NYR/NJD R1G5 4/27 Review: Rangers Hit New Low; Lose One of Their Worst Playoff Games of Franchise History, Toasted Bread & Missing Mika, CZAR IGOR Snaps; Gallant Remains Calm, 48-Hours of 1994 Talk, Not Dead Yet (But On Life-Support), Same Old Cliches, M$GN & More From an Utter Disaster

In a pivotal do-or-die Game 5 – the Rangers flat-lined on the table. Despite scoring ten goals in their first two games of this series against their Hudson River rivals; Gallant’s Gang have only scored two goals in their last 190+ minutes played. If that wasn’t bad enough, then a fluky goal scored by Ondrej Palat, at just the 39-second mark of Thursday night’s tilt, held-up as the game-winner, in the Rangers’ 4-0 loss to the New Jersey Devils. If there is one phrase to describe this latest defeat, then it’s “BATHTUB TOASTER HOCKEY,” as it feels like the Rangers’ season is now on Death’s door. And yes, admittedly – the Blueshirts have lost playoff games by wider margins than this four-goal defeat – but under these conditions – and where a recency bias does play into this – it’s tough to think of many losses that were worse than this one. THEY NEVER SHOWED UP.

Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. BUT, BUT, BUT – do you remember what happened in 1994?

Heck – how can anyone forget – as the Rangers’ fourth Stanley Cup win, which today, is now just three-years shy of holding up as only 4% of the franchise’s championships through their first one-hundred years in the league, is always brought up during these broadcasts – especially on ESPN – where Mark Messier, the leader of that team, serves on their panel.

But yeah – following the Rangers’ disgusting performance from Thursday night, where they dropped the swing-game of this series, Game 5, by a final score of 4-0 (of course by that score – ugh!) – all you’ll hear about from now, until Saturday night’s 8:15PM puck drop, is that famous Eastern Conference Final series.

In fact, you’re already reading and hearing about it all over the place.

However, these 2023 Rangers aren’t those 1994 Rangers – and for that matter – these 2023 Devils aren’t those 1994 Devils either.

And that’s not a good thing – especially since those 1994 Devils, on paper, were a much better squad than their team of today.

After all, Akira Schmid or Martin Brodeur? Are you freakin’ kidding me right now?!?!

While it’s unfair to compare any player, Blueshirt or otherwise, to the greatest captain in the history of team sports, #11 himself; needless to say – Jacob Trouba, a defenseman, as opposed to Messier, who was a center – is not making any guarantees right now – nor is he the player that the Hall of Famer was either.

And that’s not a knock at the Rangers’ “GREAT EIGHT” – it’s just a fact.

On a night where the rally towels were being waved all over inside of “The Crack Rock” in Newark – it looked like the Rangers threw in the towels themselves.

Put it this way: Down 3-0 at the start of the third period, the Rangers, who should’ve came out desperate and balls-to-the-wall – they were anything but. In fact, they were the complete opposite of that.

In turn, the Rangers finished the final frame with a measly two shots on goal, which as a result, secured Akira Schmid, another rookie goaltender that the Blueshirts have turned into the second-coming of Ken Dryden over the years, his first playoff shutout.

And in case you missed it, I covered all of the Rangers’ off-day news last night, a blog which you can find here: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/42623/  – where I bring up last night’s tome for one reason, the following:

CZAR IGOR was hardly the problem for the Rangers tonight, but what’s also true is that amongst all NHL playoff goalies, he’s third-best in both the save percentage and GAA statistics. The best? Akira Schmid – who only bolstered his numbers on Thursday night following his 23-save shutout. Schmid, with three wins, also has one more victory than CZAR IGOR too – not ideal.

Truth be told – while CZAR IGOR played well enough – it was the Devils’ goaltender who played better.

Even the veteran Mike Richter was able to out-play the Hall of Famer, Martin Brodeur, in 1994.

And in a way – Schmid has now become the 2023 version of Adam Henrique – but I’m sure that you’re all too familiar with the Rangers’ Killer from 2012 – and don’t need a reminder right now.

While Schmid is a large part of the story, as he is now one game away from inserting himself into my upcoming “Top 100 Villains of New York Rangers History” book (working title); the bulk of the blame falls on the Rangers themselves – and not on the shoulders of the goaltender.

All of this talent – a collection of future Hall of Famers, All-Stars and perhaps a player or two who will one day have their numbers hoisted into the rafters of M$G – and what do they have to show for it?

Another blown 2-0 series lead – where everything I’ve been writing on this site, ever since posting my series preview, has reared in its ugly head.

Simply stated – the Rangers lack a killer instinct.

Following a pair of back-to-back 5-1 smack-downs of their rivals; the Rangers let the Devils off of the hook during Game 3, played like crap in Game 4 and come Thursday night, Game 5, saved their worst for last.

Silver lining? It’s hard to imagine Game 6 going any worse than Game 5 – unless the Rangers, for a cherry on top, are going to score into their own net, in order to “up” the pain.

While I don’t want to go into “obituary mode” just yet, like the majority of the fan base is currently in (and I don’t blame them); but following these past three games – it does feel like it’s time to start working on the epitaph of this 2022-23 season.

However, and for both a team and a head coach that used nothing but cliches during their post-game interviews after this loss – I am also abiding by a cliche myself right now – “It’s not over until it’s over.”

After all, I remain determined and hopeful about this team – even if in the moment – this is the rock-bottom point of the entire season.

For the first time following 87-games played – the Rangers are now in “MUST-WIN” territory.

Why do I remain optimistic, despite the travesty that we just witnessed on Thursday night?


Just last year, with this same head coach behind the bench and the nucleus of this team on the ice – we saw this team dig out of 3-1 and 3-2 holes – and as they did during the first two rounds of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Who is to say that they don’t do it again?

And yes – it’s very tough to have that positive outlook right now – and to show you that I’m not 100% delusional, nor have my head in the sand neither – the tone of tonight’s GAME REVIEW will be negative.

You can hope for the best – and as we all are – but it’s just hard to ignore the facts.

The Rangers sucked tonight, where at one point towards the end of the second period, where loud and boisterous “RANGERS SUCK” chants echoed throughout the arena – I had to wonder – who was chanting this – Rangers fans or Devils fans?

For a team that’s slapped the “TIME TO EAT” moniker on all of their playoff materials; maybe they ate too much during Games 1 & 2 – and in turn – are now playing vomit-inducing hockey.

Pretty much everything that I said last night went unchanged tonight during Game 5.

Mika Zibanejad ($8.5M cap-hit) and Artemi Panarin, the highest-paid winger in the league ($11.6M cap-hit), both went without a goal.

Your big dogs need to do more than bark – they need to attack too.

$20M doesn’t get you what it used to – as both of these “elite” forwards are without a goal during this series. That’s simply unacceptable – and for Missing Mika – he’s now ten-straight games without finding twine.

And as said before, and I’ll say again here – even should the Rangers pull off the near-impossible – and win the next two games, thus winning the series in seven-games – their shit performances prevented the Blueshirts from putting the Devils to bed early – which in turn – erases any chance of rest, relaxation and preparation in-between rounds.

But of course, the Rangers first have to win Game 6 – before even thinking about a Game 7 – and beyond.

As you’d suspect, there’s a vocal crowd, with proverbial pitchforks (not the Devils’ pitchforks) and torches in-hand, who are all rioting in the streets of Rangerstown, USA and shouting, “FIRE GALLANT! FIRE DRURY!”

(Not mentioned in any of these cries? I have seen Drury win a Stanley Cup. I’ve seen Gallant go to a Stanley Cup Final and win the Jack Adams’ Trophy too. I’ve never seen Mika or Panarin reach a Stanley Cup Final, nor win a Hart Trophy for that matter either.)

Again – I’ll let the series play out and reach its completion before really assessing everyone; but in my eyes – I think blaming the head coach and the general manager is both a lazy and elementary overreaction.

I mean really – does the head coach need to motivate his troops at this point of the season?

If he does, then this team has no shot of winning the Stanley Cup – because if that’s the case, then that means that these players have no drive, pride or will-to-win on their own.

And should the Rangers go down in these hellacious flames – then once again – all fingers should be directly pointed at Panarin and Zibanejad – not Gallant, not Drury, not the rentals, not the young players, not the defensemen and not the goalie neither.

All of the regular season stats are nice. Jeff Gorton’s trade for Zibanejad is one of the greatest trades of Rangers’ history. Panarin is already the greatest free-agent acquisition of franchise history.

But as frequently stated – legacies are made during the playoffs – not during the regular season.

In a way, and to go back to 1994 – I wonder what Mike Keenan would think of this pair – a head coach who pressured his general manager, Neil Smith, to trade away a Hall of Fame regular season extraordinaire – but who always wilted during the playoffs – Mike Gartner.

But of course, when Keenan orchestrated that trade – there was no such thing as iron-clad guaranteed contracts, nor a salary cap either.

In other words, even in the event of Zibanejad and Panarin doing nothing during Game 6 and these playoffs – the Rangers are stuck with them.

It’s tough to unload high-priced players – but it is easy to fire head coaches.

After all – the salary cap doesn’t apply to head coaches – nor general managers for that matter either.

So while it’s tough in my eyes to pin all of the blame on Gallant (and Drury too) – it’s THE TURK – and not his disappointing FAT CATS – who could find his way out the door first.

But yeah – I said I wouldn’t go into “obituary mode” – so let’s change the subject!

(And sorry if I’m all over the place – my mind is racing now – I’m pissed off – and these blogs are my way of venting & purging all negative thoughts from my system!)

These past three games, Games 3-5, and especially the latter two contests, reminds me of Michael Jordan’s “Space Jam” movie from 1996. Photo Credit: Warner Brothers

For people my age (I’m approaching 41-years-old), you may be familiar with the movie “Space Jam” – and I’m talking about the 1996 version – and not whatever crap Lebron James was involved with during the 2021 reboot.

The conflict in the movie featured aliens, known as “MONSTARS,” who sapped & zapped all of the NBA’s best players of their talent – and then used it against Bugs Bunny and company.

(And go figure – Elmer Fudd was in that movie too – and check out last night’s blog to read what WFAN’s Boomer Esiason said about Gerard Gallant.)

Game 5 felt like a real-life version of “Space Jam” – as the Rangers, who were heroes, goal scorers and thought as iconic legends during the first two games of this series – have seemingly had all of their talent taken away too.

Outside of making another rookie goalie look like a future Hall of Famer & a multiple time Vezina winner – these weren’t the Rangers that anyone knew, nor a team that anyone was familiar with either.

Sure, every team in the league loses bad games, as no team is flawless. But these Rangers were devoid of any energy, looked lifeless – and aside from Barclay Goodrow & Ryan Lindgren – had no fight in them either.

Most of this game felt like watching a car-wreck happen in real-time, where all you could do was say, as if you were in a slow motion scene during a movie,“No-o-o-o-o!”

After having their assess reddened by their head coach and where every player talked big – the Rangers delivered their most feckless and pathetic performance yet.

“NO QUIT IN NY?” Hardly.

More like “ALL TALK IN NY!”

I’ve seen chain-smokers (no filters to boot!) put up more of a resistance, when attempting to quit, than how the Rangers played tonight.

I just don’t know what happened – and sadly – I don’t think this team, nor the head coach, knows either.

For a Rangers’ squad that you thought would come out like gangbusters – they wound up being busted themselves – and following Palat’s early goal – that was it.

And should Game 6 be the final game that the Rangers play this season – then instead of the 1994 talk – everything will go back to 2022 – and that six-game ECF loss to the Lightning.

If that isn’t enough, then to pile-on – for all of the talk about the success that teams are having on the road and how many teams have routinely erased three-goal deficits during this first-round of these 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs – there was never a moment where you thought the Rangers would become one of those teams tonight.

The Devils owned the Rangers in every which way, as they out-played, out-hustled, out-goalied, out-coached, out-worked – out-everything’d – their opponents.

While the Rangers aren’t officially buried; what’s true is that you can feel this series slipping through their fingers – and come Saturday night – there will be a nervous and anxious energy following the first puck drop – and where all these fingers will have their nails chewed off too.

At this time, let’s get into all of the pregame news & notes, followed by a GAME REVIEW that doesn’t need to be as lengthy as usual.

Then. Now. Forever! (I’m remaining loyal to the end!)

Prior to tonight’s game, Gerard Gallant, who after calling out his stars during his previous three “TURK TALKS,” was much calmer on Thursday afternoon, during his daily requirement with the media.

Here was Thursday’s pregame “TURK TALK”:

Again, and as repeatedly mentioned on this site – there wasn’t much for Gallant to say.

For a team full of cliches, only two applied here – “Talk is cheap” and “Actions speak louder than words.”

Sadly, these cliches wouldn’t play out in the Rangers’ favor.

Here was the Rangers’ line-up from Thursday night, their fifth game of this 2023 postseason:

FIRST LINE: Kreider/Mika/Kane

SECOND LINE: Panarin/Trocheck/Tarasenko

THIRD LINE: Lafreniere/Chytil/Kakko

FOURTH LINE: Vesey/Goodrow/Motte

FIRST PAIR: Lindgren/Fox

SECOND PAIR: Miller/Trouba

THIRD PAIR: Mikkola/Schneider



DAY-TO-DAY: Nobody! Praise the Hockey Gods!

PRESS BOX: Ben Harpur, Jake Leschyshyn, Louis Domingue, Libor Hajek and Jonny Brodzinski.


The following graphics and information come from ESPN.com:





23 0 23 1.000 18 4 1 0 0 59:50 0


42 3 39 .929 28 11 0 0 0 59:14 0

The only silver lining should the Rangers lose Game 6? A six-month break from Sieve Vagistat, as Saturday night’s game is an ESPN exclusive.

Prior to the M$GN pregame show, in my infinite wisdom, I tweeted out my well-thought-out Game 5 predictions.

And since I’m fast to tell you whenever I’m right about something; then in the same vein, I must do the same whenever I’m wrong – dead-wrong at that:

What a dick.

Talk about a Golden Sombrero, an “imperfect” 0-5 performance.


However, I share that tweet with you for one reason – evidence that there was one point on Thursday night where I was feeling good about this game – and despite the horrific Sieve Vagistat on the broadcast tonight – my once feel-good vibes were only destroyed following Palat’s goal, you know – the game-winning goal that was scored at just the 39-second mark – of the first period.


For whatever reason, despite a goaltender with 130 games of playoff experience under his belt, as opposed to Vagistat’s 40-minutes of mop-up duty of “playoff experience” to his name; it was the feckless seven-footer who continued to talk over “THE KING OF COMMENTARY,” Henrik Lundqvist, throughout tonight’s pregame show.

Since I don’t want to waste too much time on Vagistat; I’ll limit my remarks about him tonight, and only mention the stuff that you need to know and/or what I felt was appalling.

Lundqvist opened the broadcast by talking about what he wanted to see, as he said, “It’s the first 20 minutes. The Rangers must break the Devils’ momentum. They must set the tone and get their game back on track.”

So much for that.

On the two cowards, you know, Mika and Panarin, who both wear the “A” on their jerseys, yet are never around for a post-game interview following a loss (but they are always there after a win); Lundqvist remarked, “I feel like the series is about playing good defense, and for Mika, that’s part of his game. Sometimes it hurts him offensively. The pressure is on him to score some big goals. When you’re off, you’re off and they [10 & 93] need to get going tonight.”

So much for getting going – unless you’re talking about going to the golf course sometime next week – where I must wonder – when Mika & Panarin play golf – do they have a strong start, only to then get blown out on the back nine?

I’m sure a rookie caddie would give these two fits too.

In a rinkside interview with Michelle Gingras, Patrick Kane told the roving reporter that he wasn’t concerned about the final result.

As you may suspect – I 100% totally disagreed with #88.

To be fair, Kane then went on to say that should the team play well, then the final result would be the one desired.

And so much for that too.

For whatever reason, despite Lundqvist in-studio, John Giannone then asked Vagistat to talk about the two goalies and what this game would be like. After Vagistat rambled on about his fake news stats and talked from a perspective of no experience – FINALLY – Lundqvist cut him off for once and actually said “I completely disagree!”


On Rangers’ menace, Jack Hughes, Lundqvist said, “You have to be right on the edge on what you can and what you can’t do against this guy [Hughes]. You need to be physical and make him think, get him frustrated, get in his face.”

And go figure – Hughes, who has been hurting the Rangers all series, came up without a point tonight.

In other words, the Rangers shutdown New Jersey’s biggest superstar – yet took the balls of the Devils on their chins – and down their throats too.


And yuck.

Come 7:30PM, we went to the roof of “The Crack Rock,” where the two over-eager and excited announcers, Sam Rosen and Joe Micheletti, were happy to greet us. Their tones would soon change.

Right away, Sam “The Mush” Rosen told us how this has been a road series and how the home team has lost every game. He may as well have added, “OH JOE, LET ME SEE IF I CAN CHANGE THAT JOE,” because as you already know – the Devils snapped that trend tonight like a grown man breaking a twig.

After that, Rosen pretty much told us that Jonas Siegenthaler was the Bobby Orr of this generation and how Akira Schmid puts Patrick Roy to shame.

Micheletti, unlike his partner, decided to talk about the home team of this network, and mentioned Gallant’s comments from the past two days, and then added – “SAM, IF THE TOP-SIX DOESN’T GET GOING TONIGHT, THEN I CAN SEE THE THIRD LINE GETTING MORE ICE TIME.”

In a way, that’s kind of what happened, because as the game progressed, Kakko and Kane were flip-flopped.

It made no difference.

GAME REVIEW TIME – where as a disclaimer – I do want to make two things abundantly clear:

One, the obvious – neither the broadcast, nor the broadcasters, impacted this game. And for as much as Sam & Joe would go on-and-on about the Devils – they had nothing else to work with. So when you read my comments below, take them as jokes (as they often are) – and not as an indictment of anything.

Two, which may also be obvious – I take no joy in burying this team or writing with a negative tone.

I think what also makes this loss so painful, is that collectively, this group, from the general manger and all the way down to the players in the press box (just not owner James Dolan) – are largely likable.

In a way, this is one of the most likable teams and easy-to-root-for players of franchise history.

At the very least – these aren’t the 2021 Rangers!

When it comes to this 2023 group, there aren’t any assholes, there isn’t any in-fighting, there isn’t any drama and it’s extremely elating whenever any of these players have success.

That’s why I believe, especially when reading my social media feeds and emails tonight, that the levels of rage, sadness and overall state of “GLOOM AND DOOM,” have never been higher.

We all expected better – and watching these guys let us down was a tough side-way horse-pill to swallow – or worse than that – a side-ways suppository right up the Vagistat/five-hole/asshole.

And as mentioned a few times on this site – the ramifications of a Rangers’ series loss will be much worse, especially when compared to the Devils finding themselves on the wrong end.

The Rangers are allegedly Stanley Cup contenders.

The Devils are the team on the rise, one that many felt needed this series “to get their feet wet,” in order to make a big leap next season.

Instead, we’re now seeing the Devils relive the Rangers’ script from last season – as they are the ones currently primed for a deep run – while the Blueshirts are now in a state of peril – but not a state that they’re unfamiliar with either.

Maury Povich determined that this shirt is a lie. Photo Credit: NYR


Mika Zibanejad won the first faceoff of the game – but it wouldn’t matter.

After an initial possession that went nowhere; just 36-seconds later, CZAR IGOR recorded his first save of the game, a blocker stop on Nico Hischier – and where the puck went out of play following it.

On the faceoff that followed, one won by Trocheck – just three seconds later, this happened:

1-0, bad guys, as the puck took a Devils’ bounce, Fox accidentally got a piece of it, and BOOM – the puck popped right past CZAR IGOR – the last thing that the Rangers needed.

And that was it.

Game over.

Despite whatever Sam & Joe would say all period, where in a rarity, they provided some “home cookin'” – the Rangers were demoralized, brutalized, dejected, rejected and would never muster up any sort of response.

While I don’t have the official stats in front of me; off-the-top of my head, I’d reckon to guess that the Devils possessed the puck and sustained zone time at a ratio of 5:1.

And that ratio may even be bigger than that.

The Devils, much like the fans of both teams, wanted it more than the Rangers themselves.

And go figure – the Rangers win an offensive zone faceoff – yet just three seconds later – the puck is in their net.

You can’t make up this shit.

This fluke goal (but they all count), would fuel the New Jersey orchestra all night, as following this puck-luck strike – all you heard was mocking sing-song chants of “I-GOR! I-GOR! I-GOR” – which was kind of comical if you could laugh – as he was never the problem – the team in front of him was.

Put it this way: These chants were so loud (HOW LOUD WERE THEY?); that at times, you could barely hear Rosen, and where the affable HOF announcer had to mention them – repeatedly at that – as they couldn’t be ignored.

It was all bad.

Over a minute later, Niko Mikkola, where it seems that he skates the puck into the zone more than any other Ranger (that’s great for him – not great for the team), tried to set-up Chytil at the door-step. Schmid closed it, and this led to our first mini-scrum of the game, between Kakko and the wuss known as Timo Meier.

Zibanejad, who looks like he’s scared of the puck these days, was wide-open with 17:07 to go; but rather than shooting, he set-up Miller – a screen save for Schmid.

Following the faceoff, the Rangers tried to set a record for the most consecutive passes without putting a SOG – and after finally turning the puck over (which now feels like an intended result) – Fox got back and broke up a Devils’ 2 x 1 odd-man rush, when he denied Bratt from connecting.

With 13:44 remaining, Schmid froze a loose puck when then led to Zibanejad crying to the officials – a rare time where “DJ MIKA” was actually heard from in this game.

If you recall, Gallant called out Mika for wasting too much time crying to the referees following the events of Game 4. Mika’s “MISTY EYES” wouldn’t be denied tonight.

Following his hissy fit, no less than 30-seconds later – Mika was boxed for interference, as a soft, yet by-the-rulebook, infraction was assessed against him.

You have to wonder if all of his crying led the officials into calling this penalty – one that we have regularly seen ignored all playoffs.

As you’d imagine, already down 1-0 – the Rangers needed a big penalty kill.

They’d get it – with Lindgren, Kakko, Trouba and Goodrow leading the way – and where this quartet were down to thrown down – following a CZAR IGOR denial on Mercer with only 23-seconds remaining.

But this rare display of passion was just that – rare.

As the officials were trying to break up everything, CZAR IGOR and Meier let the four-letter words fly – and where both Lindgren & Meier were soon sent to the box for off-setting penalties.

As the Devils’ power-play was set to expire – the Rangers received two consecutive breaks.

Hughes went wide at CZAR IGOR (#86 had #31 beat all day – but just missed), which soon set-up the following:

As you can see from the above video, with 10:49 remaining, Artemi Panarin, the highest-paid winger in the league – and during a Rangers’ 3 x 1 odd-man rush no less – couldn’t beat a rookie goalie.

If this was a one time thing – then sure – you could accept it.

After all, for a team full of cliches – “Shit Happens.”

However, this issue has been an all-series thing – and it’s 100% unacceptable and inexcusable.

Panarin should issue refunds to Rangers’ season ticket holders. He’s been that freaking terrible.

And while I never expected Gallant to staple his highest-paid player to the bench (this is the salary-cap era and it doesn’t work like that anymore) – maybe the head coach, as a way to discipline his soggy bread – should fine him $5,000 anytime when #10 lazily throws a puck cross-ice for a turnover.


So if Panarin can’t beat a rookie goalie, despite multiple opportunities afforded to him this series – how can you expect anyone else to?

And that’s what continued.

The Devils never relented, as for sixty-minutes – they blocked shots, put sticks in lanes – and when they couldn’t – Schmid laughed at a $11.6M player.

Down to 7:15 remaining – ATURNOVER PANARIN – where this time, his fellow comrade, Vladimir Tarasenko, bailed him out.

And you know that the Devils are already in Panarin’s head – as once again – his face screamed frustration – especially whenever the red-and-black double-teamed him whenever he got within two-feet of Schmid (albeit, a rarity equivalent to seeing Haley’s Comet).

With 6:09 remaining, and following 45-seconds worth of a failed 6 x 5 delayed penalty attack; Siegenthaler was sent to the sin bin for hooking Tarasenko.

Fox was stopped, Mika’s predictable one-timer was laughed away as if it was a fart joke told to a middle-schooler (or to me!), and then with fifteen-seconds remaining, and with the PP2 unit now on – Tarasenko was denied too.

All in all – three short-handed saves for Schmid – and the Rangers’ power-play was now 0-fer their last twelve.

Not good.

Down to three-minutes remaining, Hischier found Bratt all alone in the crease of CZAR IGOR – but the 2022 Vezina Trophy winner was able to prevent a 2-0 score – at least for now.

A minute later, NO GOALS PANARIN was left wide-open, but rather than going for his first goal of these playoffs – he set-up the Doug Harvey of his generation – Ryan Lindgren – who was at a long-distance range – and which led to another easy save for Schmid.

Come the final minute of the first period – Mercer heard a <DING>, as a puck sent towards CZAR IGOR caught the right side of the iron where the post and crossbar intersect.

A big break for the Rangers – not that it mattered.

If that wasn’t enough for you, then CZAR IGOR had to stop Tatar with 40-seconds remaining, and then for good measure, just twenty seconds after that – had to deny the Devils on a 3 x 1 odd-man rush – as the home team easily blew by the Miller/Trouba pairing.

1-0, bad guys, after a first period that Sam & Joe tried to sell as something positive – but it was woefully apparent that the Rangers had no answers.

Here’s what I said at the time:

For a franchise that will slap their logo on anything – and whether it be condoms, toilet seats, or whatever else you can conjure up – maybe the Rangers should start selling officially licensed ski masks – so fans can pretend to be Mika & Panarin whenever cashing their paycheck at the bank. (This joke only works if you ignore that direct deposit exists – and where neither man is directly depositing any net gains these days!)


While this match was pretty much over at this point; the NHL requires all teams to at least play sixty-minutes of hockey per game.

You think an inspirational TROUBA or TURK TALK would fire up these FAT CATS?

Please – these guys came out like pussycats instead.

At just the 1:28 mark, and following a Zibanejad faceoff win – Kane was busted for tripping Jack Hughes – a blatant and slam-dunk penalty.

Prior to Kane’s two-minutes spent in the box; Igor made a pair of saves himself during the Devils’ delayed penalty attack.

Fifty-seconds into the power-play – Mika had Kreider sprung for a breakaway – but put the puck right onto the blade of a Devil. Another Craig’s List “Missed Connection” for MIA (no “K” required).

In other words – despite everything that we previously saw – the Rangers had a chance to tie-up the game via a short-handed goal.

Instead, with just one second remaining on the Devils’ power-play, and after a failed attempt to clear the puck at the blue line; the Wayne Gretzky of our time, Erik Haula, “hollered” right into Igor’s net, with a spin-o-rama tip through the five-hole.

2-0, bad guys – and with 16:07 left to play.

The Devils kept on attacking and most of this period would see the home team get right to CZAR IGOR – and the goalie did everything he could to keep this score respectable.

And of course, following Haula’s PPG – the Devils’ Faithful continued to mock #31 in Rangers’ white.

Speaking of CZAR IGOR, with 12:43 to go, and perhaps sick of the shit that he was watching; the goalie fired a shot on goal himself – a save for Schmid. This shot attempt was better than anything Mika and Panarin were doing on this night – and during this series.

After this, both Kakko and Miller fell down, and Palat, gunning for his second goal of the game – lost the handle as he was going to the net – a break for the Blueshirts.

Come the halfway mark of this period/game/fiasco; Schneider made a brutal turnover, but Mikkola bailed him out and prevented a goal.

Under eight-minutes remaining, Bahl made a pair of back-to-back thunderous hits, where he floored Goodrow on one and then sent Vesey packing on the other.

This then led to a freeze for Schmid – and our first-and-only fight of the game, as Goodrow challenged the much larger Bahl to a fight.

Despite Bahl having what looked like a ten-inch height advantage – Goodrow held his own. This was a standing draw.

As both men went to serve their five-minute majors; Goodrow started screaming at the bench, ala “The Trouba Helmet Toss Game.”

And just like that game, where the Rangers embarrassingly lost to the lowly Blackhawks – the Rangers were embarrassed during these sixty-minutes too.

Funny enough – Goodrow’s fight also led to Severson taking a two-minute minor, for unsportsmanlike conduct.

To set the stage for you, now down 2-0, and with 7:56 to go – the Rangers had a power-play and a chance to strike within one.

Instead, the Devils scored their third goal on their first short-handed goal of the series.

Prior to the deathblow; the Devils blocked three Ranger shots and soon cleared the puck.

Then, with nearly thirty-seconds remaining on the power-play, the pass-happy Rangers did their thing and following a Fox pass that took a bad bounce – right off of Panarin’s skate – the Devils soon went on a two-vs-one odd-man rush – and BOOM – with 6:28 remaining – Mercer polished off CZAR IGOR.

3-0, bad guys.

An utter disaster.

The Devils’ crowd had a field day, as they alternated in-between mocking CZAR IGOR and chanting “RANGERS SUCK” – where maybe a few Blueshirt backers chimed in during the latter chant.

And to recap – the Rangers’ power-play is now 0-fer their last thirteen – and with one short-handed goal allowed.

Another cliche? “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” This was like watching a Tortorella Era Rangers’ power-play.


Down to 3:19 remaining, CZAR IGOR made a hell of a glove save on Meier backhander, where following it, and with a TV timeout looming – the goalie let his team have it:

While this wasn’t as bad as a Lundqvist STICK SMASH – this reminded me of CZAR IGOR’s predecessor going off on his team during times of despair.

This is also the first time where we saw CZAR IGOR blow his top at the team – and while you never want to see this – you can understand it.

And perhaps like Goodrow before him – CZAR IGOR was trying to do anything to get his team going.

Out of the TV timeout, this is when Gallant flip-flopped Kakko and Kane – but nothing would ever change.

Heck, now on the first line – Kakko did what Mika has done all series – missed a wide-open net from the slot, and as the Finn did with 1:45 remaining.

45-seconds later, Schmid, who had his best game of the series tonight (as he had to wake up from his cat-naps and make a few saves, as opposed to his light work from Games 3 & 4); stopped both Trocheck and Trouba.

We were then told by Rosen that Schmid was now up to a save percentage of .975 for the series.

A rookie goalie mind you.

Following two periods, Devils 3, Rangers 0.

Here’s what I said at the time:

We all have our narratives and biases. This is my way of telling you that I don’t blame the front office for the team’s struggles – this is all on the players. You shouldn’t need to motivate a millionaire at this time of the year. Photo Credit: NYR


I’ve gone on long enough.

Let’s bullet-point the rest of this garbage:

— The Rangers, you know, down 3-0 and desperate for anything positive to take place; finished this period with two shots on goal. I just don’t know how that happens. I really am at a loss for words.

— Put it this way: My good friend, “THE MAVEN,” Stan Fischler, emailed me following the game, asking me, “How do the Rangers turn it around?” My response: “I WISH I KNEW!”

— And despite Stan’s age of 91-years-old (he loves those reminders) – he could’ve been in the Devils’ net during this period – and the end result would’ve been the same.

— The M$GN had me furious – but as a reminder – I do tend to get even more irate with them during dark times.

— During the intermission segments, Bill Pidto, John Giannone, Sieve Vagistat, and even Henrik Lundqvist, were all too jovial and laughing too much for my liking. Again – I write these words as a fan – and as someone who left this game feeling akin to losing one of my pets.

— Plus, as someone who is NOT a fan of the ANALytical Asshole, Sieve Vagistat – I didn’t need to hear his stupid (and forced) one-liners either. It’s like he reads a bathroom joke book earlier in the day – and then mangles the punchline on-air.

— To my surprise – Sam & Joe did everything in their power to “REVERSE CURSE” the Devils. Rosen brought up Schmid’s shutout, while Micheletti brought up all of the three-goal comebacks that we’ve seen during this year’s playoffs.

— I thank them – even if their jinxing words never fell on the Rangers’ deaf ears.

— At just the 36-second mark of the period – Zibanejad was boxed for interfering with Schmid. This was a complete BS penalty – but not one that impacted this game.

— DESPITE NICO HISCHIER BOWLING OVER CZAR IGOR DURING GAME 4 – NOT A PENALTY – Graves pushed MIA into his own goaltender – and DESPITE MIA TRYING TO AVOID CONTACT – he was sent to the box.

— The officiating during these playoffs (and in every series, and behalf of all sixteen teams) is just as inconsistent as the Rangers.

— CZAR IGOR made three saves on this PK – but at this point – the Rangers had lost two-minutes of an “alleged attack,” due to the BS call.

— At the five-minute mark – AND DOWN BY THREE – Panarin, who had all day to skate into the zone, lazily passed the puck back into the Rangers’ d-zone. That will show the Devils!

— Again – the Devils never relented, as with 13:30 to go, Bratt had a breakaway – and with CZAR IGOR way out of net – Mikkola made the stop.

— With 10:09 remaining, and with the Rangers sitting on one shot on goal; Kane held Meier.

— The Rangers killed this penalty – but the Devils weren’t really trying to score either.

— As I was trying to fight back the tears from my eyes, the puke in my throat and the diarrhea in my intestines; I thought to myself – if I wasn’t strong, then I would’ve caved – as I would’ve went to the streets in front of M$G – and once there – look for a Costco-sized bag of fentanyl.

— With 7:30 remaining, the SOG totals of this period were Devils 15 – Rangers 1.


— I’m sure that if you can catch Rosen off-air – then he would tell you how ridiculous the timing of all of this was too.

— Down to 6:40 remaining, another Rangers’ turnover, but Haula went wide on his opportunity. He wouldn’t do so on his next one.

— With 6:15 left to go, Lindgren and Siegenthaler had a scrum, following the Rangers’ second SOG of the period.

— While this was going on, I was wondering – maybe Kreider should pull a 2014 – hope the “Price is Right” again – and just barrel over Schmid? Why not? It’s not like the Devils haven’t already done so a few times to CZAR IGOR.

— Come 5:16 remaining, and with an o-zone faceoff following a Devils’ icing; CZAR IGOR was pulled.

— Four seconds later – and I’m not making this up – Haula, from his own end, fired a puck right into the Rangers’ empty net.

— 4-0, bad guys – and of course with that score!

— For the rest of the game, Devil fans continued to troll CZAR IGOR – despite the fourth goal being an empty netter.

— As it was mentioned that the Rangers were nearing 200 minutes of play with only two goals to their name; to prolong the pain, with just 46.2 seconds left to be ticked – Lindgren slashed McLeod.

— The Devils’ power-play actually tried to score here – and Igor came up with three more saves. Kind of classless – but I get it – no mercy – put your feet on their throats.

4-0, bad guys, final.

3-2, bad guys, series.

For all of the talk from the Rangers about how they wanted to be back – and erase last year’s loss to the Bolts from their mouths – they are now one game away from suffering a loss even worse than the 2022 ECF.

Here’s “THE TURK” following this pile of shit performance:

You can watch the video yourself – I’m not wasting my time transcribing it.

However, I will say, Gallant spoke glowingly of the team and didn’t seem fazed by the loss, only to mention it.

While I know that many wanted “THE TURK” to tear this team to shreds – what’s the point?

And I’ll give VAGISTAT some credit here, as he said what I was thinking at the time – there’s no use in beating that drum again.

Gallant had already ripped the team following Game 4.

What’s done is done.

While I think that Gallant’s job is safe no matter what happens (and that’s just my opinion – and who knows what Drury is thinking); had he went off on this team again – and should the Rangers go on to lose Game 6 – then that wouldn’t do him any favors.

In other words – “THE TURK” had already tried the “TOUGH LOVE” motivational tactic. The desired effect turned out to be the complete opposite.

And unless you’re Scotty Bowman or John Tortorella – you can’t keep screaming about and calling out your team to the media.

Real quick, some notable quotes from “ALL TALK IN NY”:

Trouba: “We have to find a way to put pucks in nets. We need to score goals. I know it’s cliche.” No shit.

Kreider: “We have to win one game. We let our fanbase down. It’s up to us to show up. The cliches I talk about, we need to do them, not talk about them.” No shit Part Two – or should I say no shit – this game was a number two!

And as mentioned, Mika and Panarin avoided the media like the plague.

Accountable team-leaders if I say so myself!

Everyone is bringing up 1994 right now – but as mentioned earlier – this team isn’t that one – one that won a Presidents’ Trophy – and who completely dominated their first two rounds too. Photo Credit: NYP

I don’t care what Gallant and his players say tomorrow following practice. It’s all bullshit, cliches and white noise.

I know this blog has been tough to read – but what else can I say?

Like you, I’m rooting for a MUST-WIN two-game winning streak.

If not, then just like 93 of the past 97-years of franchise history – it’s the same old shit – but this year will hurt more than most – at least personally – as I really believed this team could win the Cup.

And can you imagine a Devils vs Islanders second-round series – where in that scenario – one of these two teams would be guaranteed to play in the ECF?

If that happens, then I may have to call Ed Galbraith, Robert Forster’s character from “BREAKING BAD;” as I may need to go into hiding myself!

As I go home here – I really thought the Rangers would answer the bell in both Games 4 & 5.

Now? I don’t know what to expect as the team enters their MUST-WIN GAME 6.

It would be “THE RANGERS’ WAY” to blow out the Devils in Game 6 – then lose a Game 7.

However, I’m trying to keep the faith – and I go back to my original prediction that I made at the start of the series…


See ya Saturday night – where I’m praying to the hockey gods that I’m not writing the final chapter of this 2022-23 Rangers’ season.

Until then – I suspect a lot of wet pillows in the beds of Rangerstown, USA.


PLUGS TIME! (Buy a book and support my playoff ticket and beer funds! After all, I don’t run ads on this site!)

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

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:

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

My four-volume set of books, “One Game at a Time – A Season to Remember,” is a game-by-game recount of the Rangers 2021-22 campaign.

My second title as an author, “One Game at a Time – A Season to Remember,” is now available in eBook, paperback and hardcover formats.

To obtain signed copies, visit: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/onegamebook/

To purchase all four volumes on Amazon, visit: Amazon.com – “One Game at a Time.”

The greatest volume-set of books on Rangers’ history today!

“Tricks of the Trade – A Century-Long Journey Through Every Trade Made In New York Rangers’ History,” a four-volume set of books that meticulously covers every trade made in franchise history, is now on sale.

All four volumes of the title can be purchased on Amazon.com and are presented in three different formats – eBook, paperback and hardcover.

To purchase Volume I: Conn Smythe (1926) – Craig Patrick (1986), visit Amazon.com

To purchase Volume II: Phil Esposito (1986) – Neil Smith (2000), visit Amazon.com

To purchase Volume III: Glen Sather (2000-2015), visit Amazon.com

To purchase Volume IV: Jeff Gorton (2015) – Chris Drury (2022), visit Amazon.com

To purchase signed copies of all four volumes, visit https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/tricksofthetrade/

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

Rangers Prepare For a Pivotal Do-Or-Die Game 5 with the Devils; Gallant Calls Out Zibanejad & Panarin, Hypocritical NHL Policies; Open Practices/Closed Door Injury Info, Boomer Besmirches Blueshirts’ Bench Boss, “TURK TALKS” & More

NYR/NJD R1G4 4/24 Review: Devils Even Series; Force Game 6, Gallant Tears Apart Team Leaders Following Loss; “FAT CAT WASTELAND,” Baba No More, Road Warrior Rangers’ Biggest Test Yet; A Brutal 72-Hour Waiting Period, CZAR IGOR vs KING HENRIK, M$GN & More

NYR/NJD R1G3 4/22 Review: Devils Force a Game 5; Survive in OT, Rangers’ 0-5 Power Outage Dooms Them; Special Teams (And Officials) Swing Games, Not a Loss To Be Concerned About, “Schmid Happens” (Har-Har-Har), Timo “The Crier” Meier, ESPN & Media = Horrible, “TURK TALKS” & More

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

Now on sale!

Don’t forget to order my recently released four-volume set of books, “Tricks of the Trade!”

If you don’t order through me, all four volumes are now available on Amazon.com

For more details, check out: https://bluecollarblueshirts.com/tricksofthetrade/

Thanks for reading.


Sean McCaffrey


@NYCTHEMIC on the Tweeter machine

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1 thought on “NYR/NJD R1G5 4/27 Review: Rangers Hit New Low; Lose One of Their Worst Playoff Games of Franchise History, Toasted Bread & Missing Mika, CZAR IGOR Snaps; Gallant Remains Calm, 48-Hours of 1994 Talk, Not Dead Yet (But On Life-Support), Same Old Cliches, M$GN & More From an Utter Disaster

  1. Found myself watching old Coach Quinn videos last night. This group collectively still takes the same dumb approach; playing outside, don’t go to the net, don’t get in front of the opposing goalie. How do you change that when 2 coaches over 5 years have not been able to get through to the 2 biggest stars here?

    Trying to understand how with all this offensive talent, the NYR’s attack seems geared to passing the puck around on the perimeter until either they turn over the puck or 6th D Nikko Mikkola takes long point shot.

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