NYR/CBJ 4/8 Review: Unselfish (And Playoff Line-Up) Rangers Win By The Best Possible Score Imaginable; Easily Dispose Themselves of the Blue Jackets, Sam & Joe Call Their Greatest Game Too, Kane Returns, MILLER MANTIS, BFF’s Flirting with Forty, Standings, “TURK TALKS” & More

On Saturday night, in Columbus, Ohio, the Rangers knocked off the Blue Jackets by the best score imaginable, 4-0! While I’m obviously exaggerating here; the truth of the matter is that the Rangers handled business – as they were supposed to – and were never in any sort of danger during this wire-to-wire win against the worst team in the league.

Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. The eightieth time was a charm!

(I also want to say the following before proceeding – a happy retirement to one of my closest friends, a person who will tell you that he’s my “boss,” and a fan of all things “SCRATCHY” too – EDDIE WHISTLES! Look what happens when you retire you old bastard – the Rangers actually win 4-0! Maybe you should retire more often! And I hope you took my books from our work shanty home with you too!)

While longtime readers of this site, and the people who follow me on social media, are all already aware of this, but for new readers (and there have been a lot of you lately – which is why this site moved to a new server on Friday night – and everything should be running smoothly now); let me inform you of the following – every game – and without fail – I make a silly $5 wager on the Rangers to win by a final score of 4-0.

(No joke – my phone lit up like a Christmas Tree – or just like a goal light behind Sieve Vagistat – following the 4-0 final. I’m still trying to catch up with everyone and I thank you all – but I thank Vincent Trocheck the most!)

After hitting that bet four times last season (ironically enough, the first time that the Rangers won by this final score during the 2021-22 season was against the Blue Jackets – the first time I ever bet that score, hence the reason why I continue to bet it today) – with only three games remaining during this 2022-23 season – this bet hadn’t hit once.

That all changed on Saturday night – and as a result, I’m $175 richer – and I now can buy TWO New York Ranger  2023 Stanley Cup Playoff t-shirts – “swag” which are currently priced at an insane $68 a pop!

(And yes, I’m joking – there’s no freakin’ way I’m paying $68 for a shirt that costs less than a $1 to make!)

Even a blind squirrel (or in this case – a loud-mouthed writer), finds a nut once in a while!

While my own close, pessimistic and “assholian” friends (we all have them, but maybe not everyone knows a “YOFFREY” like I do!), have pointed out that I’ve risked $400 (80 games x $5) in order to “win” this $175 (a season net-loss of $225), and that I’m now batting less than 1% (it’s better than 0%!) with my daily prognostication – we can ignore all of that for one night!

(Holy parenthesis Batman!)

Another fact that we can shelf for one night?

The fact that this bet had odds of +3500 tonight – the second-worst odds of the season.

(There have been three games this season where this bet featured odds of +3000, but more times than not, this bet usually pays out at +5000 or better. But as they say – a win’s a win!)

But enough about me – Saturday night belonged to the Rangers.

The fourth Rangers goal was scored with only nineteen seconds remaining in regulation – and for the high drama – Trocheck, who scored the goal, just ten seconds prior – had missed a wide-open vacated net! A big thank you to NONNA’S BAMBINO for never giving up – much like my dedication to this 4-0 madness!

The Rangers, following their grueling win over the Lightning on Wednesday, entered Thursday night’s tilt in St. Louis devoid of any energy. Their gas tank had been emptied out the night before – but even so – they still pushed the Blues to overtime, thus stealing a point.

Come Saturday night in Columbus – there would be no excuses.

Not only were the Rangers fresh, but they were playing the worst team in the league – and for good measure – the home team dressed a line-up full of AHLers – including minor-leaguers who had spent Friday night in Quebec.

By the end of the night, the Rangers did exactly what they were  supposed to do – handle business, leave Ohio with no injuries and finish the season with two more games left on M$G ice.

While the best score ever, 4-0, somewhat tells the story; arguably, the Rangers could’ve pumped in another four-spot tonight.

I think the most accurate way to describe this game is “workman-like,” as the Blueshirts imposed their will and showcased their talent all over crappy Columbus.

Simply stated – there was not one point in this game where you ever broke a sweat, nor doubted who would win.

After finding their bearings following the early onset of the contest; at around the half-way mark of the first period, two Americans, Jimmy Vesey and Chris Kreider, both scored within a time-span of 1:41.

These two goals would be the only tallies of the first twenty minutes of action – and where for #26 – his goal held up as the game-winner.

CZAR IGOR had recorded twelve saves (and heard one <DING> too), as the two teams entered the second frame.

The middle portion of the match was a complete domination for Gallant’s Gang – but they could never run-up the score, much less gain possession of “the dreaded three-goal lead.”

Come the final frame, and at the 25% mark of the third period, Mika Zibanejad found Niko Mikkola all alone in the paint of Blue Jackets’ goaltender, Michael Hutchinson. In turn, Mikkola, who has been an absolute beast ever since shedding his initial reputation as a penalty machine – scored his first goal not only as a Ranger – but of this 2022-23 campaign too.

The Blueshirts, now up 3-0, and with the double-insurance goal in their pockets; there were a few scares, including a Columbus power-play – but still – everyone knew who was emerging from this contest as the victors.

For yours truly, the supporters of this site, and perhaps a few others too; all that was left to do was to see if CZAR IGOR would finish the game with his shut-out in-tact – and of course, in addition – to find out if the Rangers could score that elusive fourth goal.

At 19:41 of the third period, there was Vincent Trocheck, who had previously hit the post and missed two nets too, picking up his 22nd goal of the season.

4-0, GOOD GUYS – and a smooth $175 deposited into my beer fund!

CZAR IGOR (20 saves) didn’t really have to be “SUPERMAN” tonight, as he was only challenged two or three times. Still, his focus never wavered and in turn, he picked up his third shutout of the season – a nice feather in his cap if I say so myself!

Much like most of these Rangers’ recent victories and points gained in the standings before-and-after the two-game slide (the losses to the Devils & Sabres); tonight’s triumph was another team-wide effort.

And in a way, maybe it was “too much” of a team-wide effort – because as alluded to earlier – the Rangers easily could’ve put more goals on the board tonight; but due to both their unselfishness and desire to set-up teammates rather than shooting the puck during amazing scoring opportunities – the Blueshirts settled for “only” four goals – not that I’m complaining!

While I know that others had concerns in regards to the over-passing – I wouldn’t be worried about it.

After all, you just have to look at the situation at hand – this was a game against a bad team – and it wasn’t an intense playoff outing.

In fact, it was the complete opposite and this contest was far from being competitive.

In a way, I thought that the Rangers played with their food a bit and were trying new things out – and just like they did the last time when these two teams played (the 6-2 win from 3/28 at M$G).

Had this game really mattered (yes, no game is meaningless but we all know what the big picture is); then I think that you would’ve seen more shots on goal, rather than every player on the team looking to find a teammate.

Equally as nice on this Easter Eve night?

Sam Rosen and Joe Micheletti, who we all know that I’m not shy about using as comedic relief during these GAME REVIEW blogs, ABSOLUTELY, and WITHOUT A SHADOW OF A DOUBT, called their best game of the season.

While yes, and as I’ve noted many times before – winning does make this duo easier to listen to – but even had the Rangers lost this game – I’d still be saying this.

(And as I did in real-time on my Tweeter account, which I use as blog notes. Tweets don’t lie!)

But of course, Sieve Vagistat remains horrible!

(This was another broadcast where it was woefully apparent why the majority of M$GN employees also have gigs with national broadcasters – and why Vagistat, one of the longest-tenured M$GN on-air personalities, does not.)

Prior to fully exploring the M$GN crew and getting into the GAME REVIEW; up first, the pregame news & notes – where we did receive some good news – Patrick Kane would be returning tonight.

My $175 in winnings tonight paid for the Patrick Kane jersey that I previously bought this season! That’s one way to look at it!

Following their back-to-back set from Wednesday & Thursday night; a day later, Friday, the Rangers had the day off.

Come Saturday, game day, the team held a light morning skate – and where it was revealed that Patrick Kane would make his return, after missing the previous two games with his “lower-body injury.”

As a result, come puck drop in Columbus, Ohio, and for the second time since Kane’s arrival – Gallant was able to feature the line-up that he’ll be using come playoff time – and with no disrespect intended for Mr. BIG BEN Harpur – who sat out this tilt in the press box – but not because of anything he did or has done.

At this moment, Harpur is now the odd-man out – and where arguing for #5 over #77 is now a debate for fools.

Once the practice was complete, Rangers’ bench boss, Gerard Gallant, held his daily “TURK TALK.” Here it is:

For the first time in months, Gallant played it coy in regards to his line-up – but he did explain his reasoning for doing so, as “THE TURK” said with the playoffs approaching – he doesn’t want to divulge pregame information anymore.

Works for me.

Funny enough, when asked if both he and the team were thinking about the playoffs right now, Gallant said that wasn’t the case, and that he’d worry about the postseason once the regular season ends.

Of course, that’s largely coach-speak and Gallant has to say that.

Then. Now. Forever!

Here was the Rangers’ line-up from Saturday night in Ohio:

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 Lord!

PRESS BOX: Ben Harpur


The following graphics and information come from ESPN.com:





28 4 24 .857 20 4 0 0 0 59:50 0


20 0 20 1.000 17 3 0 0 0 59:27 0

The only blemish on this night was having to suffer with a solo Sieve Vagistat in-studio – M$GN’s resident moron who suggested that the Blue Jackets were intentionally trying to lose this game via “tanking.” Of course – players don’t tank for lottery draft picks – general mangers do. Check out the archives of this site for an in-depth explanation about this principle.

Come 6:30:00PM, I tuned into the M$GN, and as expected, Henrik Lundqvist (Easter Holiday), wasn’t in-studio.

Sadly, neither was one of his replacements, Mike Rupp.

Rather than an accomplished NHLer in-studio; instead, for the next half-hour, Ranger fans were forced to endure the useless ex-Islander, Sieve Vagistat – that is, except for me – as come 6:30:01PM – I immediately returned my clicker to the NHL Network.

Come 7PM, I returned to the home network, and in a sign of what was to come for the next three-hours or so – both Sam Rosen and Joe Micheletti ACTUALLY talked about and fawned over the Rangers – rather than the opponent – and as they often do!

I’ll say this a lot tonight, but it’s true – Sam and Joe haven’t called a better game this season as they did in Columbus.

(I’m also a believer that if I’m ever negative about a subject or someone; then equally, when they are good, I should give that same effort and attention whenever I deem a subject or person to have been positive. It’s only fair.)

I don’t know if the M$GN announcers changed their diet, took vitamins, had brain transplants, or what – but these two were phenomenal all night. I can’t sing their praises enough.

In addition, this broadcast was a reminder of why Rosen is in the HOF.

While maybe it’s the fact that these two men agreed with everything that I’ve ever said on this site during the past few months, and also thought in real-time as I did during this game; but even with that caveat aside – I still thought they were on-point throughout.

Furthermore, and as we’ll soon get into – Sam Rosen showed us that he still has some spin on his HOF fastball, as he was completely locked down – and correct – during a “controversial” penalty/officials’ review towards the end of the second period.

To open the broadcast, Micheletti brought up that it was going to be tough for the Rangers to find some motivation, but even so – he also said that they should easily handle this division opponent – and one who were dressing several AHLers.

And that’s what happened.

Rather than going bonkers in love over a rival player and with cartoon hearts in their eyes as if they were Bugs Bunny; instead, Sam & Joe sung the praises of Tyler Motte.

“APPLE SAUCE” would later assist on the first goal of the game.

During the “TACO BELL TAKE,” Micheletti pretty much said “COLUMBUS SUCKS,” without using those two words verbatim. (He was much nicer when describing the current state of affairs for John Davidson’s team.)

The broadcasters then talked up Niko Mikkola – who would later score his first goal of the season.

OF NOTE PART I: During the broadcast, a pregame Adam Graves & Brandon Dubinsky “EXTRA EFFORT” chat, which will take place this Monday night, was plugged (one that won’t be aired on M$GN – as apparently – letting us know the ins-and-outs of Michelle Gingras’ work life is better for ratings); which leads me to believe that the Rangers will name the 2023 Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award winner that night.

And yep – I think either Mika Zibanejad or Ryan Lindgren, if not both, will take the honors.

OF NOTE PART II: I will be announcing the voting results of the 2023 Frank Boucher Trophy winner either on Monday or Tuesday – depending on how my Easter Sunday goes!


Jimmy Vesey, now returned to the fourth line with Kane back, and along with his linemates, Barclay Goodrow and Tyler Motte, played well tonight.


“THE TURK” went with his second line to begin the game, where right away, Trocheck won the opening draw.

NONNA’S BAMBINO, who has finished most games for the team this season with the best faceoff percentage, went eight of fifteen tonight – a 53.3% winning percentage.

However, that was only the second-best game-high faceoff percentage tonight, as it was his peer, the Rangers’ first center, DJ MIKA, who spun a game-high faceoff percentage of 83.3% – following his fifteen of eighteen performance – which was also his season-high.

Just thirty seconds into the game, Trocheck went wide at struggling goaltender, Michael Hutchinson (Hutch for the rest of this GAME REVIEW).

That trend would continue for #16 – but as you already know – he’d redeem himself (and me!) prior to the final horn.

Gallant, who changed the way that he rolled out his lines tonight (2-1-3-4, as opposed to the 3-1-2-4 and 2-3-1-4 that we’ve seen prior to and during Kane’s absence), saw #88 go wide following a one-timed feed at the 1:20 mark.

On Kane, I thought he looked solid in his return – but obviously, you’d like to see the goals – as he did have many chances tonight. However, he did pick up an assist and as already mentioned, probably could’ve had more points – had scoring goals – and not setting up teammates – been the “goal.”

An observation that may get lost in this win, was that Chytil finished at the dot four of nine (44.4%) – but he did win d-zone draws – and as he did during his first shift.

Fil’s first faceoff win then set-up the team’s first shot on goal too, but Hutch then made his first save at the 1:45 mark.

(And that’s a lot of “first’s” for one sentence!)

Following the save, the third line absolutely dominated and spent a tad over a minute in the Columbus zone.

Come 16:40 remaining, CZAR IGOR then made his first save, of twenty, in total.

However, and now with 15:19 to play; Trocheck was boxed for tripping JOHNNY “DOES HE STILL PLAY?” HOCKEY, while Gaudreau was behind CZAR IGOR’s net.

The Rangers, now on the penalty kill, were amazing here – and better than that – negated Sam Rosen’s reverse voodoo curse too!


The two highlights on this successful kill saw Schneider block a shot and clear the puck, and at the end of it, CZAR IGOR also stopped the law firm/steakhouse known as Trey Fix-Wolansky – an AHL right-winger who had previously been sent down by the varsity team for missing a team meeting – and a fact that Micheletti reminded us of no less than five-times! (But I didn’t mind – it was funny – and Micheletti laughed whenever he mentioned it!)

Following the first TV timeout of the game, which took place following a CZAR IGOR freeze; with 11:35 to go, Hutch stopped a Mika one-timer.

While Mika would later log his 50th assist of the season; by the end of the night – he remained stuck on 39 goals – and now with six more periods left to play during this campaign.

As we hit 9:52 remaining, the following:

1-0, GOOD GUYS, as Vesey, now in his 501st game (over 50% of the way to 1,000!), finished Hutch after Goodrow forced a turnover in the Columbus d-zone, which then allowed Motte to throw some “apple sauce” on a dish to the Harvard alum!

Give a round of applause to the fourth line, where as previously & repeatedly mentioned on this site ever since Motte returned – should the Rangers win their fifth Stanley Cup of franchise history this June – then this line will be remembered as the best fourth line trio that this club has ever had.

(And yes – I’m aware that fourth lines didn’t really become a thing until the 1970s!)

And give it up to Vesey too (and I know I’ve said this in the past as well); but more-and-more – he reminds me of Bobby Carpenter.

While Vesey isn’t exactly 100% the same as the former Ranger; Carpenter once entered this league with tons of promise, had a hot streak, fizzled out – and then completely reinvented himself as a defensive forward – but one who could still chip in goals from time-to-time.

That’s what the Rangers currently have in their former Hobey Baker winner.

And should Vesey’s career-path play out like Carpenter’s?

Then he’ll win a Stanley Cup too!

Following Sam Rosen telling us to buy playoff tickets (which will cost you a kidney, as the lowest price for Round 1, Game 1, tickets as of this writing are hovering a bit over $500 – just insane); Hutch stopped a long-distance Trouba shot with 8:48 remaining.

Hutch wouldn’t be as lucky on the next Rangers’ rush:

2-0, GOOD GUYS, as Chris Kreider scored the clean-up goal – and before his detractors could jump down his throat!

This play was set up by K’Andre Miller, as the defenseman drove to the net but was denied.

On the rebound, Kreider missed the vacated net. However, his BFF, the Swedish Jesus, got the puck right back to him – and on his second try – the “CK52” of last season became “CK36.”

While Kreider will need at least one multi-goal game during the final two games to hit 40; following the best season of his career (under Gallant – don’t forget that) – I believe the longest-tenured Ranger followed that season up well.

And wouldn’t it be something if both Kreider and Mika could hit 40 goals this season?

Their next crack at it will be on Monday night – and against Rosen’s crush – Devon Levi – but more on the Sabres in a bit!

As the Rangers tried to push the lead to three; Columbus, with 6:31 to go, and now with the puck, saw Sean Kuraly hit Mikkola.

The result? Kuraly ferociously bounced off of MI-KOLLLLLLLLLLA – as if he were a midget wrestler trying to accost Andre The Giant – and keep this in mind for later.

During one of the few flurries that the home team would have during these sixty minutes; with 5:45 remaining, CZAR IGOR came up with a pair of saves on Bemstrom.

As Sam and Joe debated the validity of “The Thrill” nickname that CBJ fans have applied to Kirill Marchenko (“OH JOE, WE ALREADY HAVE A “KIRILL THE THRILL” IN YOUR HOME STATE OF MINNESOTA JOE!”); CZAR IGOR stopped Foudy with 4:08 remaining.

In music to my ears, Sam & Joe then brought up a point that I’ve reiterated no less than five-times on this site during the past three weeks – no one protects CZAR IGOR faster (and maybe better) than Mikkola.

Again, I don’t know what it was tonight – but Sam & Joe were lucid, coherent and thought-provoking all game! (Maybe they are reading these blogs again!)

As we hit ninety seconds remaining, another rare offensive surge for the Blue Jackets, but CZAR IGOR said “NYET, NYET, NYET!”

There was also a <DING> here too – but we don’t have to explore that any further!

The best defensive play from this period, and perhaps the game too, took place with under a minute to go.

Robinson had completely fooled Trouba and then made a mad dash towards CZAR IGOR. In a response, Miller, who looked like that “PRAYING MANTIS,” as former head coach, David Quinn, once nicknamed him at the onset of #79’s career; we then saw a “MILLER TIME” highlight reel play, as Trouba’s partner made a stick-on-stick play to nix Robinson’s breakaway.

As we approached twenty seconds remaining, the second line, led by Panarin, fancy-passed themselves out of what could’ve been the third goal.

Micheletti was quick to call this out, and as he did all game whenever the Rangers favored the pass over the shot – warranted – but as stated earlier – you can understand why the visitors were unselfish tonight.

The Rangers remained up by two goals, and prevented that annoying cannon from going off too, as the first period concluded.

Here’s what I said at the time:

I know that Miller, and just like Panarin and others, can be frustrating at times; but when he’s good – he’s real good – and as we saw tonight. I do wonder if his defensive play from the first period will be swept under the rug a bit, due to the four goals scored and combined with CZAR IGOR’s shutout.


As a generality – the Rangers absolutely dominated their opponents – but could never score. However, they did limit the home team to only four shots on goal during this period.

Following a Trocheck faceoff win to open the period, Tarasenko then hit the post at just the 35-second mark.

No less than a minute later, Kane pulled off a nifty backhand move, which first began from behind the net – but Hutch was able to make the stop.

During the fourth line’s first shift of the period, they once again controlled the puck – and as they did all game.

In what felt like a minute’s worth of an attack with this line on the ice; Lindgren fed his BFF, Adam Fox, but as the 2021 Norris Trophy winner was about to bang home a one-timer, Kent Johnson slashed him.

Zibanejad joined the delayed penalty attack, but again, Hutch stopped this threat too.

Down to 15:59 remaining, Johnson went to the penalty box.

The Rangers’ power-play then had one of those all-out two-minute attacks (the PP2 unit never took the ice); but Hutch, and his defense, survived.

The biggest stop took place with just fifteen seconds remaining, as a CBJ d-man blocked a Zibanejad shot – a shot that would’ve went into the net, as Hutch was belly-down on the ice as the shot block happened.

And just as the power-play concluded, Hutch, with 13:54 remaining, came up with a save on Trouba – which then allowed the home team to reset and catch their breath.

Long story short – this power-play looked good, but just didn’t get the desired result. However, it wasn’t for a lack of trying.

In a throwback to the game that preceded this one; Sam & Joe then raved about how amazing Trocheck was at the dot. No less than a nanosecond later – Trocheck lost an d-zone draw – and then lost the one following it.

Of course, you can now laugh at this since the Rangers were in cruise control at this point – and then went on to win!

Down to 11:15 remaining, the player named after a law firm and/or steakhouse was stopped by CZAR IGOR.

As the goalie made the save, the puck took a pop-fly trajectory, and Mikkola, like a 1990s Dikembe Mutombo, said “NO, NO, NO” – and swatted the puck away as if he were the most famous NBA shot-blocker of all-time.

As we crossed the half-way mark of the game/period; CBJ’s skaters were on the ice for over ninety seconds – and as a response – iced the puck.

However, and with a faceoff in their zone, the home team was then able to escape this predicament.

With eight minutes remaining, Vesey came close to his second goal. Ninety seconds later, the second line had an all-out attack, but came up empty-handed too.

As we hit 4:45 remaining, Kuraly, who had already bounced off of Mikkola earlier, tried to hit Lafreniere – and hurt himself in the process. However, after missing one shift – he’d later return with no issues.

Come 3:30 to go; Panarin, while in the d-zone – almost deflected a puck past CZAR IGOR.

Praise the hockey gods – this puck didn’t go into the net – and can you imagine had that happened – assuming the rest of this game played out in the fashion that it did?

During the best Columbus shift of the period, which took place with 2:54 to go; CZAR IGOR stopped Marchenko.

With 1:23 remaining – Sam Rosen’s best moment of the season – and another display of these officials, who have been very good as of late during Ranger games, correctly doing their job.

On this play, Robinson skated right into Mikkola’s elbow – and came up with blood on his face.

This all happened so fast, that it was easy to see why the officials had initially bagged Mikkola with an elbowing penalty.

However, since the officials were unclear on what had happened – they assessed Mikkola with a five-minute major – rather than the traditional two-minute minor.

The reason, and as Rosen was all over like a fly on shit?

(The HOFer was screaming about this, as if he were that guy from “Back to the Future,” during that scene when the elder McFly KO’d Tannen, “I THINK HE STOLE HIS WALLET! I THINK HE STOLE HIS WALLET! I THINK HE STOLE HIS WALLET!”)

Easy – you can’t review two-minute penalties (minors) – but you can review five-minute penalties (majors).

As the officials reviewed the play, the M$GN cameras caught Gallant calming Mikkola down and telling him that it wasn’t a penalty.

A minute or two later, the officials came to the same conclusion – Robinson skated into Mikkola – and the Rangers’ d-man didn’t do anything wrong.

Play on – and where again – Rosen was at his absolute best when breaking all of this down in real-time.

This play ended Robinson’s night.

This was also the third time where the Blue Jackets were embarrassed when trying to get physical with the Rangers.

Maybe the Blue Jackets should’ve held on to BIG BAD BEN HARPUR – who John Davidson (never mentioned tonight) and company moved on from earlier this season.

Once returned and still at full-strength; with just seven ticks left, Peeke took a thunderous shot, and on the rebound afforded – the puck trickled to the side of the net – rather than inside of it.


We remained at 2-0, GOOD GUYS, through two periods.

Here’s what I said at the time:

I jumped the gun by running this picture last week! But hey, we’ll run it again here, following Mikkola’s first goal of the season!


One last time – this game/final result/who would win was never in doubt for the Rangers – and they wound up limiting the Blue Jackets to only six shots on goal during this final frame.

Following another faceoff win for Trocheck (my hero tonight – ha!); Jenner blocked a Lindgren blast at the 38-second mark.

Tonight also marked the first time in league-history* (and yes, you can put an asterisk next to this factoid too – as this is only the second year where the league has had 32 teams), where every single NHL squad was in-action.

Sam & Joe did some scoreboard watching here – and were actually entertaining when doing so – including a “MOOOOOO” response from Rosen when told that the Islanders were trouncing the Flyers.

As we hit the 2:03 mark – Chytil almost made every highlight-reel show in the league – as he went to the net – and as if this were a video game – shot the puck from in-between his legs.

Hutch made the desperation save, which in turn, prevented an embarrassing moment for him.

Then, as we hit 5:00 on the dot, MIKA & MIKKOLA MAGIC:

3-0, GOOD GUYS, following Mikkola’s first goal of the season!

While Kane got the secondary assist here; this was all Zibanejad – as he perfectly set-up his defenseman on a tee.

Following the game, Mikkola said, “I owe Mika a few beers.”

If Mikkola needs $175 in beer money – then I know just the guy who is willing to support the cause!

By now, you know what I was thinking at this point – one more Rangers goal – and a no-no for CZAR IGOR!

I should also mention, that during the second intermission, that the weasel, John Giannone, actually said the “s-word,” as in “SHUTOUT!”

I was absolutely livid – since I do believe in these stupid superstitions and in the almighty gambling juju!

(And Giannone isn’t really a weasel – but I was furious with him at the time!)

TO THE ABSOLUTE CREDIT OF BOTH SAM AND JOE – two men who have had no problem using the word “SHUTOUT” during previous games from this season – they never said the word!

(Only once the Rangers won – then, and only then, did both men scream “SHUTOUT” more than I did – and I was happy with that!)

“Hallelujah” – as Sam & Joe, on Easter Eve, RESURRECTED THEMSELVES as A+ broadcasters/announcers!

(Yes, I’m being funny right now – but I am being serious too!)

Following CZAR IGOR stopping Kuraly and Hutch denying Schneider on his rip; Trocheck then hit the post with 12:10 remaining.

Up next was back-to-back odd-man rushes, where Kane & Mika fancy passed themselves out of SOG, while Fox stripped JOHNNY “I SHOULD’VE CHOSE SOMEWHERE ELSE” HOCKEY on a breakaway.

Micheletti had some laughs at the over-passing – but only after Fox had made his play.

With 10:05 remaining, the Rangers received their second power-play of the game, following a Columbus D.O.G. penalty (puck over the glass).

This man-advantage wasn’t as good as the first one, but Hutch did make a nice glove save on Panarin with 1:02 remaining on it.

However, with the PP2 unit getting their first chance; Trouba had a puck squirt by him, as he couldn’t make the keep at the blue line.

This then set-up Kuraly for a breakaway – and Trouba hooked him before he could get to CZAR IGOR.

Kuraly wanted a penalty shot here – and I thought that he was right and deserved it. The officials thought otherwise, which then meant 13 seconds of foreplay, followed by a 1:47 power-play for the home team.

(And as I always say – while Kuraly had a legit beef here – that’s not my problem – that’s a problem for CBJ fans!)

CZAR IGOR made two easy saves during this kill, and where the PKers, Mikkola, Goodrow, Mika, Kreider, Lindgren and Motte were all fantastic.

My favorite goalie and yours, CZAR IGOR, then stopped Marchenko with two seconds remaining on the kill – and with 6:16 to go in regulation time.

As we approached the FOXWOODS FINAL FIVE MARK – it was evident – the Rangers were going to play keep-away and do their best in order to preserve CZAR IGOR’s shutout.

And despite my own personal 4-0 final score bet – of course that was the right strategy.

However, and at the same time – I do wonder why Columbus was so resigned to losing.

They are the worst team in the league, their season is over, and whether they lost by three or four goals – what’s the difference?

In other words, I’m surprised that they didn’t pull Hutch during this time.

(And yes – I’m still rooting for that CZAR IGOR empty net goal too!)

In addition, and to be fair, I’ve also made this point before during Ranger losses too – if the other team has a shutout, and if you’re down by two or three scores – then why not pull your goalie and try to break-up the shutout?

That all said – Columbus, and their losing ways, worked out for CZAR IGOR, the Rangers, and of course, my 4-0 final score bet too!

But it didn’t look that way – at least when it comes to the latter!

With 4:00 remaining, Panarin, from the right circle, and all alone – wristed a shot wide.

Thirty seconds later, and what was really a turnover since CBJ got the puck after Panarin’s miss – Columbus just missed Igor’s net too!

As the Rangers protected CZAR IGOR’s crease; with 49 ticks left, Lindgren fired a shot at Hutch, one that looked good, but the goalie wasn’t having it.

Ten seconds later, Trocheck, while all alone and with nothing but what felt like the size of an empty soccer net in front of him – MISSED.

At this point, we were at the 19:30 mark and that’s when I just started laughing – 4-0 would have to live to see another day.

But to quote Mike Francesa – “WAIT A SECOND!”

The hockey gods smiled upon me with just nineteen seconds remaining:

4-0, GOOD GUYS – as Trocheck never gave up, stuck with the play and despite it only being $175 (any gambler will tell you that it’s the stupid prop bets that hit that make you the happiest) – made a near 41-year-old man-child ecstatic at his humble Long Island abode!

Up next (or at least for me!) – sweating out the final nineteen seconds – but the Rangers never allowed the home team to touch the puck!

4-0, GOOD GUYS, your final – the best final score (not win) of the season!

Here’s the coach with the best points and winning percentage of franchise history, my favorite bench boss and yours, “THE TURK,” following the elementary and textbook victory:

For whatever reason, and despite yours truly being his biggest defender from that sickening basement booger-eating cult known as “FLAT EARTH TURKERS” – the head coach never brought up the huge $175 that I won!

I kid, I kid!

As you’d expect, Gallant was very happy with his team – a team that despite on a night where the goalie posted a shutout – it was really never about the goaltender himself.

I know what the “DOOM AND GLOOMERS” may say – “They beat a bad team, Columbus sucks, who cares, they lost to the Devils and wah-wah-wah!”

But had the Rangers lost tonight – then these same people would be on the ledges while trying to find ropes to affix to their necks.

The Rangers did what they were supposed to do – and whatever happens next with two games remaining – they are entering the playoffs on a high note (which really started with the win over Tampa).

As mentioned, Saturday night (4/8/23), was the busiest night of NHL history.

As a result following all games played, here are your updated ECF standings:

Photo Credit: ESPN

We talked about this on Thursday night, and it still remains true – the dust on the Eastern Conference playoff seeds won’t be settled until all 82-games are complete.

Both the Devils and the Hurricanes lost on Saturday night, which means that the Rangers still have a chance for both first and second-place in the division.

And for the top three seeds of the Metro – all three teams will continue to field their best line-ups all the way into the playoffs.

Almost as interesting for fans of the Rangers is the wild card race.

The Islanders, Panthers and Penguins all won on Saturday, so everything stays the same there – but with one more game closer to the finish the line.

The Sabres, now led by Devon Levi (and I have to say this – when tonight’s game was over, Sam went right back into “OH JOE, DEVON LEVI JOE” mode – the only black mark on this broadcast besides Vagistat), also won on Saturday – but because of the other teams winning – they still only have a puncher’s chance of punching their way in.

The Rangers, following that disgusting and pathetic loss to the Sabres from last week, will rematch with their “WINTER CLASSIC RIVALS” on Monday night at M$G, in the penultimate game of the season.

As mentioned earlier, it’s expected that the 2023 McDonald winner will be announced too.

A prediction: Lundqvist will be there and help present the award.

I should be back on Monday morning, hopefully with the Frank Boucher Trophy winner blog.

If not, I’ll be back on Monday night, with a Rangers/Sabres review.

For all that celebrate, Happy Passover, Happy Easter and Happy 4-0 day!


And oh, do you know what’s a perfect way to celebrate tonight’s win?

By helping my playoff ticket fund by purchasing one of my books, which brings us to…


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:

NYR/STL 4/6 Review: Road-Weary Rangers Steal a Point; Tarasenko’s Homecoming a Major Success; Class Act Blues, Special Teams Swing Games; Blueshirts Bat 3-3, Trouba A-Okay; Laughs at Joke Schedule, Standings, Fox Fined, “TURK TALKS” & More

NYR/TBL 4/5 Review: BIG BAD BEN and Blueshirts Double-Up & Demolish Bolts; Most Action-Packed Game Yet, Ultimate Team-Wide Effort, APPLE SAUCE Galore, Trouba Named “Mr. Ranger,” Leaves Game w/Injury; Kane Out Too, An ECF Rematch We All Want, “TURK TALKS,” Boucher Trophy, TNT/Lundqvist & More

NYR/WSH 4/2 Review: The Rangers Wire-to-Wire The Caps; Back on Winning Track, Third Line Carries Team; Fat Cats Pad Lead, Gallant Makes Franchise History (Again); Message Somewhat Received, Five Games Left, TNT & 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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2 thoughts on “NYR/CBJ 4/8 Review: Unselfish (And Playoff Line-Up) Rangers Win By The Best Possible Score Imaginable; Easily Dispose Themselves of the Blue Jackets, Sam & Joe Call Their Greatest Game Too, Kane Returns, MILLER MANTIS, BFF’s Flirting with Forty, Standings, “TURK TALKS” & More

  1. Great job Sean! I figured you spilled your drink when Trochek shot into Hutch my wife thinks I’m crazy when I tried to explain my laughing to her.

    1. LOL, I got a lot of that – wives and co-workers saying, “why do you care so much about that goal?” Glad the 4-0 gimmick remains strong in everyone lol

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