“When you lose 6-1 in the fashion that we did, it certainly is humbling, that is for sure.” – Rangers head coach David Quinn, on 4/20/21, moments after the Rangers got spanked by the Islanders. If one thing is for sure, the Rangers got humbled, Iron Sheik style.
“It’s too early to answer that question, it’s just something I haven’t thought about yet.” – DQ, one more time on 4/20/21, when responding to a question concerning changing his line-up for Thursday night’s game with Philadelphia. Of the NYR beat reporters who have access to David Quinn after games, I thought Mollie Walker’s questions were the most hard-hitting. Kudos to her.
“Obviously you saw the effect it had, but I didn’t love what we were doing before he got hurt either. I thought we just weren’t playing the way we needed to play if we were gonna have a chance tonight. I thought we were sloppy, too high risk, too east/west, weren’t playing fast enough and obviously once Troubs went out, our level of play dropped even more.” – DQ, one more final time here on 4/20/21, while talking about Trouba’s injury that Trouba suffered during the first period of tonight’s mess.
Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. To quote friend of the blog in Chris C., “smoke and mirrors, smoke and mirrors.”
After completing a four-game sweep of the New Jersey Devils on Sunday afternoon, on Tuesday night, the Rangers traveled to the Nassau Mausoleum, where the Rangers promptly lost their worst game of the season. Outside of praising the Rangers fourth line and Brendan Smith, (as I’ll later do in tonight’s manifesto) there’s no way to sugarcoat this loss or attempt to find a silver lining. The Rangers flat-out sucked tonight. That recent sweep of the Devils now feels as hollow as the dinner bell at the senior’s home that Sam Rosen currently resides at. (I’m joking, Rosen isn’t in a group home, but just go with it for the joke! We all need a laugh after what happened tonight.)
I can’t lie to you. Going into this game, I 100% thought that the Rangers would win a choppy and physical affair. After all, the Islanders had been struggling prior to this game, after losing a two-game set to the Bruins and after eking by Philadelphia in a one-goal overtime contest. I thought that the Rangers, feeling good about themselves after their statement series against the Devils, would come out flying. Instead, they never even got off of the ground.
I know that you never really want to over-react to one win or one loss, but this game was an indictment on the Rangers fat cats. In a game they had to win, it wasn’t just “Casper Kreider” going ghost – it was all of the fat cats, with Trouba getting the pass here, due to his injury that knocked him out of the game in the first period. Many would argue that Trouba’s injury cost the Rangers the game. While I wouldn’t go that far, Trouba’s injury most certainly hurt the Rangers tonight.
I’m labeling this game as the worst loss of the season, and for many reasons. One of those reasons is that you can talk about ten different things tonight, in an effort to explain why the Rangers lost this game. It wasn’t just one play that did the Rangers in, it was everything, aside from Vitali Kravtsov, Brett Howden, Kevin Rooney and Brendan Smith.
There were many negative reactions out of Ranger fans and the beat reporters after this game. Many of those criticisms and “hot takes” are all valid. I’d be hard-pressed to argue with any of them. For me, and as you can tell by the headline and the photo attached to this writing; my number one take/criticism is how invisible the fat cats were tonight, which honestly, has been a major theme and talking point throughout the course of this season.
As far as other reasons explaining this loss, you can start with any of the following:
— Anthony Bitetto had another horrible game.
— Jacob Trouba’s injury, which left the Rangers with only five defensemen all game.
— The Kids Line was just as invisible as the fat cats. (And as talked about repeatedly on this site, and as you know already, expectations are higher for the fat cats than the Kids Line.)
— Igor Shestyorkin wasn’t on his A-game.
— No points out of Panarin, where the Rangers rarely win games if he doesn’t pick up a point.
— Coaching decisions, such as the starting goaltender and the defensemen.
— The inability to not get anything doing not only in the Islanders d-zone, but in-between the blue lines.
— Ineffective passing.
— Terrible team-wide defense.
To jump-ahead for a second, during the waning minutes of this disaster, Sam Rosen and Joe Micheletti were in “post-game analysis” mode, where Rosen said Georgiev should start the next NYR/NYI game, while Micheletti said goaltending wasn’t really the issue tonight. Both men were correct. That said, for a league that’s turned analytical and numbers-based, I still don’t get why Igor didn’t go on Sunday and why Georgiev didn’t get tonight’s start.
Quite frankly, I don’t think Georgiev, had he started, would’ve made that much of a difference tonight, unless he was completely lights out. After all, the Islanders had a 3-0 lead in this game, and once the Rangers made it 3-1; the Islanders didn’t trip over their feet at all and the Isles would go on to score three more unanswered goals. That said, you can play the “coulda, woulda, shoulda” what-if game here if you want. At the same time, you can’t ignore how bad the Rangers were defensively in this game either. In any event, statistically, this was the worst game of CZAR IGOR’s career, as he continues to struggle against the Islanders.
In compounding the misery, and in an effort to explain even further why this was the worst loss of the season; not only did the Rangers get trampled tonight by the disgusting Islanders, the Rangers playoff hopes took a major hit too. With just ten games remaining after tonight, it feels like the Rangers will have to win 90% of those games to have a shot. Do you really see this team winning nine games in their final ten games of the season?
While I understand that many fans did not have playoff hopes for this season, I did. I tell you this just to let you know where my head is/was at. At the end of the day, the Rangers didn’t give out all of those big contracts, just to play out a 56 game schedule and then hit the links. Of course, developing the young talent is crucial for future success, but at the same time, this team is trying to playing meaningful games as well.
Not only did the Rangers lose a “four-point” game to their most hated rival; the Boston Bruins won tonight too. Even worse, was how much trouble the Islanders were having before this game. After tonight, the Islanders are feeling pretty good about themselves and this could be a new turning point, and in a positive direction for them to boot. After all, how can it not be?
Again, to just fast-forward a bit here, before getting into this game and everything else tonight; this game was a huge blow. A win tonight would’ve closed the gap with the Islanders and would’ve kept pace with the Bruins. Instead, the Rangers are barely holding on to a life preserver.
Crazy things happen all the time in the NHL, and if the Rangers are to make the playoffs, crazy shit is going to have to happen, including the Bruins losing some games, where now, that seems impossible. The Bruins are now 5-0 since the Taylor Hall trade and still have a handful of games left with the Sabres. For the Islanders, they now have a few games with Washington on the schedule, but due to this win over the Rangers tonight, the Islanders can now afford to drop one or even two of them.
I don’t know how to accurately describe my emotions after this loss. Part of me thinks this was the worst loss this team has suffered since that 2017 playoffs series loss to the Ottawa Senators. On the other hand, I don’t know if I’m “angry” about this loss, as I think I feel more “disappointed” than “angry” after this loss.
This loss feels like when you were a little kid or a teenager, and did something bad, where your parents said, “I’m not angry at ya, I’m just disappointed.” If you’ve been there, you know that word “disappointed” hurts more than anger or rage. You’d rather take 10,000 wooden spoons to your five-hole, than hear the word “disappointed” out of the mouths of your parents, if you get what I’m laying down here.
Let’s get into everything else, including tonight’s fiasco.
Up first, and as usual, the PLUGS segment.
Here are my last few blogs in case you missed them:
NYR/NJD 4/18 Review: Rangers Handle Business; Escape Newark with a Sweep of the Dirty Devils, Sunday Funday For the Kids; Kravtsov Scores First Goal, Mika Gets His Disney Ending/Birthday Finish, Bitetto Back, Sam & Joe’s Disgusting Devotion & Fandom of the Devils, DQ’s Goalies, NHL & Gambling, Time to Catch the Islanders, Favorable Schedule Ahead & More
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
With no practice on Monday and following the four-game sweep of the Devils; the only news from Monday was that the Rangers inked Will “Lias Andersson Who?” Cuylle to an entry-level deal. The following press release comes from: https://www.nhl.com/rangers/news/rangers-agree-to-terms-with-forward-will-cuylle/c-323805730
The New York Rangers announced today that the team has agreed to terms with forward Will Cuylle on an entry-level contract.
Cuylle, 19, has skated in 13 games with the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League (AHL) this season, registering two goals and three assists for five points, along with 26 penalty minutes. He tallied his first career AHL goal/point while making his AHL debut on Feb. 7 vs. Bridgeport, and he recorded his first career AHL assist while skating in his second career AHL game on Feb. 11 at Providence. Cuylle posted his first career multi-point game in the AHL by registering two points (one goal, one assist) on Apr. 10 vs. Providence.
The 6-3, 212-pounder skated in 62 games with the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) last season, registering 22 goals and 20 assists for 42 points, along with 37 penalty minutes. He established OHL career-highs in several categories in 2019-20, including assists, points, and shots on goal (200). Cuylle tied for third on Windsor in power play goals (seven), ranked fourth in shots on goal, and ranked fifth in goals last season. Cuylle skated in 125 career OHL games over two seasons (2018-19 and 2019-20), both with Windsor, registering 48 goals and 35 assists for 83 points, along with 87 penalty minutes. He was named to the OHL’s Second All-Rookie Team in 2018-19, as he ranked fifth among OHL rookies in goals (26) and ranked seventh among OHL rookies in points (41) during the season. Cuylle was one of only four OHL players in their U18 season or younger who registered at least 20 goals in both 2018-19 and 2019-20. He helped Windsor advance to the 2019 OHL Playoffs and tallied three points (two goals, one assist) in four playoff contests. Cuylle was originally selected by Peterborough with the third overall pick in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection Draft.
Internationally, the Toronto, Ontario native has represented Canada in several tournaments. Cuylle helped Canada earn a silver medal at the 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, as he registered three points (two goals, one assist) in five games. He also tallied three points (two goals, one assist) in five games while playing with Canada-Black at the 2018 World U17 Hockey Challenge.
Cuylle was selected by the Rangers in the second round, 60th overall, of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.
While I think this signing was to be expected; the most interesting thing here, is that as of late, the Rangers are signing all of their draft picks and prospects, as they look ahead to the 2021-2022 season. (In addition, it was announced during the game that the Rangers also signed Karl Henriksson too.) Of course, some of these recent signings/players will be destined for Hartford (AHL) or perhaps in Maine (ECHL); but for some of these “youts”, they will get an opportunity to make the main roster. (This also includes Nils Lundkvist, who has yet to sign with the team, but is expected to make the jump to America during this upcoming off-season.)
All of this news makes this upcoming off-season even more exciting/anticipated, because these signings, in theory, will effect the current roster, in players like Brendan Smith, Julien Gauthier, Phillip Di Giuseppe, Colin Blackwell, Kevin Rooney, Brett Howden, Libor Hajek, Anthony Bitetto and others. Obviously, the decision on Colin Blackwell will be the most debated, as there are equally strong reasons to sign him and conversely, equally strong reasons to move on from him.
In any event, there will be Rangers news this off-season!
Moving on, let’s get into all the news from Tuesday, prior to puck drop.
As discussed during the past two blogs on this site, once Georgiev started on Sunday, it was obvious that CZAR IGOR was getting tonight’s game.
The other news from the day, was what line-up DQ would use for this game. Instead of debuting Zac Jones or re-inserting Libor Hajek back into the line-up, DQ went with the same line-up tonight that he used on Sunday. This didn’t bother me.
As I said on social media prior to the game, and as many Ranger fans were all up-in-arms about Anthony Bitetto playing again; Sunday’s afternoon tilt with the Devils was Bitetto’s first game back in over a month. During that time, Bitetto recovered from an injury and became a father. While of course, Bitetto didn’t have a great game on Sunday, at the same time, you’d have to figure he’d be anxious to get back on the ice and get back to playing at a respectable level. Too bad that’s not what happened. In any event, I understand the thinking.
When it comes to Zac Jones and for the people who wanted Jones to make his debut tonight, I don’t think that was ever in the cards. Heck, it took Kravtsov, who had been playing at a top level in perhaps the second biggest hockey league in the world, in the KHL, over a week to make his debut. To date, Jones, who previously said two months ago that he wasn’t ready for the NHL and felt that he had to grow more, has only one practice under his belt. To throw him into this game, where Jones would’ve made his NHL debut, would’ve been silly.
For starters, going into this Rangers/Islanders game, this was a huge game for both teams. The Rangers needed to win this game, while the Islanders were trying to get back on track. In a game that many felt would be physical going into it, (and as it was) this would’ve been the wrong game for Jones to get his feet wet in. I agreed with DQ, in going with a more physical and veteran line-up, especially knowing that the playoffs are/were still in reach.
As I said when Jones first signed and joined the Rangers, I don’t expect Jones to play until the playoff seeding is determined. The only way I can see Jones playing, is if he gets a few more practices under his belt and when the Rangers host Buffalo. That would be more of an ideal situation, where Jones would then have a better chance to succeed, than had he played tonight. To throw him against a veteran Islander team, a team that has high playoff hopes; well that wouldn’t be the best way to kick off his NHL career. At the very least, that’s my opinion and just based on what DQ has said in the past – I’m assuming that’s his opinion too.
Gambling segment time. Here’s what I said before the game:
Season over-under record: 19-24-2
Igor vs no one knows, as the #nhl allows teams to not disclose information. Both isle goalies are solid & I think the -5.5 is the correct line.
I’m going w/the UNDER. Of note, no strong favorite going into this, as Isles are a light home fav. pic.twitter.com/k9Ujebe60z
— BlueCollarBlueShirts (@NYCTheMiC) April 20, 2021
The Father Finking scumbags known as the New York Islanders hit the over all by themselves. Like the Rangers, I take the loss tonight. My record goes back to six games under .500, at 19-25-2. As talked about repeatedly this season, after having three winning seasons with my over-under picks, the inconsistent Rangers are impossible to predict this season. You just never know what team will show up.
BOX SCORE time.
The following information and graphics come from the new world-wide leader in NHL coverage, in ESPN.com.
Once again, I must reiterate here, I thought the Rangers were going to win tonight’s game. I had a full blog planned in my mind, where I’d be celebrating, talking about my NYR memorabilia collection (which includes super-rare items) and to go overboard with my “New York Rangers/M$GN Drinking Contest” bit. I’ll still talk about this stuff tonight, but admittedly, like the Rangers themselves tonight, I don’t have the juice or gusto to really go all out.
I do want to mention here, that friend of the blog, in Brian M., has somewhat recently got me into card-collecting, but there’s just no way I’ll cannonball into this pool. I bring this up, because I see some of you guys talking about hockey trading cards, and in the past, I’ve talked about my affinity for collecting cards during the 1990’s.
If there’s one thing I’ve noticed, it’s that the prices for hockey cards are insane. It feels like you need to take out a second mortgage on your house or cash in your annuity/401K, in order to keep pace with all the cardboard that’s out there. I don’t know how people do this, although I’m hearing that throughout this pandemic, with people staying home and not spending money like they used to, that they have found some disposable income for this hobby.
For me, while I haven’t been engrossed in collecting cards at all this century, I have recently been acquiring Ranger rookie cards and putting together two different 2021 team sets. (In addition, last season, I collected a slew of CZAR IGOR rookie cards.) Maybe these cards will be worth something one day, but even so, I doubt I’d ever sell any piece of my insane Rangers memorabilia collection.
For those of you who are avid card collectors, my hat is tipped to you. I don’t know how you afford it, do it and can keep track of the 786789666678967896 different lines of cards that are out there. It was so much easier in my heyday, when all you had to worry about were three lines, in Topps, Fleer and Upper-Deck. In today’s card collecting world, not only do you have all these different lines out there, you also have each company releasing 767868667896786 cards of each player too. Keeping track of all of this shit feels like the equivalent of being a NASA scientist.
Going into this game, and obviously fed-up by the M$GN broadcasts as late; I wrote a silly comedy bit, which I posted on social media prior to puck drop. This bit would’ve landed better tonight, had the Rangers won this game.
In any event, here’s the bit, with the results included in BOLD PRINT.
With NYR & MSGN looking to be more fan interactive, I am hearing that they are doing a Bud Light & Jagermeister drinking game tonight, the official sponsors of the NYR drinking game! To play along, take a shot or sip of beer whenever the following occurs:
Sam and Joe bring up that Fox and/or Bitetto grew up on Long Island. (This happened only twice tonight, much to my chagrin. During the last NYR/NYI game at the Coliseum, Sam and Joe mentioned that Fox was from Jericho, NY, no less than 10 times.)
Vally brings up his legendary HOF 46 game NHL career. (No joke, Vally brought up this amazing career not even 60 seconds into the broadcast, and would talk about his career two more times.)
Sam says “this game has a good pace”. (Sam got one of these “good pace” mentions in tonight, and really, he was right about this.)
Anytime Sam and Joe apologize to each other. (“Excuse me Joe.” “Pardon me Sam.”) (We had a few apologies tonight, but not the signature, “EXCUSE ME JOE” or “PARDON ME SAM” varieties.)
Anytime Sam and Joe praise the opponent. (This happened a few times, but not in the way these two jackals slobbered all over the Devils and Nolan Foote.)
Anytime anyone on the crew says “I wonder how they get along”, followed by a fake laugh after seeing two fans sitting next to each other while wearing different jerseys. (This didn’t happen tonight, but we did get a few b-roll shots of NYR & NYI fans entering the arena.)
There are also rules to this contest for experienced drinkers only. These rules are:
Anytime Micheletti says the word “Fabulous”. (Joe said “FABULOUS” twice on the pregame show, but due to this game, he didn’t say it again during the broadcast.)
Anytime Vally mentions “warming up a goalie.” (In a rare occurrence, this didn’t happen tonight.)
Anytime Vally brings up a stat that has nothing to do with the game you’re watching. (This was a given to happen, and it happened several times, as Vally plugged his worthless fake news stats company several times. To his credit, after the first period, Vally went into the “eye-test” and the “Rangers have to play more physical” talk, which really, was correct.
And for the elite HOF drinkers:
Not only wasn’t the “Islanders Killer” in Alexandar Georgiev in net tonight, neither was Ilya Sorokin. In other words, we didn’t get CZAR IGOR vs Ilya Sorokin round two. Instead, we had CZAR IGOR vs Seymon Varlamov in our goaltending match-up.
The Islanders, prior to the game, paid their respects to the victims of the shooting in West Hempstead, which occurred on Tuesday afternoon.
Of note, there wasn’t any mention of the George Floyd/Derek Chauvin stuff, where really, I was fine about that. Sometimes, you just want to stick to sports and escape from the tragedies of the real world, which is why I’m not talking or have talked about Floyd/Chauvin tonight; as these teams did on social media. And this is a joke, so don’t get bent out of shape, but with this Rangers tragedy, I have no interest in talking about real-world tragedies on this site.
In a noticeable wrinkle, the Islanders had their National Anthem singer in-house tonight, as opposed to the Rangers; a Rangers team which runs prerecorded versions of the National Anthem on their scoreboard. Nice touch.
Once again, the Strome line started tonight’s game, as Strome would beat Pageau at the dot to win the opening face-off. However, Strome would finish with four wins and ten losses tonight at the circle, so his horrific season at the dot continued tonight.
For hockey fans who didn’t have a rooting interest in this game, this first period was wild and in a good way. It was an excitable brand of hockey and enjoyable. Both teams went back and forth and had plenty of scoring chances. There was one stretch during this period, where the two teams played nearly ten minutes of whistle-free hockey, which in turn, meant we didn’t get our #CadillacTrivia question until late into the second period.
Early into the game, Miller broke up an Isles odd-man rush. This led to a Kreider/Buchnevich “Craigslist Missed Connection”, where had they connected, it could’ve been 1-0, good guys, and early into the game. In a sign of things that were yet to come, Eberle split the Fox/Lindgren pairing, forcing Igor to make a tough save.
2:43 into the period, the Rangers got a huge chance, when Mat Barzal was boxed for interfering with Kevin Rooney and while near center ice. The Rangers would get an early power-play in return.
The Rangers would have a great power-play here, including two shots from last game’s hero, in Mika Zibanejad. However, Varlamov proved to be too strong, as he would make four great saves during this Isles PK. So instead of being up 2-0, we remained 0-0.
After the Isles got their kill, Barzal had a jack-in-the-box opportunity, only for Igor to make the save. Unfortunately, as Barzal was shooting, Ryan Lindgren hooked him from behind. How this wasn’t a penalty shot here I don’t know. Whether this was a legit penalty or not is another question, but based on the NHL rules, I’m surprised the Isles didn’t get a penalty shot here.
The Rangers PK did their job here, led by Pavel Buchnevich. The Rangers would also get another scoring chance, this time while short-handed. While all alone with Varlamov, Mika Zibanejad opted to send the puck backwards, rather than taking a SOG. In turn, CZAR IGOR then homerun’d/cleared the puck, and the Rangers got their kill.
After Strome couldn’t finish after a perfect pass from Panarin, Panarin would lose his stick in his own end, where Igor would be forced to make a save on Dal Colle, while Dal Colle was in Igor’s paint.
Up next would be a turning point of the game, but I’m not blaming what happened here for the loss; and most certainly not a loss of this magnitude.
At around the mid-mark of the period, Trouba laid a clean and thunderous hit on Matt Martin. On the next Islanders possession, Martin would return the favor:
Matt Martin crushes Jacob Trouba, leaving him spaghetti legged pic.twitter.com/mQjWTdbe6m
— Rob Taub (@RTaub_) April 20, 2021
Of note, both of these hits were clean and not dirty in any way. However, this hit would end Trouba’s night, as the Rangers confirmed on Twitter, during the opening two minutes of the second period.
As you can tell from the video above, after taking this hit, Trouba was wobbly and could barely stand. I’m not a doctor (you may have heard) but based on what I’ve seen in the past, and keep in mind I am only SPECULATING and not STATING here, it’s very likely that Trouba was concussed here. As of this writing, we don’t know what the injury is or how long Trouba will be out for. With the Rangers being allowed to be vague in injury descriptions, and with the NHL considering the “C-word”, as in concussion, to be as foul as an expletive or as a slur; we might not have this concussion suspicion confirmed any time soon.
(And if you recall, earlier in this season, Trouba broke his thumb. When DQ spoke about it, he had to look at someone, when asking if it was okay to talk about this specific injury.)
In any event, not only did the Rangers lose their most physical defenseman, and a Trouba who has been solid throughout the past two weeks; but the Rangers were now down to five defensemen against a team they needed strong defense against. Some will say this injury cost the Rangers the game, but at the same time, the fat cats and the top six did “oo-gatz” tonight. You can’t win if you can’t score, and it’s not like Trouba is Victor Hedman.
Also of note, this hit, and really, the physicality of this game in general, confirmed my opinion of why you couldn’t start Zac Jones tonight.
With 10:16 remaining in the period, Fox accidentally high-sticked Kyle Palmieri, but accidental or not, it was still a two minute minor. The Rangers PK were even more lights out here, on this second PK, than they were on the first PK, with Pavel Buchnevich standing head and shoulders among all. That said, even with the strong PK work out of Buchnevich, he flubbed a chance to put the Rangers on the board here, as he couldn’t handle a puck during a two vs one odd-man rush with Zibanejad.
Kravtsov, and really, the whole fourth line who looked like the only ones to give a damn tonight; after the PK, tried some razzle-dazzle on the Isles. While the Isles would prevent him of getting a shot off here, Kravtsov stayed with the play, made some contact and had a shot attempt anyway.
At this time, Micheletti said this game felt like a playoff game. (He was right.) Sam Rosen replied with “Hmm-Hmm”, as if he was a sassy southern girlfriend saying, “You Go Girl!”
In another game where the Rangers opponent were better 5 vs 5; with 2:18 to go in the period, Josh Bailey scored on a shot that Igor didn’t have much of a chance on. Of note, the Rangers top line, Adam Fox and Bitetto were on the ice here. Ultimately, the entire first line finished -3 tonight, as did Bitetto, where without question, the plus/minus stat DOES tell you the story of the game.
With .02 seconds left on the clock, Igor would make a save on Brock Nelson, after Nelson deked Lindgren out of his shorts.
1-0 bad guys, after twenty minutes. While exciting, the Rangers were a defensive mess and couldn’t finish on offensive chances.
After our regular comment of, “SECOND PERIOD, WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR HERE JOE?” <How about a Father Finkin’ goal Sam?>, Strome won his second of four face-off wins in the game. Just as Sam was telling us that Trouba was out for the game, just 1:38 into the period, Brock Nelson scored. 2-0, bad guys, and this would wind up as the game winning goal.
I don’t know how much you can blame Igor here, but yeah, I had the “should of started Georgiev” stuff in my head. Of course, the Rangers looked like dog shit 5 vs 5 as well. Really, outside of the fourth line and Smith, the Rangers couldn’t get into the Islanders zone all game, much less put shots on goal. (The Isles blocked a ton of shots too.)
At the 5:03 mark of the period, as Palmieri was swooping around Igor’s net, Smith tripped Palmieri. The Islanders would go on their third power-play of the game, and this time, would make it count.
After Lindgren batted a puck away from Igor’s net, the Islanders stayed with the puck while on their power-play here, and at the 5:45 mark of the period, Beauvillier had all day and ripped a shot into the vacated net of CZAR IGOR. 3-0 bad guys, and this game was slipping away.
Of course, while Micheletti had mentioned the “DREADED THREE GOAL LEAD” during the entire Rangers/Devils series, Micheletti, in a rare showing for him, stayed quiet and never made mention of this fact.
With 12:05 to go in the period, the Rangers would get another power-play, after Beauvillier hooked Blackwell. Despite the Rangers PP1 unit controlling the puck for 90 seconds here, they failed to come up with a goal, after a bevy of wide shots and shots blocked/deflected away from Varlamov. Another scoring chance blown.
As we passed the half-way mark of the period and game, Buchnevich would get all alone and one vs one with Varlamov, only to not shoot the puck. Incredible. You can’t make this up.
With 8:56 to go in the period, the Rangers finally got on the scoreboard, as after taking a pass from Kravstov, Smith bombed a shot from near the blue line, as the puck made its way past Varlamov. 3-1, bad guys. While Smith was originally credited with the goal, by the time the third period started, it was ruled that the puck had deflected off of Rooney. Either way, this was a fourth line goal and a goal from the Rangers 5th defenseman. Where was everyone else? Trying to find the Rangers top six at this point in the game, was like reading a 1000′ by 1000′ page of “Where’s Waldo?”
The Rangers would ramp up a little bit, where really, only the fourth line and Smith continued to shine, which is the only positive thing about this game. These four players are the only ones who showed up tonight. During all of this, a blatant trip committed on Kravtsov was missed here.
With under three minutes to go, Smith was hellbent on single-handedly carrying the team, as during one shift with the fourth line, Smith attempted three slap shots and was gung-ho at trying to beat Varlamov. Unfortunately, it never happened. It’s too bad Fox, Lindgren and Miller didn’t share this same offensive mind-set as Smith tonight.
As Smith continued to will the Rangers, where you hoped his play would be contagious; the fourth line had another chance to score, with Howden missing an open net from a foot away. Had this puck went in, who knows?
After forty minutes, and with their season pretty much on the line, Scumbags 3, Rangers 1, and after two periods.
In something which was deserved and was a statement, the fourth line, for the first time this season, took the opening draw of a period. I can’t stress this enough – the top six sucked tonight and the fourth line and Smith were the only players who did anything positive.
Just to show you how bad this game was, you know that I rarely agree with Steve Vagistat. During the intermission, he pretty much was saying everything I’ve said and was saying – the Rangers needed to be more physical, the top players needed to show up, needed to give a damn, etc. To his credit, Vagistat threw all of his charts away at this point in the broadcast.
After Rooney won the opening face-off, the Rangers fourth line put forth another amazing shift. After 40 seconds of offensive zone time from these fourth liners; the second line then came on, where they promptly spent their entire shift in the NYR d-zone.
In a game that was still 3-1, Dal Colle rattled one off of the crossbar, which Sam Rosen called a save. Bless his heart.
As the “FIRE DQ” crew slithered out from underneath their rocks in Rangerstown, the fourth line had another solid shift, as Rooney rifled a shot at Varlamov, only for the Isles to deny both Kravtsov and Howden of a rebound attempt.
In a goal scoring play that you could see coming from a mile away, at around the 7 minute mark, Bitetto just flat out dropped his stick. In turn, Blackwell gave his stick to Bitetto, but of course, while this was the correct play to make, Blackwell, a right-handed player, gave Bitetto, a left-handed player, a stick that Bitetto couldn’t do much with. As the Isles chewed up time in the Rangers zone, at the 7:44 mark of the period, Pageau easily beat Igor. 4-1 bad guys, and no chance of a comeback.
Have I ever mentioned how much I hate Pageau? I truly believe he owes his whole career to Henrik Lundqvist.
Right after this goal, after another face-off loss from Mika Zibanejad, Palmieri walked a puck right into Igor. Igor made the save this time, but the KZB line continued to display their atrociousness here.
As the game continued and as Smith and the fourth line did everything they could, at the 10:16 mark of the period, Bailey scored his second goal of the game. While there was a defensive breakdown here, Igor should’ve had this one, as the puck bounced off of him and into his net. 5-1 bad guys, and as fans, we were only left to lament.
66 seconds later, Eberle scored off an odd-man rush. Touchdown Isles.
It’s not even worth talking about the rest of the game. 6-1, Isles, your final.
Of note, and as Giannone mentioned in the post-game show; this 6-1 loss was the most lopsided Rangers loss in their last 99 games played. As if this game couldn’t have been any worse.
There’s really not much more to say here, outside of me saying one more time that the fat cats sucked and the fourth line and Smith deserved better.
Up next for the Rangers are Philly, Philly, Buffalo, Buffalo and the Islanders again. The Rangers must go on their first five-game winning streak of the season here. If they don’t – hello Zac Jones, Morgan Barron, Mason Geersten and everyone else.
I hate to sound so down, but this was crushing, especially losing to the Islanders in this way. Had the Rangers had their playoff hopes crushed by Pittsburgh, Boston or Washington, it would be easier to accept. Losing like this, is like having a 1964 Buick Skylark shoved up your five-hole. And just like this “My Cousin Vinny” reference, one more loss will bring on the “youts”.
If you’re looking for a laugh after this tragedy, “The Blueshirt Underground Show” returned this past Monday night. Of note, my best wishes go out to a long-time pal of mine, and a day one BSU listener, in Costa L. aka Gus. I’ve known this crazy Greek for over 20 years now, going back to my days in the wrestling business. I hope he beats his current health scare.
To listen to the show, click the play button below:
Ugh. See you Thursday night.
Stay FABULOUS my friends.
Until then, and as always here, thanks for reading and…
LET’S GO RANGERS!
@NYCTHEMIC on Tweeter