just as he was about shoot, Blackwood kicked the puck away.
After Jack Hughes burnt Miller for what might’ve been the fourth or fifth time Miller was beat in the game, Georgiev denied Hughes. Georgiev really buckled down here, as he’d also stop Subban here too.
As Sam and Joe continued to shower the Devils with praise, Adam Fox broke up a Devils two vs one odd-man rush, where really, this may have saved the game for the Rangers, or at the very least, kept the Rangers alive.
With Bitetto and Miller continuing to struggle, meaning that only the Fox/Lindgren pair were reliable, by the time the FOXWOODS FINAL FIVE mark hit, the Rangers only had 3 SOG in the period.
Once the Devils tied the game, you felt the worst was about to happen. While it never came, it’s not because of a lack of effort out of the red and black attack. Just under five minutes to go, the Devils would get another odd-man rush, but the Devils got too excited and messed it up.
At around the 4:30 mark, and with Kreider already stripped from the PP1 unit where Buchnevich took his place; Kreider was demoted to the second line, as Panarin replaced him. This was Quinn’s way of going with his top 1-2 punch from last season, in Mika and Panarin.
With 4:10 to go and after already squandering three other power-play chances, the Rangers would get another power-play, this time after Ryan Murray high-sticked Kakko.
During a power-play they had to score on, the Rangers brought the drama. After losing some face-offs and shooting wide, the birthday boy avenged his previous sins from this game and finished the job:
Happy Birthday Mika Zibanejad 🎂 Nothing like a birthday goal AM I RIGHT!! pic.twitter.com/tttq8Z8nKq
— Rangers on MSG2 (@RangersMSGN) April 18, 2021
4-3, GOOD GUYS, a much needed power-play goal, as Mika found the top of the cupboard after a great pass from Ryan Strome.
To the Rangers credit, they tried to give this game away again, as after this PPG, Buchnevich made an unnecessary homerun pass for a turnover.
With 1:23 to go, Blackwood was pulled for the extra attacker. The Devils could really never set up their attack fully here, and after a pass from Blackwell that left Strome three or so feet away from the empty net, PK Subban blatantly hooked Strome from behind, thus awarding Strome with a goal. You don’t see these types of goals very often, but you’ll take it. 5-3, GOOD GUYS, 5-3 your final.
As I said at the top of this, I’m so glad this series is over and I’m even happier that the Rangers swept it. Had the Rangers dropped this game, it would’ve erased all the good-will from the first three wins of this four-game set.
The Rangers once again did their part today, but as has been the case throughout this four-game series, haven’t received any help from the outside. I know some fans will say, “just do you”, but with 11 games left in this truncated 2021 season, the outside help is going to have come, in order for the Rangers to make the playoffs.
From the Rangers end of things, while no game is a “gimmie”, especially with the way the Rangers routinely blow leads; the Rangers schedule isn’t as bad as it could be.
In the Rangers next six games, they will play the following teams, and in this order: Islanders, Flyers, Flyers, Sabres, Sabres, Islanders. Without question, the Rangers need to handle business and pick up those 8 points against the bottom feeding Flyers and Sabres.
Now this is where things are out of the Rangers hands. As you know, the Islanders are scumbags. Originally, it was thought for the Rangers to have any shot at the playoffs, that aside from handling their own end, they’d have to catch the Bruins. With the Islanders folding like a cheap suit to Boston in their recent two-game series, it now looks like the Rangers may have to catch the Islanders.
Of course, after losing those two games to the Bruins, the Islanders won a 1-0 OT game against Philly on Sunday night. Had the Islanders lost, the Rangers would’ve owned their own fate, even if that fate meant winning every game of the season.
Again, assuming the Rangers do their part and continue to win, it might be easier to catch the Islanders than the Bruins; a Bruins team that hasn’t lost since trading for Taylor Hall. In addition, the Bruins have two games in hand over the Rangers as well. Since the Rangers are done with Pittsburgh for the season, I’m not including them here.
The Rangers have three games left with the Islanders and two games left with the Bruins. If the Rangers can continue to beast on the bad teams and win all three games against a struggling Islander team, (even if they did win today) they’d be two points out of a playoff spot.
I know all of this is looking far ahead, but what else are we supposed to do as fans, and with 11 games left on the schedule?
When it comes to the Islanders and the Bruins, the Bruins are playing better hockey, while the Islanders, after beating up on the Devils and Sabres all season, are now somewhat getting exposed against the better teams of the division. While I get what the Devils are, the Rangers are enjoying their longest winning streak of the season. Unlike the Islanders who once failed at this, the Rangers must “DRIVE FOR FIVE” come Tuesday night, against these Islander douchebags. (Of note, expect Sam and Joe to be rooting for the Islanders in that game. “OH JOE, MATT MARTIN JOE, HE GIVES ME AN ERECTION JOE!” “SAM, BONERS ARE FABULOUS!”)
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I believe the Rangers are practicing tomorrow, despite coming off a back-to-back and three games in four nights. If anything really breaking comes out of that, I’ll return tomorrow night. If not, I’ll be back on Tuesday, looking at Rangers vs Islanders Part Six.
Stay FABULOUS my friends.
Until then, and as always here, thanks for reading and…
LET’S GO RANGERS!
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