Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. While a 4-0 final didn’t hit for the third time in a row; the Rangers have now shutout their opponents during their last three consecutive games played. Not too shabby for a team that was accused of “not knowing what they are doing” – false allegations made by some of these moronic mooks of the ANALytical community!
For those who don’t know already; I attended the Rangers’ 3-0 victory over the Winnipeg Jets from Tuesday night at M$G. In other words – the GAME REVIEW and this recap won’t be as detailed and lengthy as usual.
Unless I get a free ducat for Thursday night’s game; “regular blog programming” will return 48 hours from now, when the Rangers travel to M$G Nassau, which of course – is the IBS Arena at Belmont.
I should also mention here that I’m starting this blog way later than usual, haven’t read one ounce of feedback, haven’t looked much at my social media timelines, and am pretty much writing all of this off the top of my head; rather than referring to my “Tweeter Notebook” as I normally do.
In addition, I may have had a few pops and belts prior to writing this blog. So please ignore any typos and “grammeticel eras” tonight!
While I don’t know how this game came across on television; I can tell you that, while live and in living color – this was the CZAR IGOR show.
That said, it’s not like Jets’ goaltender Eric Comrie was bad or anything like that either. This was pretty much a goaltenders’ duel, where two deflections, deflections that favored the Rangers, were the difference.
As someone who has seen every single Rangers’ game from this season, and has seen a bunch of them live (mostly on the road) – this game felt like a carbon copy from the first half of the season.
While collectively, as a team, the Rangers were better on Tuesday night than they were when the calendar read as 2021; this April of 2022 performance out of CZAR IGOR was just as good as any. The same goes for his teammates.
(And should CZAR IGOR continue to play like this during the warm months of the year – we’re talking about the fifth Stanley Cup in all of franchise history. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!)
If you’re a regular reader of this site, then you’re probably familiar with what I’ve been saying all season – CZAR IGOR leads the league in one-goal allowed games, where 99.9999999999% of the time, the one-goal allowed is the end result of some fluke play and/or a missed defensive assignment during a penalty kill.
If there was anything different tonight, when compared to the previous 76 games of the season; it were the Rangers on the receiving end of every fortunate “puck-luck” play imaginable, rather than their opponents receiving such luck.
Not only did the Rangers get both of their non-empty net goals this way – but CZAR IGOR got a few breaks along the way too – a rarity.
And don’t get it twisted – CZAR IGOR was lights out. At the same time, this final score could’ve been very different too.
As talked about during the last few blogs on this site; the Pittsburgh Penguins, and their neck-and-neck battle with the Rangers for second place in the division, is all but over. For the Rangers, they are now neck-and-neck with the Carolina Hurricanes for first place in the division.
While of course, tonight’s game, and the final five matches remaining, aren’t “MUST WIN” games; for the Rangers, Tuesday’s win kept the team on pace to finish first in the division. An April 26th game at M$G will most likely decide who takes the division.
As a result of this 3-0 shutout of the Jets, the updated Metropolitan Division standings now look like this:
Since the Rangers once again took care of business on Tuesday night, and knocked off another non-playoff team in the process; come Thursday night, and at the IBS Arena – should the Rangers get their revenge on the Islanders, then they can finish no worse than second place in the division.
In other words – beat the Islanders on Thursday night, and then home ice during the first round of the playoffs will be clinched.
(And of course – should the Islanders pull off the upset – the Rangers still have favorable odds of at least clinching second place anyway. Thursday night will just be the first chance to guarantee this desired finish.)
Without question – CZAR IGOR was the best Ranger on the ice tonight. However, what shouldn’t be lost in that fact is how well the team played defensively.
Sure, while there were a few gaffes mixed-in, errors that CZAR IGOR easily erased; at the same time, and as I always say on this site – the other team is paid to play hockey too.
This game, which was a scoreless back-and-forth affair for the first 35 minutes or so; finally saw the Rangers bust up the nil-nil tie during their first power-play of the game.
Following a scary looking “OLD FRIEND” Morgan Barron high-sticking penalty on Filip Chytil at the 14:19 mark of the second period; 98 seconds later, Ryan Strome deflected a puck off of the stick of Mika Zibanejad for the power-play goal, a goal which then gave the Rangers the 1-0 lead. That’s all they’d need on this night.
A period later, during the final frame of the game, Adam Fox logged the insurance 2-0 goal, as the 2021 Norris Trophy winner was set-up by “The Breadman” himself, Artemi Panarin.
With “FORT IGOR” in net, a CZAR who said “nyet, nyet” to every Jet; Strome sealed the game with an empty netter to give the Rangers the 3-0 victory.
For Gallant’s Gang, not only did they get superb goaltending once again and as usual; but the special teams, and for as limited as they were employed tonight – finished 1-2 on the power-play and 1-1 on the penalty kill.
As I always like to say on this site – “special teams swing games,” and the Rangers’ special team units most certainly did so on this night.
At this time, let’s get into the news, interviews, and of course, the main event – the GAME REVIEW.
Since I covered all of Monday’s news yesterday, there isn’t much pregame news to report to you here.
Two hours prior to puck drop, and as usual, head coach Gerard Gallant met with the media. Here’s “Turk’s” pregame chat:
For the second game in a row, Gallant revealed his starting goaltender prior to warm-ups. As you already know – CZAR IGOR got the nod.
As far as anything else, and as a result of Monday’s practice – we pretty much knew the lines going into this game too. Nothing changed on Tuesday.
Here’s what “The Turk” went with for this “Eddie Olczyk Tribute” game:
FIRST LINE: Kreider/Zibanejad/Vatrano
SECOND LINE: Panarin/Strome/Copp
THIRD LINE: Lafreniere/Chytil/Goodrow
FOURTH LINE: Hunt/Rooney/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:
Since I attended this game – I have no M$GN recap tonight – perhaps a good thing for my sanity!
I’ll probably watch the replay of this game sometime on Wednesday (especially since I know the end result was a win); but as of this writing, I didn’t see one ounce of the M$GN broadcast.
As already noted during this blog, and as stated many times on this site before – during a game, I don’t take any notes or use my phone. The only time I use my phone is to share pictures and that’s that. (I post them during TV timeouts and intermissions.)
Far too often at games, I usually spot fans on their phones all game, where I assume these fans are checking their social media timelines and/or texting. That’s not me. I want to enjoy the game and not my phone!
I also enjoyed my usual pregame drinks at the Mollie Wee, where I ran into the birthday boy himself, my buddy Dancin’ Larry:
I’m not even going to waste my time going in-depth on this again – Larry is a good guy.
I know that it’s somewhat cool for a younger generation to get on him, where I think a lot of that is rooted in jealousy – but if you know him, then you know that he’s one of the most positive fans out there. Not many love this team like he does.
Plus, for an older guy (or at least older than me) – he can drink with the best of them! It can’t be easy doing that dance every night with a belly full of beer swirling around!
And popular to contrary opinion – he doesn’t receive comp tickets. He pays for them just like anyone else.
Someone who didn’t pay for tickets tonight? This guy:
At this time, let’s now get into the live version of the GAME REVIEW.
I don’t know how you’d sum up the first 35 minutes of this game.
While some may say that these 35 minutes were “boring,” and perhaps even “sleep-inducing” too; what we saw was a back-and-forth affair, where CZAR IGOR, and the Jets’ back-up goalie, Eric Comrie, did their jobs.
That said, I can understand why some people in my section were saying that this game was as drab and bleak as the city of Winnipeg itself.
And while maybe there was a late 1990s-early 2000s New Jersey Devils vibe during the first half of the contest – isn’t that what you want?
Come the playoffs, you’ll rarely see scores of 5-1, 6-2, 7-3, etc. More times than not, you’ll see the 2-1, 3-2 and 4-2 (ENG) scores. (Plus – those Devil teams won three Stanley Cups too, which means what they did worked!)
There wasn’t much going on during the first twenty minutes, where by the end of it, the Rangers out-shot the Jets 9-6.
The best scoring chance of the period came on behalf of the Jets, where with about five minutes or so remaining, one of these ‘Peggers put a shot on goal. The puck trickled past Igor, but in a great showing of puck luck, the vulcanized rubber stopped dead on the goal line without passing it. CZAR IGOR then fell down on the puck as the hockey goaltending gods smiled down upon him.
Following that, CZAR IGOR was right back to it, and as he did whenever he could, made phenomenal passes, such as this one:
The Rangers would get some chances themselves during this first period, but none were better than this Jets’ opportunity.
After one period, a period where you were just waiting for the Rangers to do their job and finally take over; we remained scoreless.
The offense picked up during the middle stanza. CZAR IGOR also got another break, when a Jets’ try hit the iron. In this case, the Jets were forced to shoot precise, due to the way #31 was playing.
Ten minutes into the period, the half-way mark of the game; I thought that the Rangers were playing well enough – but I also thought that they were playing with fire too.
While I never count the Rangers out of any game; with the way the Jets were playing, you did have that feeling that they were due to score. Thankfully, that never happened.
The turning point of the game, at least from an offensive perspective; took place at the 14:19 mark, where as mentioned earlier during this blog, Morgan Barron high-sticked Filip Chytil.
In real-time, this penalty looked violent, as Chytil was hurting a bit. He laid on the ice for a short duration of time, but he wouldn’t miss a shift. Knowing Chytil’s history with injuries, I was expecting the worst, so I was happy to see that this was nothing serious.
What was serious, was when Ryan Strome scored the first goal of the game:
STROMER gets us on the board on the Power Play with the deflection 🙌 pic.twitter.com/1ea3kYLQjh
— x – Rangers on MSG (@RangersMSGN) April 20, 2022
1-0, GOOD GUYS, a power-play goal for #16!
This power-play goal was a “sigh of relief” goal, as it allowed the Rangers to break through first.
With the goal, the Rangers could now protect the lead with 25 minutes of regulation time remaining, rather than chase for a goal.
The Rangers would get a few chances to increase their lead during the second period, but the Jets were able to fight off their ex-teammate, Andrew Copp, and the Blueshirts’ fourth line too.
In a more offensive period than the first, the Rangers’ out-shot the Jets 14-12, where Strome’s PPG remained as the difference.
1-0, GOOD GUYS, after forty minutes of play.
Here’s some EXCLUSIVE intel for you, information that you won’t find anywhere else.
If you’re unaware, there is a downstairs bar at M$G, which can be accessed by going down the escalator near the 102 section of the arena.
(It’s also a great place to relieve your bladder too, as there are rarely any bathroom lines down there.)
The bar, now rebranded as the “CHASE LOUNGE” (it’s been called different things during seasons’ past, but it’s located in the same spot – and it’s where you can get a dinner and a buffet prior to any game too), has a coat check section.
At the coat check, you can get those “EXCLUSIVE” and “LIMITED” Henrik Lundqvist bobbleheads that the Rangers and M$GN are always hawking during every broadcast.
While you’re supposed to have some sort of special ticket and/or code; the guy who was giving these bobbleheads out wasn’t checking for such things.
I was going to cop a free one myself, but since the line was so long (everyone was going for these when I was down there during the second intermission), I passed on the opportunity of waiting twenty minutes in line for a silly toy. After all, I had bigger issues to address – getting one last beer before the third period started!
However, if you want one of these bobbleheads (and I don’t know if this was just the case tonight based on who was working there), you may as well shoot your shot. You have nothing to lose – besides time.
Once the third period began, I was thoroughly entertained by two friends in their mid-twenties, perhaps a tad inebriated on this night (nothing wrong with that), who were heckling the Jets all game.
Even though it sounds so stupid, I got a kick out of this remark:
“HEY KYLE CONNOR, YOU SMELL LIKE AN ASSHOLE!”
(Of course, having a few drinks when the Rangers are winning makes everything better!)
Right after that, the two chums were talking about the “puck line,” and other prop bets they had going on. As someone who bet on the puck line myself, I’d soon be exchanging high-fives with this funny duo near the mid-way point of the final frame.
Just 81 seconds into the period, Miller was busted for high-sticking Blake Wheeler. From my vantage point (and maybe it looked differently on television), I thought this was an erroneous call. Then again, I’m a homer too!
Towards the end of the penalty kill, one that proved successful; Nikolaj Ehlers tripped Kevin Rooney. The Rangers then went on a power-play, a man-advantage that didn’t produce a goal like the first one. That said, in all, the special teams finished two of three on the night, and you can’t complain about that.
As Igor continued to make save-after-save, at the 11:47 mark, Adam Fox gave the Rangers some breathing room:
Panarin domination ➡️ Fox finish pic.twitter.com/jpA2rzq8p2
— x – Rangers on MSG (@RangersMSGN) April 20, 2022
2-0, GOOD GUYS!
With the primary assist on this goal, combined with his secondary assist on Strome’s PPG; Artemi Panarin, in this season full of milestones, record breaking, and historical achievements; #10 is now the single-season franchise leader for most multi-point games.
Now with a two-goal lead, the Jets weren’t done yet. Neither was CZAR IGOR.
Igor, who made thirteen saves in all during this period, made two phenomenal stops as the Rangers closed out. One of those saves took place with 5:16 remaining, when Igor made his best save yet, when he denied a Jet of a breakaway goal.
With 2:07 to go, the Jets took a timeout and pulled their goalie.
While the Jets would make it interesting for a while; it was Ryan Strome who scored the next goal of the game, the final goal of the game, with an empty netter with just 33 seconds left on the clock.
3-0 GOOD GUYS, 3-0 FINAL for your first-place (at least points-wise) New York Rangers!
How about one more look at CZAR IGOR? Here you go:
IGOR! IGOR! IGOR! pic.twitter.com/II4J2OKyp7
— x – Rangers on MSG (@RangersMSGN) April 20, 2022
I know this blog is shorter than usual, but I’m sure you understand why. I know I’m leaving a lot of stuff out.
If there’s one thing that I don’t want to omit here, it’s the fact that these 2021-22 New York Rangers still have a strong chance of surpassing the franchise records for most wins and most points set during a regular season.
The 2014-15 Presidents’ Trophy winning Rangers finished their season with 53 wins and 113 points.
With five games remaining, these 2021-22 Rangers have 50 wins and 106 points.
If these boys in Blueshirts can finish out the season with four wins during these next five games – they’ll break both records.
Once again – not too shabby for a head coach and general manager who were once accused of not knowing what they are doing by the ANALytical community!
THEY NEED BUCHNEVICH! THE HUMANITY!
Personally – what a great night out at M$G! It’s always cool to bump into readers of this site too.
I’m not sure how many playoff games I’ll get to, due to the jacked-up prices for tickets – but if this was my last game of the season – I leave on a high note!
While seeing the team win is the most important thing – to see my favorite player record a shutout -that’s a nice fat cherry on top!
Before closing out, here’s your favorite coach and mine, Gerard Gallant, talking about the big win:
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 $25 a pop (includes shipping price) through me directly. Here is all the information on that:
Here are my last few blogs, in case you missed them:
The Good News, The Bad News & The Ugly (Islanders) News: First-Place Minded & Playoff Bound Rangers Lose Kakko; Canes & Penguins Have Bigger Injury Problems, MSL & Theo Talk Analytics vs Playoffs, Messier Out-Predicts Fellow ESPN Employees, Gallant & More
NYR/DET 4/16 Review: Gallant Shuts Up Doubters; Rangers & CZAR IGOR Shut Out Detroit, 4-0 Hits Again, Lafreniere’s Best Game Yet, Kakko Injured and Update, Goody Got It, Virtual Tie For First Place, M$GN & More
The New York Rangers Continue Their Chase For First Place; Detroit Plays Spoiler, Turk Talks; Lafreniere a Fourth Liner? Goodrow, 94th Anniversary of First Stanley Cup, NYR Podcasts, RIP Mike Bossy; #22 Story & More
NYR/PHI 4/13 Review: Cheesesteak Flyers Eat Two Kakko Tacos; “Gritty” Georgiev Shuts Out Philly For Sixth Straight Win, Rangers Handle Biz Despite Poor Power-Play; Win 4-0! Lafreniere/Gallant, Goodrow = TEAM PLAYER, NHL on TNT > M$GN & More
If you haven’t already, subscribe to this blog for the next update:
Up next: the final meeting between the Rangers and the Belmont Bozos at the IBS Arena. The Rangers will look to avenge themselves in this contest.
As always here, thanks for reading and…
LET’S GO RANGERS!